Deterring China: U.S. Should Arm Taiwan to the Hilt – Now - article for the Gatestone Institute

Article by Gordon G. Chang – for the Gatestone Institute - 18.04.22


Whether or not China plans to invade Taiwan now, it is time for the United States to ditch decades of misguided policy. Among other things, Washington should, on an emergency basis, begin arming the island with the weapons it urgently needs.


Unfortunately, Xi Jinping, the extraordinarily ambitious and bold Chinese ruler, may feel encouraged by recent events in Eastern Europe. As Wang Dan, a Tiananmen Square-era student leader, wrote late last month, "We should not expect rational decision-making from dictators and totalitarian regimes."


Moreover, the sanctions placed on Moscow after the invasion were not comprehensive, and they are, incredibly, still not comprehensive. Xi, therefore, could believe that no nation would dare impose meaningful costs on his magnificent state.


China's leaders give the impression they have been emboldened by recent events... "It cannot win a war anymore." — Global Times, Chinese newspaper, referring to America, August 16, 2021.


Nowhere is deterrence now more important than in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan, after the fall of Afghanistan and invasion of Ukraine, is considered around the world as the test of American credibility.


To prevent a Chinese invasion, President Biden should publicly declare that America will defend Taiwan. In addition, the U.S. should work with allies Japan and Australia and offer a multilateral defense treaty to Taipei.


Moreover, as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proposed last month while visiting Taipei, the U.S. should recognize Taiwan for what it is: a sovereign state.


To make sure the resolution of Taiwan's status is peaceful, the Biden administration should start shipping weapons to Taiwan, especially long-range missiles that can hold China's regime hostage.


Moreover, America and friends, to back up their words, should base forces on the island.

  • Deterrence is the best guarantee of peace.

  • The United States did not send sufficient weapons to Ukraine before the February 24 invasion, thereby failing to maintain deterrence in Eastern Europe.

  • By openly bolstering Taiwan's defenses, Washington would be declaring that America was no longer afraid of offending Beijing. That is transmitting the "right signal" for Chinese leaders to ponder.

Whether or not China plans to invade Taiwan now, it is time for the United States to ditch decades of misguided policy. Among other things, Washington should, on an emergency basis, begin arming the island with the weapons it urgently needs.


"Wrong signals."


That is what the Eastern Theater Command of China's People's Liberation Army said on April 15, referring to Washington's encouragement of Taiwan. That day, the Chinese military sent fighter and bomber aircraft as well as frigates near the island republic.


China's exercises, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, were "a countermeasure to the U.S. negative actions recently, including the lawmakers' visit to Taiwan." Beijing, he said, would "continue to take strong measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity."


As he spoke, six American lawmakers, led by Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, and Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and other senior officials of the self-governing island. They arrived on a U.S. Air Force plane, a not-so-subtle signal to Beijing. The two-day visit was unannounced, "sneaky" in the words of China's Defense Ministry.


The Global Times, a tabloid controlled by China's official People's Daily, was even more direct. It said the drills were not only a "warning" to other lawmakers planning to visit the island but also went "beyond deterrence by preparing for potential, real actions that would resolve the Taiwan question once and for all when necessary."


"Real actions"? Whether or not China plans to invade Taiwan now, it is time for the United States to ditch decades of misguided policy. Among other things, Washington should, on an emergency basis, begin arming the island with the weapons it urgently needs.


The People's Republic of China reserves for itself the right to use force to annex the Republic of China, Taiwan's formal name. "Taiwan is a sacred and inalienable part of Chinese territory," the Eastern Theater Command declared in a statement. "There is no room for any foreign interference on the Taiwan issue."


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Deterring China - U.S. Should Arm Taiwan to the Hilt – Now - by Gordon G
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Pictured: Taiwan Air Force pilots stand next to Mirage fighter jets at Hsinchu Air Base on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

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