Thursday, March 03, 2011

US commitment deteriorating: report

The Obama administration so far has only notified weapons systems that addressed the threat Taiwan was facing back in April 2001, with little sign that greater commitment is coming

US policy on Taiwan under US President Barack Obama has taken a “hazardous” turn that appears to be moving toward support for Beijing’s interpretation of its core interests, the US-Taiwan Business Council said in a special commentary released on Monday.

The Obama administration appears to be “telegraphing its willingness to moderate legacy Taiwan support and cede more control to China in the dynamics and direction of cross-strait affairs,” said the report, titled The American Defense Commitment to Taiwan Continues to Deteriorate.

For the first time in about a decade, the US has the opportunity to reassess Taiwan’s defense requirements and future US security support for its longtime ally, the commentary said.

Although last year “started off strong on Taiwan defense issues,” with the Jan. 29 notification to Congress of five separate arms sales programs worth US$6.4 billion, the programs “were not intrinsically controversial,” since the great bulk of the money involved UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters and PAC-III missile defense batteries. Those items were leftovers from former US president George W. Bush’s April 2001 arms package, it said.

Another notification in August involved a small US$250 million package to upgrade radars on Taiwan’s Indigenous Defense Fighter — again a non-controversial program.

“On both occasions the arms sales notified were originally intended to address the military threat posed by China dating back before April 2001,” the report said.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.


Dave Hodgkinson said...

Being brutal: what's in it for America? Previously it was "pissing off the commies". Now the Commies are buying US bonds, the incentive is a lot less.

In terms of Taiwan, I pose the challenge to the Nationalists: if you like China so much, why don't you go home? Ask any KMT supporter this. They are invaders. Shouldn't they be making plans to go home?

mike said...

"...what's in it for America?"

Trade and the satisfaction of doing the right thing in confronting and eliminating tyrants.

"...the Commies are buying US bonds, the incentive is a lot less."

The problem isn't insufficient incentive; the PRC hold less than 20% of U.S. Treasury bonds, whilst by far the greater proportion of projected U.S. Gov debt is entirely unfunded (and which is orders of magnitude greater than that debt held by the PRC).

There are two problems, one of which is out of control "public" spending in the U.S. (i.e. unsustainable spending), and the other is that the current administration is simply disinterested in supporting the opposition in places like Taiwan, Iran and elsewhere.