Thursday, April 19, 2012

Giving Taiwan the deterrent it needs

High-profile US arms sales to Taiwan may have political value, but the key to ensuring stability in the Taiwan Strait lies in allowing Taiwan to develop its missile arsenal

Much has been made in recent months of the United States’ so-called “pivot” to Asia, which, according to some, could represent the beginning of a new era of engagement in the Asia-Pacific amid China’s rise.

However, one state that should be part of Washington’s strategy has been conspicuous by the absence of any reference to a possible role for it in that emerging multilateral architecture. That is Taiwan. The lack of mention of the longstanding U.S. ally in the region is no accident; rather, it’s a calculated effort on Washington’s part to avoid making its “return” to Asia too controversial in Beijing, which already regards the pivot as the latest in a long list of exercises in containment.

Given this, it’s unlikely that Taiwan, however eloquently Mark Stokes and Russell Hsiao may have argued the benefits in a recent article, will be made a partner as an ad hoc partner in any emerging AirSea Battle concept spearheaded by the U.S.

My op-ed, published today in The Diplomat, continues here.

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