Friday, February 23, 2007

More good stuff from Tkacik

Don't miss John Tkacik's backgrounder at AEI on US-Taiwan affairs, and why Taiwan is important to the US:

Many American policymakers and academics view China as an unstoppable force of nature. Dur­ing an intense grilling by the House International Relations Committee on May 10, 2006, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said:

But we have to be very careful, you see. And this is the balance, is that we want to be supportive of Taiwan, while we are not en­couraging those that try to move toward independence. Because I am being very clear: Independence means war. And that means American soldiers.[20]

Zoellick's sentiments are valid and understand­able, but the "independence means war" formula­tion is a purely Chinese invention, designed as a threat and not as a postulate of immutable fact.[21] Avoiding war is a reasonable concern, but modern war-avoidance theory centers on the proposition that democracies do not make war on each other, but rather are themselves the targets of aggression.[22] An international system that makes peace the high­est priority is "at the mercy of the most ruthless, since there [is] a maximum incentive to mollify the most aggressive state and to accept its demands, even when they [are] unreasonable." The result inevitably is "massive instability and insecurity"[23]
There's more great stuff. Go thou and read, especially their suggestions for the US:

Counter Beijing's relentless campaign to iso­late Taiwan economically and politically by strengthening U.S.-Taiwan trade ties and strongly encouraging allies and other democracies to include Taiwan in international efforts on health, transportation, nonproliferation, coun­terterrorism, and disaster relief. A U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan would be a good place to start.

Participation--even as an "observer"--in other formal and informal international organizations (e.g., the World Health Organization, Interna­tional Civil Aviation Organization, and Interna­tional Maritime Organization); the various informal nonproliferation groups (e.g., Austra­lia Group on chemical weapons and the Missile Technology Control Regime); and refugee and relief "core groups" would benefit the interna­tional community and give Taiwan enhanced international legitimacy. In turn, Taiwan's enhanced legitimacy would provide extra deterrence against China's constant threats of force against Taiwan.

However, the problem is far more complex and requires a more comprehensive solution than sim­ply opposing Beijing's attempts to isolate Taiwan. The first step in rethinking the Taiwan Strait must be to adjust existing policies. To this end, both the Administration and Congress should:

Confront Beijing's policy of "independence means war" with quiet suggestions from Wash­ington that war might just as easily mean inde­pendence. Some argue that such a stance would encourage some irresponsible Taiwanese lead­ers to advocate independence in order to start a war that would lead to diplomatic recognition. Nonetheless, Taiwanese politicians and the Tai­wanese people already are effectively restrained by their conviction that any war with China would devastate Taiwan, and no one wants to avoid war in the Taiwan Strait more than the Taiwanese people do.

Maintain the "island chain" hedge against a hostile continental Asian power as a broad stra­tegic goal of the United States. The island chain concept is especially relevant in the context of a new, continental Asian naval power seeking unrestricted access to America's sea lines of communication across the Pacific Ocean.

Enhance official exchanges. Defense coopera­tion is already at a high level, but the Adminis­tration should quietly enhance it by lifting the self-imposed ban on visits to the island by flag-rank U.S. military and naval officers. It should encourage visits by Cabinet-level officials, a practice that was common in the Clinton Administration. Senior U.S. State Department officials up to the rank of undersecretary should be able to visit Taiwan without placing undue stress on ties with Beijing.

Lend moral support to Taiwan's democracy. The Administration should cease justifying the U.S. commitment to Taiwan as merely an obli­gation under the Taiwan Relations Act and instead admit publicly that the United States has a stake in the survival and success of democracy on Taiwan, regardless of China's ter­ritorial claims on the island.

Encourage diplomatic ties. The State and Defense Departments and U.S. diplomatic mis­sions abroad should quietly and discreetly encourage the preservation of third-country diplomatic ties with Taiwan, especially in the Pacific, but also with Central American and Caribbean countries where China seeks a more assertive presence, such as Panama, which owns and operates the Panama Canal. Appar­ently, the State Department does this now on a limited basis.[61]

Revisit Taiwan's offensive military capacities. The Pentagon should admit that Taiwan's stra­tegic planning, which is based on purely defen­sive weapons systems, is horrifically expensive and lacks the deterrent efficiency of a robust second-strike, counterforce capability. The Pentagon should consult with Taiwan on sup­plementing its defensive strategy with weapons systems of a "limited offensive capacity" such as JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions), cruise missiles, HARMs (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles), and submarine-launched Harpoons. Quietly encouraging Taiwan to develop an offensive tactical missile force would also give Washington leverage over Beijing's penchant for supplying offensive missiles (and perhaps more) to rogue states from North Korea to Iran.



3 comments:

Arty said...

I just want to say that Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank. Democracy never make war? Which country invaded Iraq several year ago (thank God it is just a theory). Is he going to write a new article called "Trust me, Iraq DID have weapon of mass destruction because we gave to them during the 80s!"

Btw, it will only cost lives of US soliders if it is a conventional war. Do people really think a conflict between China and US will be a conventional one?

STOP Ma said...

.
.
.
Interesting article, Michael. But I had a cynical chuckle over this:

Lend moral support to Taiwan's democracy. The Administration should cease justifying the U.S. commitment to Taiwan as merely an obli­gation under the Taiwan Relations Act and instead admit publicly that the United States has a stake in the survival and success of democracy on Taiwan, regardless of China's ter­ritorial claims on the island.

The writer is forgetting one thing that Taiwan doesn't have to make this possible or believable.

It's a three letter word that begins with O and ends with L.
.
.
.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is rich. Is this an endorsement for all of us to drink the AEI Kool-Aid?