Friday, April 01, 2011

What's the Hold Up on Arms sales?

The Washington Times reports that the State Department is holding up Taiwan arms sales -- in this case the F-16 upgrade, because -- wait for it -- Beijing might get angry.
The State Department is holding up final approval of Taiwan’s request for a multibillion-dollar arms package to upgrade Taipei’s fleet of aging F-16 jets.

U.S. national security officials close to the issue said the arms package, along with a report to Congress on Taiwan’s air power that is more than a year late, is being delayed by senior Obama administration officials, including Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, who are seeking to avoid a third rupture in U.S.-China military relations over Taiwan arms sales.

The report’s delay is prompting at least one senator to threaten the expected nomination of Mark Lippert, a friend of President Obama, to be the new assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs. Lawmakers want the report, which the administration has linked to the F-16 upgrade deal, before allowing Mr. Lippert to take the strategic Pentagon Asia policy slot.

One administration official said the Taiwan arms and report issues are simply one of “timing” and that the lengthy delay in formally approving the F-16 upgrade package, worth an estimated $4 billion, forced arms sales officials to go back and re-price elements of it, causing further delay.
It is the Washington Times, so take with appropriate dose of NaCl. Let's hope that the issue is the usual endless delays of the bureaucracy, and not that officials of the Obama Administration have become hopelessly dominated by Beijing's policy of faux anger.
Daily Links
  • Michael Fagan has another Letter from Randplanet, this one on wind and solar power. Fagan is a good example of how a mind is a terrible thing to waste....on free market religion. Apparently in the alternate universe inhabited by free marketers, energy conservation, along with Google, have not been discovered. I decided not to reply in the Taipei Times because lots of people are going to have lots of fun with that letter, no doubt why TT published it. For a real world example of utility-scale offshore wind, see the Big London Array now going up. For a large-scale onshore wind project, the same firm built the Roscoe Wind Farm. For information from people who actually know something, try the American Wind Energy Association or the DOE Wind pages. To get an idea of how much could be conserved in Taiwan, try a scholarly paper like this one. For an example of how rooftops can be used for solar power, see this article. Several countries are doing things like this.
  • American analysts also report from an alternate universe, one in which Ma Ying-jeou is "extremely capable". No, not kidding, thinking people actually wrote that. This is one of those "I-want-what-they-are-smoking" analyses, which argues that poor, put-upon China's military build up is driven by -- you guessed it -- US arms sales to Taiwan. Part of me can't wait to rip it to shreds later this week, and part of me wonders why people who advocate for this position always do so in such a transparently feeble, uninformed manner. It is also fun to note that several of the writers have China business connections. More on that later.
  • Taipei rejects Confidence Building Measures based on Beijing's One China formula.
  • Two great pieces this week, one from David Pilling in FT that says Taiwan should not be thrown to the dogs/Beijing, the other an analysis that argues that Taiwan will fail. The latter piece actually gets what's going on here, for the most part.
  • Fun Taiwan Challenge: another travel challenge offers a million NT to validate travel in Taiwan for local audiences, betting locals will say to themselves: "If white folks like it, maybe we ought to try it."
  • NBR report on Russia-China relations.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.


mike said...

I know you banned me, and ordinarily I wouldn't try to comment, but please, let me post just this one link for old times' sake. No harm done, I promise!

Michael Turton said...

Sure. Your ideas will no doubt amuse, in the unlikely event anyone actually reads them.

mike said...

Granted - my stats show less than two thousand for last month - but a lot of people (relatively speaking) do read you Turton. We'll see whose scribbles cause the most amusement...