- AsiaEye's under-the-radar news for this week.
- Raw crab! No, thanks.
- Craig with pics from the LGBT parade.
- Travel in salt pans of Tainan. Good pics.
- Understanding Taiwanese scooter rage. And don't miss his Hsinchu man jailed for comparing a woman to Doraemon.
- The Dignified Rant rewrites history a bit. Ok, a lot:
Of course, President Bush offered to sell F-16s to Taiwan, too, over a decade ago. By the time Taiwan wanted to buy them, President Obama wasn't selling.It was the Bush Administration that started the US refusal to sell F-16s to Taiwan. The formal request from Chen Shui-bian arrived in 2006; the US State Department pretended for years that no formal letter had been sent, or else begged Taiwan not to send one, or their dog ate the letter, or whatever. President Bush refused to sell F-16s to Taiwan; President Obama continued this policy. Let's not let ideology bend reality, eh Brian? The current policy is a pavane -- whenever Taipei talks about actually buying them, the US will say that it won't sell; whenever the US hints it might sell, suddenly Taipei will have budget trouble. Neither the Ma Administration nor the US foreign policy establishment, irrespective of who is warming the White House throne, wants Taiwan to have 66 shiny new F-16s. Simple as that. UPDATE: Brian responded:
I'd like to say that this was simply a post to remind the Taiwanese to buy when the offer is out there and not to wait until Chinese pressure can get the offer cancelled. Yes, Bush did turn down a Taiwanese request for new F-16s near the end of his presidency. But the reason given for turning down the request was that previous years of Taiwanese political arguments over defense purchases led President Bush to be wary of accepting a request absent indications that Taiwan's government would appropriate the money to buy them.
While President Obama certainly "continued" the failure to sell new F-16s from the Bush era, the excuse of Taiwan not being serious about spending the money didn't seem like the issue. Indeed, the Obama administration was reassured by the Taiwanese that they were serious about wanting to buy new planes. In the end, the Taiwanese considered upgrades to the old F-16s a mere consolation prize.
Since he doesn't allow comments, I am forced to respond here. The Ma government was never serious about buying new planes; when Chairman of the KMT during the Chen Administration the KMT blocked the F-16 sale from reaching the legislature's floor many times. The Chen administration was serious about obtaining F-16s. Contrary to Brian's claim, the money was appropriated to begin the sale in 2006 and again in 2007. The money was there and Taiwan was ready, but individuals on both sides were playing a game, taking turns throwing up obstacles, the KMT-led legislature freezing the funds ostensibly because the US wasn't providing data on costs. Haha. Had the Bush Administration wanted, there were many ways to arrange a transfer of aircraft. Ultimately, the Bush Administration was serving Beijing on this issue, because it had its own priorities, including North Korea. Thus, three times between 2006 and 2008 the Bush Administration refused to accept a Letter of Request (LOR) from Taipei. It was not "reluctant" or "wary" or whatever. It was pro-actively establishing a policy of not selling F-16s because it was "sensitive" to China. When the Obama Administration decided not to sell F-16s, it was following established policy, equally pro-actively and for the same reasons. There wasn't any difference between the attitude of the two Administrations.MEDIA:
- The hard lessons of the Asia pivot. But there was never any cuddly soft power, that was just the western media talking. It was always the iron fist....
- Taiwan short-sighted on pensions.
- What? Another military officer arrested for spying for China?
- Taiwanese universities attempting to recruit Americans
- King of Swaziland is visiting Taiwan
- Academics urge more research into wartime Taiwan. I'd love to write a book about this period.
- Marxist analysis of the Senkaku mess.
- Legislative Yuan econ committee passes resolution calling for conversion of the insane fourth nuclear plant to natural gas.
- US trade chief to visit The Beautiful Island
[Taiwan] 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.