Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hegemonic Warfare Watch: Taiwan in the Pivot

Michael Mazza over at AEI argues that Taiwan has a crucial role in the US "pivot" toward Asia....
Yet Taiwan can take steps to ensure that US forces would have access to the island’s facilities during a time of crisis, even in the absence of a formal access agreement. Taiwan, for example, could invest in infrastructure that would enable the island to serve as a logistics hub for US forces in the event of a conflict to the island’s north or in the South China Sea. Along similar lines, Taiwan might stockpile supplies that would be of use to American forces operating in the region. Doing so would complicate China’s war planning, improve deterrence, and enhance America’s ability to come to the aid of Taiwan and other allies during an emergency, all without provoking Beijing in the way that formal access arrangements or actual US presence would.
Mazza also argues that the best way Taiwan could help "the pivot" is to beef up its own defenses so it can hold off China longer.

It's more interesting to consider whether Taiwan would get involved as a supply base in a US-China conflict over islands in the South China Sea. "Taiwan" as such has no claim to any of the islands that the ROC claims, and the ROC claim is the same as Beijing's -- the whole of the South China Sea belongs to the ROC. If the US enforces another nation's sovereignty in the area then that would bring the US into conflict with the ROC. The pragmatic thing for Taipei to do would be to quietly help the US and harvest that big economic stimulus. One could easily see a DPP government doing that, but a KMT government might balk at helping the US hack away its China fantasies. Reviews like Mazza's show how stupid and short-sighted the US was to support Ma Ying-jeou, in effect helping Beijing over the long run in many different ways.

Meanwhile Taipei, ever working on never getting the fighters it needs, is now asking for F-35s.
Washington, July 10 (CNA) A delegation from the Taiwan-US Inter-Parliamentary Amity Association of Taiwan's Legislature said Wednesday in Washington that Taiwan wants to purchase advanced F-35 fighter jets that best suit its defense needs.
If we wouldn't sell them F-16s, why on earth would we sell them F-35s? This constant mention of F-35s is just another delaying tactic to prevent the island from ever getting fighters.

Keep an eye on the China-Russian reconciliation aimed at the US. Joint military exercises. Brr.... this should last about as long as it takes Moscow and Beijing to start feuding over who owns Central Asia. But the weapons transfers from Russia to China have a profound effect on Taiwan's defense situation...
Daily Links:
  • Phils-Taiwan fishery meeting tied to shooting, investigation
  • If the Chinese economy has hard landing, who is most exposed?
  • Soulik kills two
  • Taiwan-New Zealand sign free trade pact (WSJ). Note the background paragraph, it's just horrible. Taiwan and China HAVE NOT agreed they are part of the same China for the past twenty years, and they did not split in 1949. Hello, nuances. The pact....
    Wednesday's pact calls for Taiwan to lower tariffs on virtually all its imports from New Zealand, including meat, dairy products and kiwi, over the next four years. Tariffs on fresh and long-life milk and ground deer antlers—popular in Chinese medicine as a growth tonic, arthritis treatment and even as an aphrodisiac, among other uses—will be phased out over a longer period, 12 years, to protect Taiwanese farmers from a flood of cheaper imports. New Zealand, in turn, will eliminate tariffs on Taiwanese electronic goods.
    "ground deer antlers." Yeesh. Meanwhile commentary in TT argues that NZ products threaten Taiwan farmers. Probably not very much. 
  • Transparency International totally screws up corruption survey, still defending it. There's a news story in this, international media people.
  • My man Drew goes from Hualien to I-lan via Taroko. Awesome ride, awesome write-up
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P. S. said...

Re: the Russian tech transfer. The lunchroom at the State Aerospace HQ that I worked in a couple of years, ago, in Shanghai, had borscht on the menu! Besides myself, I didn't see any Rooskies ordering it ;) Surprisingly tasty, too.

Anonymous said...

I have strong feeling that procurements of F35. it no other than Mainland Chinese request.

it's an obligation that Ma needs to fulfills it.