Friday, November 17, 2006

US-Taiwan Defense/Relations

Blogger Simon World points to two articles on the US, Taiwan, China, and defense:

The Jamestown Foundation offers Defense Reform and Civilian Control in Taiwan:

Yet despite its progress in depoliticizing the military and civilianizing the defense bureaucracy, several major challenges remain. Perhaps the most important is the completion of the “civilianization” of the defense bureaucracy. Prior to the implementation of the “Two Defense Acts,” the MND had a total of 224 personnel, of which a mere 28 were civilians. The new laws increased the authorized number of personnel to 570 and mandated that civilians must fill at least one-third of the total positions in MND headquarters. The MND has experienced difficulty in meeting this goal, and as of November 1, 2004, the number of civilian employees stood at 167 [15]. The primary problem is the limited pool of civilians with backgrounds in defense analysis and national security affairs. It will take a considerable amount of time to develop a community of civilian defense experts in Taiwan. According to former MND officials, another problem is that the Minister and Vice Minister are not permitted to bring sufficient numbers of civilian staff with them when they assume their positions, nor are they given the opportunity to appoint civilian officials to many key mid-level positions, most of which are filled by career military officers [16]. These personnel issues reportedly contribute to the difficulty the senior officials face in controlling the military and implementing bold initiatives and major policy changes.
...while the Hoover Institution has Alan Romberg arguing about Taiwan, All Politics, All the Time:

While making clear its impatience with such gamesmanship, and its willingness ultimately to speak out strongly against any serious challenge to the status quo, the United States staked out neutral ground in Taiwan’s complex domestic political situation. Nonetheless, American representatives firmly maintained to all concerned that, whatever the outcome of the political struggle, preservation of overall social stability— and adherence to the rule of law—was critically important.

Washington also expressed increasing frustration with Taipei’s failure to approve sufficient levels of defense spending, leading all sides in Taiwan to promise progress while blaming the delay on their opponents. By mid-October, there were some tentative signs of progress in the offing, but it remained to be seen if statesmanship would replace the all too familiar pattern of one-upmanship.
Romberg's construction of Taiwan politics is slanted pro-KMT in a number of important ways, but does contain a review of recent political events, Beijing's view, and the US.

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