Should the US go forward with (renewed) high tech arms sales to Taiwan?

Based on this podcast( It’s long and a bit rambling, however, so I’ll give you guys the Cliff’s Notes version. The US for the last several administrations has limited arms sales, especially of higher tech weapons and systems to Taiwan, basically to appease the Chinese and specifically the CCP which is, obviously, opposed to them. There has been some indications that the Trump administration might be changing that policy to allow Taiwan to buy more high tech US weapons. Hard to say since one never knows with Trump…can he even focus his attention long enough for something like this? The Chinese have already protested this move, however.

The bulk of the podcast goes into why it’s important. The gist is that China has had and continues to have a policy of eventually bringing Taiwan, which they see as a break away province, back into the fold, by force if necessary. And they have been building up their military specifically to do this task. At the same time, the US has become more distant from Taiwan wrt our obligations, and it’s unclear exactly what, if anything the US will do to prevent China from doing this. One of the things we promised to do is to enable Taiwan to defend itself through the sales of high tech arms…which we haven’t been doing. Another is to directly support them at some vague and unspecified level, which…well, is vague and unspecified so who knows?

So, for debate, should the US support Taiwan, and specifically enable them to purchase high tech weapons systems from the US to defend themselves, or should we appease the CCP and continue to generally hinder such sales? Should the US support Taiwan and make it clear that the US will fight China if they decide to invade, or should we cut Taiwan loose to fend for itself? This is similar to the ‘Is NATO obsolete?’ in that I want to see what 'dopers think the US should or shouldn’t be doing wrt some of our defensive treaties and obligations.


(Disclaimer: being Taiwanese, I am biased and don’t pretend to be objective about this issue)
For self-defense, yes, but that’s been well hashed.

But the problem previous US administrations have encountered is that limiting arms sales to Taiwan in the name of not offending China simply enables China to push the Overton Window further and further yet. In the past, large U.S. arms sales to Taiwan were greeted with protest from Beijing but little more. Now even small arms sales get greeted with the same level of protest intensity as large arms sales in the past. The more one caves in, the more one is demanded to cave in.

For any other administration I’d say yes as the example of a secure, prosperous democratic Chinese state off the coast of the PRC is an awesome soft-power extension of US diplomatic strength.

With the bastards currently in charge I’d expect it to turn into an extortion racket.

Yeah, I totally agree. Hard to imagine why we would not sell the weapons Taiwan needs to defend itself from a power that has openly said it means to bring it back into it’s fold by force of arms if necessary and who trains and has actually designed it’s military around accomplishing this task. The Chinese aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they mean to go after Taiwan, and haven’t since Mao’s time to today. Hell, I think they actually have a date for when they want this accomplish by and probably are already printing up the propaganda posters for when they have the island under their thumb.

One rumored secret deadline is 2021, the 100th-year anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party having been founded. Another is 2049, the 100th-year anniversary of the CCP winning the Chinese Civil War and taking control of mainland China.

For mosa people, this is ancient history.

He doesn’t need to focus to make it happen. The process is dominantly through DOD and the State Department. As long as he doesn’t change his mind, and actually issues guidance enabling it in the first place, there are plenty of people that can carry the ball and present him with a practically done deal to make a public statement about.

Generally, China’s capability to project power and possibly seize Taiwan has gone up. US capability to help, if we even will, has been cut as I just posted about in the NATO thread. Abandoning the two major regional conflict strategy in our planning makes increasing the capability of our potential partners like Taiwan more important if we want to deter being pulled into a war.

There’s also a sense of pushing back against the growing Chinese aggressiveness towards both their neighbors and our direct interests by claiming international shipping lanes. This is a change from a long period of policy. The situation has changed from that period though. Inflicting some costs to their interests, short of war, for that more aggressive policy isn’t exactly a new concept in international relations.