In an effort to deter Communist China’s desire to forcefully integrate Taiwan into China, the Biden administration has approved of another major weapons package.
The United States government, under the Biden administration, seems to be doubling down on the American foreign policy trend of supplying partners to deter our adversaries.
After having spent $75 billion — billion — in aid to Ukraine, the US government has turned the trend of aid packages into our new foreign policy standard. By supplying weapons systems, training, munitions, and equipment to Ukrainian armed forces, Kyiv has been able to push the war to a tentative stalemate.
It seems that having learned lessons from Ukraine, the US is looking to apply the aid model to Taiwan. Ukraine has proved two things:
- That a smaller, more inferior force can withstand a total war from a near-peer opponent and
- That US aid is substantial enough to freeze that adversary’s offensive capability
It is in these two confirmations that the US is hedging its bets in the Pacific. The idea seems to revolve around a hope that if we can supply and train Taiwan quickly enough, that China will lose any progress it has made towards achieving the capabilities necessary to seize Taiwan before the US and our allies can intervene.
Through decades of rapid technological advancement, major defense spending, and “salami” tactics, the CCP have been trying to achieve the capability necessary to seize Taiwan; to be able to strike quickly and with one decisive action.
By providing substantial aid — and the necessary weapons systems — the US is, in theory, widening the gap China is looking to close.
All of this seems like a long-term strategy, and it is. As mentioned before, China has been dumping its resources — of all kinds — towards the integration of Taiwan into China for decades. It is the primary goal of the CCP. By committing to such a long-term strategy, I think the US is looking to do a few very simple things:
- Observe the volatility of the CCP (and maybe outlast Xi)
- Buy time to field new military assets and re-posture in the Pacific
- Buy time for our allies, such as Japan, the Philippines, and Korea to prepare
The move to provide aid to Taiwan is a good thing. In my opinion, it should be the focus of our foreign policy at the moment. The package was announced by the Biden administration two days ago, but the details of what it includes have not been disclosed.
It would be safe to assume that it mimics some of what was gifted to Ukraine; air defense and artillery systems, small arms and body armor, and munitions and supplies to field all that effectively. Lastly, it is safe to assume that such aid also includes personnel to train the Taiwanese counterparts on such systems, and to prepare them to spearhead the defense of their island.
In the 2023 budget, $1 billion has already been pledged to Taiwan. China, naturally, has demanded the US cease such packages. While the aid package is good news for Taiwan, and a stronger posture for the US, we have yet to see the full scale of China’s reaction.
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What do you think about the aid to Taiwan? Is the US finally taking the right approach in the Pacific? Is it too little, too late? Is it substantial policy or just a bid to buy time? Let me know in the comments below.