Thursday, October 30, 2003

Rob Fannion, my former roomate at Harvard, asked me about a Washington Post article that details the defense ties between Taiwan and the US. The article gives an excellent portrayal of the complex ties between the US and Taiwan, which is leading to Taiwan stalling military reforms that the US wants Taiwan to carry out. My thoughts were:

This is sad in two respects (at least). First, it shows how much the military industrial complex (yet again) dominates our defense and foreign policy. Second, it shows how much Chen is still fearful of the Taiwanese military. Under pressure from both the military and the legislature, it is hard for Chen to act. Strategically, it might be in Taiwan's interest to buy just enough weapons to continue a close relationship with the US. Basically, Taiwan's thinking is that it has no hope to defend itself against China on its own, so it needs US involvement, which requires some lobbying and arms acquisition. But it really wants to free-ride on (the threat of) a US defense if it can. If its ties with the US is too close, it might trigger an actual invasion from China or economic sanction, which it doesn't want. The whole thing is a farce.

The article can be accessed at:

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