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The United States cannot desire to defend Taiwan more fervently than Taiwan desires to defend Taiwan. For Taiwan, the Mainland Communist regime surely poses an existential threat, both to the sovereignty and independence of the Taiwan government, as well as to the way of life of the Taiwan people. For China, Taiwan seems increasingly to pose an existential threat, as the liberties enjoyed on Taiwan are increasingly in short supply on the Mainland. In a cross-Strait war, Taiwan cannot afford to lose. Whether the government in Beijing can afford to fail in its next attempt to Liberate Taiwan is an unexplored question, since it can always make further attempts, sooner or later.

While the defense of Taiwan might pose an existential threat to the United States, in the form of Chinese nuclear escalation, the loss of Taiwan would not pose an existential threat to the United States. The United States provided treaty-bound security guarantees to Ukraine in the 1990s in order to trick Kiev into giving up its Soviet nuclear legacy, but almost no one seems to have noticed these paper guarantees when Russia grabbed Crimea. The formal American security commitment to Taiwan is even more tenuous. Washington is required by treaty to provide Taiwan with the means for Taiwan to defend itself, but not itself to defense Taiwan.

The American policy community needs to weigh very carefully American interests in the defense of Taiwan, which might be great [the defense of a fellow democracy yearning to be free against a brutal dictatorship], or might be quite significant [maintaining the credibility of security guarantees to South Korea and Japan], or might not be so great [delaying the inevitable South Korean and Japanese acquisition of nuclear weapons after the American withdrawal from the East Asian periphery]. American need not win to win - the American withdrawal from Vietnam had remarkably little impact on American alliance relations, coming after the sacrifice in blood and treasure to sustain alliance credibility. Possibly all that would be required of America would be to put up a good fight, though withdrawing in the face of Chinese threats which would tarnish Beijing's standing in the world for many decades.

On May 26, 2006, William M. Arkin reported that the 5077 plan to defend Taiwan from a Chinese attack dates back from the Reagan administration, and has been successively updated and expanded over the years. Until 2001, the plan was what was called a "CONPLAN," which is an operations plan in concept only. This means that the general American courses of action were identified but the plan itself was only kept in abbreviated form, lacking either the assignment of forces or much of the details of logistics and transport needed for implementation. In August 2001, "Change 1" to the previous CONPLAN 5077 upgraded the contingency to a full OPLAN, with assigned forces and more detailed annexes and appendices.

Taiwanese-independence advocates accused former president Ma Ying-jeou of breaking national security laws and called on the judiciary to investigate after his statement that China will wage a battle, which will be quick and will be the last battle for Taiwan. Ma showed his true colors as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party in his speech on Monday when he said the first battle will be the last, Taiwan Republic Office director Chilly Chen said. Ma is threatening Taiwanese by claiming that Beijing will launch a quick invasion of Taiwan, but that the US military will have no time and no chance to come to Taiwans aid, Chen said.

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    One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

    Page last modified: 29-04-2021 11:32:22 ZULU