Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Arms Talks Back On The Table

Breaking news is that Obama is very close (within a couple weeks) of submitting a proposal to congress for Taiwan to purchase arms- these would include Blackhawk helicopters as well as Advanced Patriot Missiles. Currently, notably missing would be the F-16s and diesel-electric submarines. The F-16s have long been on Taiwan's wish list, and after 10 years, they still aren't being given the green light.

Here's an "exclusive" from Reuters on this development:

"We decided that trying to make up for the delays in the arms sale package in one fell swoop was potentially destabilizing to the improvements in cross-strait relations that occurred during the first year" of President Ma Ying-jeou's administration, Dennis Wilder, senior director for East Asian affairs on Bush's National Security Council staff, told Reuters in March.
I would say that having sold Taiwan the arms it wanted, including the F-16s in "one fell swoop" may have been a better move than dipping our toes in every few years and inevitably "upsetting" China. But who knows, perhaps China may actually have been more angry if there was one large arms package.

In any case, more arms sales is not only good for Taiwan but also the U.S. You may wonder how it bodes well for the U.S.? Actually quite simple, U.S. seeks to keep Taiwan as one if its unofficial allies and potentially as a "bargaining chip" (although I hope they never use Taiwan as such) against a rising and imperialistic China. Furthermore, more defense sales means more local jobs being put to work on these defense systems and weapons. Specifically of note: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon.

It has been a frustrating game of cat and mouse, with each side saying they want x and y one year, with the U.S. saying it will give z; and then the next time the U.S. says they won't give z but y instead, but now Taiwan has no longer budgeted for y. The madness of it all can almost be squarely blamed on U.S. President Bush and the trifecta of KMT/PFP leaders, Ma/Soong/Chan (Lien).

See this report for extensive historical background and information on U.S.-Taiwan Arms Sales. A very detailed and worthy read for anyone interested in more on this.

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