The decision was made in 2011 when Taiwan’s Air Force could have been doubled for arguably less money. Rather than keeping the older F-16 A/B jets and doubling Taiwan’s Air Force with new F-16 C/D jets, the US Military only offered Taiwan an “upgrade” of the existing 66 fighters purchased in 1992. This raised eyebrows at the time, but was written off as “typical Washington stupidity”. The upgrade still hasn’t happened. Now, with the events circulating in Taipei, a deeper analysis may suggest that Washington’s decision was more diplomatic and wise.
US Military strategists at the Pentagon love few things more than pro-US countries. If Taipei becomes unstable, it would be in US interests to send troops to keep the peace and ensure that China does not invade Taiwan. Chinese occupancy of Taiwan would be unacceptable from a US Military perspective, mainly because of Naval strategy. Beijing strategists would be ignorant to think Obama would respond the same as he did with Russia and Crimea. If China touched Taiwanese soil, the US Military would likely respond before the American public knew anything about it. That much hasn’t changed.
This being the situation, with Taiwan being as important as it is to US interests, and with the US still having a military stronger than China’s, why hasn’t the US sent help for the Taipei protests and occupied Legislature? Why were new jets denied and the promised upgrades not made? And why hasn’t Taiwan’s President Ma complained more strongly to the US?
Taiwan’s proposed trade deal with China was negotiated in secrecy that Taiwan’s executive branch openly admits to. The controlling political party also admits to having talks that need explanation. That admission may be inditing since Taiwan’s Constitution clearly defines Mainland China as an “enemy” and an elected or appointed official in Taiwan meeting with China in a closed session (which happened) may be rightly interpreted as treason under Taiwan Constitutional Law. But whether Taiwan President Ma is already a traitor according to Taiwan’s own Constitution is not a question that this article explores.
That “trade talk” meeting with China was not the first questionable activity from the Ma administration. Violations of public trust have snowballed throughout Ma’s tenure. Washington sees these Ma cabinet meetings with the Chinese and understands several ramifications. There is no way to verify the exact nature of Taipei’s relationship with Beijing or that exchange of technology that Taiwan purchased from the US was not involved. The recent meetings may be a high-profile violation of Taiwan’s own Constitution. Ma can’t be trusted by anyone—Beijing, Taiwan, or the US.
In summary, President Ma already deviated from the well-worn path and, based on publicly known information, the US government has good reason to believe that he may be a security risk. Clearly, for whatever the undisclosed reason may be, Washington believes it is more important to keep new US Military technology out of Taiwan President Ma’s hands than to arm America’s main ally against China. Perhaps someone in the Pentagon thinks that giving F-16 C/D technology to Ma would be part and parcel of giving it to Beijing.
- The Prelude to Dictatorship in Taiwan (ireport.cnn.com)
- What would America do if China invaded Taiwan? (theweek.com)
- The situation in Crimea and Taiwan is very different (chinapost.com.tw)
- US hopes for peaceful debate in Taiwan over China trade pact (wantchinatimes.com)
- Taiwan protesters dig in over China trade bill (tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com)
- Taiwan Legislature “Occupied/Retaken”: USA Media Ignores (chinadailymail.com)
- What exactly is happening in Taiwan? Revolution, that’s what! (chinadailymail.com)
- China and Taiwan: Provoked to grab for power (chinadailymail.com)
- Taiwan leader says protest-hit China trade pact vital (tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com)
- Taiwan students protest against a trade pact with China (yahsinhuangtw.wordpress.com)
- Police Move in on Taiwan Protest Over China Pact (abcnews.go.com)
- Protest in Taiwan (flickr.net)
- Taiwan: Let’s end trade deal crisis (edition.cnn.com)
- Taiwan president invites protesters to talk (wdsu.com)