Friday, September 10, 2004

A Future Threat

While the papers are all agog with stories of Iraq and the presidential candidates, a comment in today's Washington Times reminded me of a threat that will likely be in the front pages in about 3-7 years;

The Bush administration is bowing to pressure from China to curb arms sales to Taiwan at a time when the Pentagon is urgently trying to get the island's government to buy U.S. defensive arms. According to U.S. officials, Taiwan's government has sent the administration formal letters stating that it plans to buy eight diesel submarines, 12 P-3 aircraft and six new Patriot anti-missile batteries and associated PAC-3 interceptor missiles. ... The Pentagon has done the needed paperwork to put the sales in motion, but the White House has decided to put it off by delaying formal notification of Congress. The move was ordered by the National Security Council staff, where pro-China official Dennis Wilder recently took charge of the China portfolio. ... One official said the Pentagon has warned for years that "the threat to Taiwan will become critical in the 2005-2008 time frame" and is a major reason the administration has been pressuring Taiwan to invest in missile defense and anti-submarine warfare. ...

What is important about the 2005-2008 time frame?" Hold your horses for a minute.

Now for the killer

Politically, pro-China officials are suspected of putting off the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan until after the election, when a possible administration of John Kerry likely would cancel the arms sale package altogether.

If you think that Iraq and the War on Terror is all we've got to worry about with Kerry, I regret to inform you that he would be a lot worse than you imagine. Not only would he throw the Iraqis to the wolves, the democratic ROC (Republic of China or Taiwan) would get the same treatment. I'm sure he would defend this by saying that trade with China means US jobs, I think he is being rather short sighted. And I'm being polite.

The simple fact is that China wants Taiwan back. Bad. And word is they want to "resolve" the situation one way or the other by the end of the decade, by military action if necessary.

In my opinion we need to make sure that the communists on the mainland are not allowed to destroy democratic Taiwan. The latter has worked hard in the past several years to reform itself from an autocracy under Chaing Kai-shek to a modern, capitalist, democracy. While the Taiwanese must refrain from unnecessarily provoking mainland China, they are worth helping to defend. Kerry apparently does not see it that way.

My complete analysis of the situation regarding these countries can be found here.

On his website, John Kerry says that
A Kerry presidency will be committed to a "One China" policy, and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Straits issues. We support Taiwan's vibrant democracy and robust economy and will maintain America's commitment to provide Taiwan defensive weapons.

By itself these are fine words. Words alone, however, will not keep China from attacking the island democracy. The relevant issue is whether he will supply the weapons that are necessary for their defense. And John Kerry seems to have a way with words, they meaning one thing today and another tomorrow. In today's Washington Times, John Brieden, past commander of the American Legion, says that Kerry will say whatever the group he is speaking to wants to hear:

...he has a tendency to say "exactly what the group wanted to hear." "In fact, his speech was right down our point papers, line by line," Mr. Brieden said in a conference call organized by the Bush campaign. "I have to laugh because as I have heard people talk about his flip-flop on positions, I feel all he's trying to do is tell every group what they want to hear," he said. "That means a different position for every group."

Sad to say, but this has been the case with every Democrat who has run for national office since Bill Clinton.