Taiwan is about to secure its biggest arms sale from Washington in many years, including 66 F-16 fighters and over a hundred M1A2 tanks. Congressional support for arming Taiwan remains strong, and a key reason why is that if Beijing were to seize control of the island, it would unravel U.S. strategy for containing China’s rising military power. That strategy focuses heavily on a chain of islands running from Japan to the Philippines that creates chokepoints for the Chinese Navy. Taiwan is by far the biggest of these islands, and thus provides the most potential as a military base of operations. But if Beijing were to assume control, it would be able to get past the island chain, in the process acquiring what General Douglas MacArthur once called an “unsinkable aircraft carrier.” Arming Taiwan to defend against attack thus is crucial to keeping the U.S. defensive perimeter in Asia intact, and China’s rising military ambitions contained. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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