How To Glich To Be Military In Papers Please Roblox – US support for Taiwan must be unequivocal to maintain peace, make clear to China that force will not stand
For four decades, successive Republican and Democratic administrations have refused to answer the question of whether the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense if China launched an armed attack. Washington’s deliberate ambiguity on the issue helped dissuade China from trying to “reunify” Taiwan with the mainland, as it could not be sure that the United States would stand aside. At the same time, this policy discouraged Taiwan from declaring independence—a step that would have precipitated a cross-strait crisis—because its leaders could not be sure of unequivocal US support.
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The policy known as strategic ambiguity, however, has run its course. Ambiguity is unlikely to deter an increasingly assertive China with growing military capabilities. The time has come for the United States to implement a policy of strategic clarity: a policy that explicitly states that the United States will respond to any Chinese use of force against Taiwan. Washington can make this shift in a way that is consistent with its one-China policy and that minimizes the risk to US-China relations. Indeed, such a change should strengthen US-China relations in the long run by improving deterrence and reducing the chances of war in the Taiwan Strait, the most likely site of conflict between the United States and China.
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When the United States severed relations with Taiwan (more precisely, the Republic of China) in 1979 and rejected the island’s mutual defense treaty, Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act, which made clear that the United States retained special obligations to Taiwan. The TRA asserted that the United States “will consider any attempt to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of great concern to the United States.” It was also stated that the United States will maintain the capacity to defend Taiwan and make available to the island the weapons necessary for its security. Importantly, however, the TRA did not state that the United States would in fact come to Taiwan’s defense.
American ambiguity deterred China from attacking Taiwan because Beijing could never be sure what the US response would be. Above all, China wanted to maintain a peaceful external environment so that it could focus on its economic development. Moreover, even if the United States chose not to engage directly, it provided the Taiwanese military with enough sophisticated equipment that the Chinese military would not be ill-equipped to defeat it. A misjudgment would jeopardize China’s economic development and the rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The ambiguity had an equally important but often underappreciated effect on Taiwan, which could not be sure of US aid if it provoked a Chinese attack by declaring independence. When Taiwan tested the limits of what the United States would accept—as it did in the early 2000s, under Chen Shui-bian—the United States made clear that Taiwan did not enjoy a blank check and could not act with impunity. Ambiguity prevented this powder keg from exploding.
Maintaining this policy of ambiguity, however, will not maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait for the next four decades. Too many of the variables that made it a wise course have fundamentally changed. China now has the ability to threaten US interests and Taiwan’s future. China’s defense spending is 15 times that of Taiwan, and much of it is devoted to Taiwan’s contingencies. Chinese planning focused on preventing the United States from successfully intervening on Taiwan’s behalf.
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Gone are the days when Taiwan’s dollars went further than China’s, as China now offers equipment on par with anything the United States makes available to Taiwan. Whether the United States could prevail in the Taiwan conflict is no longer certain, and trend lines continue to move in China’s favor. Unless the United States devotes significant resources to preparations for a conflict in the Taiwan Strait, there is little chance of preventing the fait accompli. Waiting for China to make a move on Taiwan before deciding whether to intervene is a recipe for disaster.
Under President Xi Jinping, China has become increasingly determined to advance its interests. Xi once promised US President Barack Obama that China would not militarize the South China Sea, but in recent years it has done so. The country has imprisoned at least one million members of its Uyghur minority. It has openly clashed with India along the disputed border between the two countries. It increased military exercises in the Taiwan Strait and intensified efforts to isolate Taiwan internationally. Equally worrying for Taiwan, China has stripped Hong Kong of almost all its autonomy over the past year.
In light of these trends, China’s aim to take control of Taiwan, by force if necessary, should be taken seriously. There is speculation that Xi will marry his ambitions with the new means at his disposal to realize his “Chinese dream” and force “reunification” with Taiwan, potentially in 2021. No one should dismiss the possibility that Taiwan could be the next Hong Kong.
Furthermore, deterring Taiwan from declaring independence is no longer a primary concern. Taiwan understands that the United States does not support its independence. President Tsai Ing-wen, a member of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has adopted a cautious and prudent policy to manage relations with China (in close consultation with the United States) and has carefully avoided moves that might cross Red Lines Beijing. The Taiwanese are pragmatic and understand that the pursuit of independence, which would challenge China, is not in the interests of the island. Consequently, less than ten percent support the pursuit of independence as soon as possible, and most prefer to maintain the status quo rather than risk war.
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Finally, while some may have questioned whether the authoritarian Taiwan of 1979, ruled by martial law, was worth defending, the island has since blossomed into a robust democracy with regular, peaceful transfers of power. Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage and has one of the freest media in the region. It has the highest proportion of female legislators in Asia, almost double that of the United States. In its world-leading response to COVID-19, Taiwan demonstrated its enormous capacity in global health and its generosity in lending a hand to countries in need. Taiwan is a vital partner of the United States on a range of global issues, and it is in the interest of the United States to defend Taiwan’s hard-won gains.
One thing, however, has not changed over these four decades: China’s enforced takeover of Taiwan continues to run counter to US interests. If the United States does not respond to such Chinese use of force, regional US allies such as Japan and South Korea will conclude that the United States cannot be relied upon and withdraw from the region. These Asian allies would then either adapt to China, leading to the dissolution of US alliances and upsetting the balance of power, or seek nuclear weapons in an attempt to become strategically self-reliant. Either scenario would greatly increase the chances of war in a region central to the world economy and home to most of its people.
Meanwhile, 24 million people in Taiwan will see their democracy and freedoms crushed. China would curb the island’s vibrant, high-tech economy. And China’s military would no longer be based within the first chain of islands: its navy would instead have the ability to project Chinese power across the western Pacific.
The fact that the United States, China, and Taiwan maintained peace in the Taiwan Strait for 40 years by clarifying this issue is one of the great postwar foreign policy achievements of the United States. It is a testament to the skillful statesmanship of Henry Kissinger and many of his successors, who understood that resolving this issue on terms acceptable to all parties was unattainable. But ambiguity is unlikely to preserve the status quo.
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To defend its achievement and continue to deter Chinese adventurism, the United States should adopt a position of strategic clarity, stating explicitly that it will respond to any Chinese use of force against Taiwan. Such a policy would reduce the chances of Chinese misjudgment, which is the most likely catalyst for a war in the Taiwan Strait.
A change in US policy is especially necessary given that President Donald Trump has sown the seeds of doubt about whether the United States will come to the aid of its friends and allies. He questioned the value of NATO and abandoned the United States’ Kurdish partners. He is reducing the US troop presence in Germany, threatening to do the same in South Korea, and has signed an accord with the Taliban that is nothing more than a front for US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Xi Jinping could easily conclude that the United States would not come to Taiwan’s defense. As a result, the United States must
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