Certain Defense, Not ‘Strategic Ambiguity’; Implement the Taiwan Relations Act
WASHINGTON, D.C.— In recent months, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has relentlessly ramped up its rhetorical threats against Taiwan, its aggressive military maneuvers in close proximity to that island and apparent preparations for an invasion of the sovereign democracy it insists is actually part of China. The Committee on the Present Danger: China(CPDC) deems the situation sufficiently fraught that it has issued today a White Paper presenting a series of recommendations for near-term actions that can help deter such an attack and its potentially cataclysmic repercussions.
First and foremost, the White Paper declares:
“The United States must retire a policy of strategic ambiguity that invites miscalculation and potentially avoidable conflict over Taiwan. Henceforth, Washington should clearly declare that, in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), Taiwan will be defended, if necessary, with overwhelming U.S. and allied nation military action, against any aggression or coercion from any nation, including the People’s Republic of China.” (Emphasis added.)
The CPDC White Paper proceeds to identify fifteen near-term and practicable actions the United States can and should take, pursuant to the TRA, to enhance the readiness of American and allied forces to contend with the growing threat to Taiwan from China. These include: heightened deployments of special operations and other units in the region and their use in training and exercising with Taiwanese counterparts; high-level bilateral military consultations on defensive war plans;and increased readiness of U.S. bases, personnel and logistical capabilities in the Pacific.
The White Paper also enumerates thirty-five specific ways in which the U.S. military can promptly and measurably help make Taiwan a harder target for Chinese planners and significantly increase the costs associated with an invasion of that island. Among the recommendations are: provision of numerous specified types of ammunition, missiles, air defenses, other ordnance and supporting materiel; the loan of a battalion of M-1A2/3 main battle tanks until such time as ones ordered by Taiwan are delivered and operational; the deployment of long-range missiles to the region; and training and other assistance for a Swiss-style HomelandDefense Force in Taiwan.
The lead author of the White Paper, former special operator Col. John Mills, U.S. Army (Ret.), highlighted one of its key passages:
“The United States must demonstrate unmistakably its commitment to Taiwan – not just for humanitarian considerations, or solidarity with a freedom-loving fellow democracy or even the obligation to help ensure Taiwan’s defense enshrined in the Taiwan Relations Act. Taiwan is now the United States’ principal source for semiconductor chips that are vital for both our economy and national security. That supply chain must not fall into enemy hands. Taiwan is also critical to denying, not only the CCP’s ability to threaten our allies in the Western Pacific, but also its capacity to put at risk sovereign American territory in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and actual U.S. states like Hawaii, Alaska, and the Lower 48.”