Sending More Troops to Taiwan Because…
Another 100 to 200 U.S. troops are heading to Taiwan to help train its military but also as a gauntlet against Chinese aggression.
In an act clearly designed to send a message to Beijing, a contingent of 100 to 200 U.S. troops will be deployed to Taiwan for the express purpose of expanding an existing military training program with the Taiwanese military. These new troops represent a significant increase of U.S. military presence on the island nation, which China has long claimed as its own. The big strategic takeaway, however, is that U.S. troops serve as a gauntlet against Chinese invasion.
The U.S. troops will be there helping Taiwan prepare and develop a “porcupine” defense strategy to counter a potential Chinese invasion. “We don’t have a comment on specific operations, engagements, or training,” said Army Lt. Col. Marty Meiners, a Pentagon spokesman,“ but I would highlight that our support for, and defense relationship with, Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China. Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region.”
In a way, the U.S. is slowly but steadily returning to a Cold War-like position. America stationed a significant number of troops on the island nation until 1979, when the U.S. agreed to sever formal ties with Taiwan while at the same time developing a formal relationship with China. American military presence in Taiwan has declined ever since, though the commitment to assist Taiwan in maintaining defense of the island remains to this day.
While U.S. officials have been quick to dispel the notion that this decision is a response to China’s provocative actions in floating a spy balloon across the continental U.S. a few weeks back, insisting that it was planned months prior, there is little argument that it will serve to warn Beijing that any move against Taiwan will invite U.S. intervention.
Indeed, the presence of U.S. troops in Taiwan effectively establishes the country as an ally. Should China strike Taiwan and in doing so kill any U.S. troops, that would likely demand a military response from the U.S. The question is, would Joe Biden green-light a military response? Maybe more importantly, does Beijing believe that Biden would respond with force?
Donald Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton agreed with Biden’s decision to send troops, saying, “I think this is the right thing to do.” However, the always-hawkish Bolton was quick to advise not stopping there: “I would homeport a couple of American naval vessels at Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s big harbor, and show the Chinese that we’re gonna be there training and assisting the Taiwanese against any possible Chinese attack.” And his rationale is preventing war. “The aim here is not to win a war that China starts; the aim here is to deter China from doing it. And believe me, we can do a lot more to do that.”
Republican Representative Mike Gallagher, the new chair of the House Select Committee on China, shares Bolton’s view. He argued, “We need to be moving heaven and earth to arm Taiwan to the teeth to avoid a war.” In other words, the U.S. should make an attempted invasion of Taiwan so dangerous for China that Beijing would have to be crazy to try.
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