Sunday, September 25, 2005

The PLAN Will Unpack Them

I sometimes get the feeling that some Americans judge Taiwan able to defeat the Chinese because they believe that the arms that President Bush offered the Taiwanese are revved up and pointing out to sea, ready to do battle. In reality, they take time to integrate into a military and the Taiwanese haven't even decided to buy them yet! Then the troops have to be trained. The commanders need to get used to how they can be used. It will be years and years before these weapons are actually usable against the Chinese.

Remember please, like I said, that the Taiwanese have not yet agreed to buy them:

Even though the government slashed the budget from $18 billion to $15 billion and finally $11 billion, the opposition parties, with a slim majority in parliament, said the advanced weapons were still too expensive, unnecessary and against the people's wishes.

Despite the marchers who want the weapons purchased, counter-demonstrators demonstrated their tenuous grasp of reality:

But dozens of opponents staged a small protest outside Taiwan's parliament, saying the U.S. arms deal would start an arms race with China and squeeze social spending.

Start an arms race? This article at least notes this:

President Chen Shui-bian, visiting Central America, blasted the opposition parties for blocking the budget to please Beijing.

"At a time when the balance of military power is tilting in China's favor, isn't it true that we need the weapons more than anything else?" Chen said in comments broadcast by Taiwan cable news networks.

In the past Chen has emphasized the threat from China, pointing to double-digit growth of its military budget and the positioning of between 650 and 730 missiles aimed at Taiwan[.]

Yet the opposition does not want these weapons:

The United States first offered the arms deal in 2001 but it has been postponed by opposition parties which favor closer ties with China.

I am amazed and worried that the opposition favors closer ties with the mainland so much that they will support any method to achieve it, including supporting a Chinese invasion.

So the Taiwanese who want to defeat any Chinese invasion must have some confidence that they can win if they fight:

"If we don't give our soldiers the most advanced weapons, how are they supposed to fight China and defend Taiwan?" said pro-independence activist Ng Chiautong who organized the march.

"We must be willing to pay for the weapons for our own defense and we must be confident Taiwan will not lose," Ng said.

How else can fewer than 25 million people maintain their morale in the face of an invasion by the forces of 1.2 billion? If they think they can win, they will fight. If they think resistance is futile, they will collapse.

And it gets worse. We would have the worst of both worlds if we declared our intention to intervene in case of a Chinese attack and found our units moving onto Taiwan only to find the Taiwanese military has collapsed because it is simply too weak to resist. Better to say nothing and let China capture Taiwan than to intervene and lose anyway. So the Taiwanese had best head this warning from the American government:

The delay has fueled worries in Washington that Taipei is not serious about its own defense. The United States recognizes Beijing's "one China" policy but is also obliged by the Taiwan Relations Act to help Taipei defend itself.

U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency director Edward Ross has said the arms package has become a "political football" in Taiwan and warned that Washington may not come to Taiwan's aid if the island cannot defend itself.

Taiwan is dangerously divided and I worry that the Taiwanese people will be unable to come to a consensus over the weapons they need to defend themselves.

China will come after Taiwan. I have no doubt of this. And if the Taiwanese are willing and capable of fighting the Chinese, we will intervene to help them win. If we fight with Taiwan, the Chinese will lose--there is not doubt there, either..

Unfortunately, it is the middle part of the equation that is in tremendous doubt right now--will the Taiwanese fight and can they resist for more than a token twenty-four hours?

I think I pretty much quoted the entire article but reordered it to make sure it explains the situation. There is a real danger that the Taiwanese will be so tardy in ordering the weapons that they will be in warehouses in Taiwanese ports when the Chinese overwhelm the Taiwanese and capture the island.

It would be a damn shame if Taiwanese democracy is the tool the Chinese exploit to keep Taiwan vulnerable to an invasion.