Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Dangerous Delusion

Is it possible that the Taiwanese leadership is so deluded that they think they can avoid the responsibility for defending themselves in the belief that we will defend them on our own? Strategypage notes:

The Taiwanese, however, have come to believe that, no matter what they do with their own military, the Americans will rescue them. Taiwanese believe that their economy, especially the production of electronic components, is too critical to the American economy, for the Americans to risk allowing a Chinese invasion to succeed.

Let's assume the Taiwanese are right that we would not want China to control Taiwan's electronic industries. Let's assume that a desire to support a fellow democracy is not what motivates us in their case. This still does not mean Taiwan can avoid defending themselves. Even if we are determined to intervene, we need weeks to make the decision to go and to get decisive force into the battle. And if Taiwan can't buy us that time, our intervention will be too little and too late.

So if the Taiwanes assumption is right that we cannot afford to let communist China conquer Taiwan's industrial might, logically we would destroy Taiwan rather than let those economic assets fall into Chinese hands. I mean, if you are working on the Taiwan logic that Strategypage says exists, this is the only American response that makes sense.

But in reality, other suppliers of electronics would replace Taiwan and we aren't about to fight for Taiwan without active and determined Taiwanese participation. Nor will we destroy Taiwan to keep its economy out of China's hands. We're actually a lot more idealistic about when and where we commit Americans to fight and die in battle.

If Taiwan does not defend itself, no American cavalry will appear out of nowhere to protect them.