Thursday, July 24, 2008

No Waiting Until January

If Peking is giving us something for our stall on arms sales to Taiwan, the Chinese aren't getting much:

President Bush is committed to an $11 billion arms package for Taiwan, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said Wednesday, amid reports that the U.S. is freezing such sales to the island to avoid angering China.

It may simply be an Olympics gift. Which is fine. If the Olympics turn out to be a public relations disaster for China, best not to be an obvious target for blame.

But it is good to know that the sale won't be put off until the next administration.

UPDATE: As long as bargaining over Taiwan's defense needs doesn't become routine, I've no problem with a short interruption for cosmetic purposes. But this assumes that we never forget that our help should never actually hurt our allies on Taiwan. I will say that I'd be far more comfortable decoupling Taiwanese arms sales from other issues. Defending an ally should not be a debatable matter lest our enemies (and friends) come to believe we will throw anybody under the bus if convenient.