Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Very Sensitive Issue, Indeed

I thought it would make sense for Russia to sell submarines to Taiwan.

But Russia doesn't seem like they're interested in that path:

Russia will continue to support China on the 'sensitive' issue of Taiwan, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

'Russia is very careful about (its) ties with China,' Putin said during a meeting in Moscow with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to succeed Hu Jintao as president.

I still think it makes sense for Russia to sell submarines to Taiwan. Perhaps one day, if Taiwan can't find another supplier and Russia concludes that it would be better to tie down China at sea and can't count on America and Japan doing the job all on our own, Russia will change their mind.

Remember, it does Russia no good if China can quickly overwhelm Taiwan. Russia needs China pointed at Taiwan--but not moving in that direction. Russia needs China fixed in the southern direction--not victorious. Once Taiwan has fallen, China can afford to direct more defense resources inland, where Russia's vulnerable and resource-rich Far East dangles in front of a hungry China. So it is in Russia's interest to make sure that Taiwan does not fall to China.

With a shield on Taiwan, assuming China manages to take the island democracy, to hold off our fleet from approaching China's shores, will China want to run their supply lines at sea where America (and India, and anyone else along the long route for that matter) can cut them at will? Or will the Chinese seek to gain land lines of supply safely away from our dominant naval and air power?