Sunday, October 28, 2012

Shield of the Pivot

We are pivoting to the western Pacific. It would be good to have allies in place when we execute that maneuver, no?

Allies in the western Pacific add forces to our side and absorb enemy forces on the other side. So it is nice to hear that Romney would sell new F-16s to Taiwan:

US Republican Mitt Romney's campaign adviser Aaron Friedberg said at a China policy debate with Obama's adviser at John Hopkins University in Washington yesterday that Romney supports the US sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.

Of course, President Bush offered to sell F-16s to Taiwan, too, over a decade ago. By the time Taiwan wanted to buy them, President Obama wasn't selling.

Will Taiwan agree to spend the money for new fighter planes?

Have no doubt that Taiwan needs the planes and that we need Taiwan to have the planes.

UPDATE: Thanks to Mad Minerva for the link.

UPDATE: Thanks to The View from Taiwan for the link. I'd like to say that this was simply a post to remind the Taiwanese to buy when the offer is out there and not to wait until Chinese pressure can get the offer cancelled. Yes, Bush did turn down a Taiwanese request for new F-16s near the end of his presidency. But the reason given for turning down the request was that previous years of Taiwanese political arguments over defense purchases led President Bush to be wary of accepting a request absent indications that Taiwan's government would appropriate the money to buy them.

While President Obama certainly "continued" the failure to sell new F-16s from the Bush era, the excuse of Taiwan not being serious about spending the money didn't seem like the issue. Indeed, the Obama administration was reassured by the Taiwanese that they were serious about wanting to buy new planes. In the end, the Taiwanese considered upgrades to the old F-16s a mere consolation prize.

This isn't a rewrite of history. It wasn't complete, I'll admit. But I don't think I mis-represented anything. This post is a cautionary tale of matching buyer and seller rather than a full history of US arms sales to Taiwan. Get that here, if you'd like.

This wasn't an anti-Obama post. Most of my posts have nothing to do with President Obama, truth be told. I don't think I can be fairly accused of letting anti-Obama views compromise my writing (well, mostly, I suppose). But it's nice to be read, in any case.

UPDATE: Let me note my disdain for Taiwanese bickering over the planes and our failure to sell them during the Bush administration