Wed, Jul 20, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Refusing to aid Taiwan is illogical

By Reuben Johnson

The scenario that would play out if the US decided to turn its back on Taiwan and bar the F-16C/D sale bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the 1930s in Europe: how the West acquiesced to the Third Reich’s claims on Austria and the Sudetenland — all so it could later push on into the rest of Czechslovakia and eventually all of Eastern Europe and part of the Soviet Union. This is a sad chapter in history — large democracies failing to stand up against totalitarian dictatorships for the sake of smaller democratic nations.

Beijing’s endless, mind-numbing claims that “Taiwan belongs to China” bear an uncomfortable parallel to the famous National Socialist Party mantra that “all the German-speaking people belong in the Reich.”

Not surprisingly — and given their historical familiarity with what happens when dictatorships continue to expand unchecked — the Poles I spoke with when I was in Warsaw this month have no problems drawing the same conclusion.

As far as Taiwan is concerned, they say: “Look at what time is it in history. At this point, 1939 seems not far away for Taipei and all Obama is doing is making a good job of imitating former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain.”

The past century is full of examples of how the failure to head off smaller, territorial conflicts precipitated calamitous outcomes — World War II being the most severe. Standing up for Taiwan’s defense now and authorizing the F-16C/D sale is not just about saving 23 million Taiwanese: It is about laying down a marker that could prevent a far wider and devastating conflict with Taiwan’s communist neighbor.

Reuben Johnson is an aerospace and defence technology writer based in Kiev, Ukraine, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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