Thu, Sep 27, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Mini-Marshall Plan to retain allies

By Joseph Bosco

Washington, uniquely, is on somewhat higher moral ground to make the case for perseverance. Its termination of official diplomatic and military relations with Taiwan in 1979 was quickly followed by passage of the Taiwan Relations Act establishing strong quasi-official political and security relations.

The US’ provision of defensive arms and rhetorical support has ensured Taiwan’s survival as a de facto independent state in the face of ongoing Chinese threats.

Still, fairness and economic reality require more from Washington than blunt threats of retaliation.

It should collaborate with Canada and Mexico — its Western Hemisphere neighbors — and with Japan, Singapore and South Korea — Taiwan’s neighbors — to put together an economic development package to offset at least in part the monetary and employment rewards the 16 states would have garnered as the bounty for abandoning moral principles.

Such a mini-Marshall Plan would fortify the small states that have suddenly found themselves on the front line of a new phase of the Cold War China has declared on Western ideals and institutions.

It might even encourage some of the recent defecting states to return to the fold in support of a fellow democracy. That would be good for their moral — and possibly financial — health, good for Taiwan and good for the democratic world.

Joseph Bosco served as China country director in the office of the US secretary of defense and taught a graduate seminar on US-China-Taiwan relations at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He is a fellow at the Institute for Taiwan-American Studies.

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