Mon, Oct 22, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Ian Easton On Taiwan: Frightful questions about China

Five, what does China’s military buildup mean for the United States and its quasi-alliance partner, Taiwan? How should policymakers in Washington and Taipei assess their military power relative to that of their rivals in Beijing? Where is the Chinese military relatively strong? Where is it relatively weak? How is the balance of forces across the Taiwan Strait likely to change over time?

Six, what security approaches are available to the United States and the Republic of China (Taiwan) as they enter into what could be a very different and dangerous future? Which strategies and operational capabilities are most likely to forestall a Chinese attack on Taiwan, and defeat aggression if it does come?

It must be recognized that few, if any, definite answers are open to us. In many cases the information we have is lacking, insufficient, or contradictory. Our knowledge gaps are considerable. A significant and growing number of media reports are the product of Chinese disinformation, propaganda, and political warfare operations. These reports muddy the waters, making it difficult to judge what is true and what is false. Moreover, even with perfect information, no one can see the future and accurately predict what is coming.

It is vital that like-minded democracies regularly exchange ideas and information at the highest levels. The leaders of the United States and Taiwan, in particular, should share their views with each other as they strive to forge future strategy.

If the lights of the free world are going to prevail against the authoritarian darkness spreading out from Beijing, a certain mental courage and elasticity of thought must be cultivated and applied to our long-term strategic challenge.

The first step is establishing an appreciation for the China problem that confronts us.

Ian Easton is a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute and author of The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia (中共攻台大解密).

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