Mon, Dec 03, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Ian Easton On Taiwan: Why is Beijing arming to the teeth?

The world of tomorrow will look radically different if the PRC achieves its main external objective. In that event, the door would be wide open to new opportunities for Chinese expansion and conquest. We can only speculate about what might happen under hypothetical conditions. It is certain, however, that bending the arch of history in this direction is Beijing’s aim for the future.

Defeating China in a long-term strategic competition will be a difficult enterprise, requiring a grueling campaign. Enormous time and treasure will have to be dedicated. The American and Taiwanese governments should mobilize their media and civil society. They should execute public relations campaigns to undercut the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party.

Public education will be vital for helping universities, research labs, and corporations understand why they need to do a better job of ensuring that their technology and talent does not help strengthen the Chinese military-industrial complex. Without public understanding and support, no strategy is sustainable for long in a democracy.

Defense analysts should continually assess their country’s strategic position relative to that of their competition. What are the Chinese military’s relative strengths compared to the US and Taiwan? What are its relative weaknesses? How is the balance of power across the Pacific likely to change over time? What new security approaches might be available to Washington and Taipei as they enter into what will be a different and dangerous future? Which strategies and operational capabilities are most likely to forestall a Chinese attack and defeat aggression if it does come?

Immense challenges wait ahead. The People’s Liberation Army has the mission of crushing all threats to the Chinese Communist Party, foreign or domestic. It will fiercely struggle against any attempt to undermine the success of its political overlord.

To prevail, our national security leaders should be ready to take calculated risks, accept setbacks, and learn from mistakes. Keeping the Indo-Pacific free and open will be a team effort, requiring allies and partners like Washington and Taipei to work more closely together to advance shared interests.

China’s rapid military buildup represents a serious threat to peace and stability. In light of the hard and heavy facts before us, action should proceed with the aim of advancing our competitive position.

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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