Biden isn’t the Only One

On the matter of the Republic of China’s ability to defeat a People’s Republic of China invasion, Progressive-Democrat President Joe Biden isn’t the only US President who’s been terrified of offending the PRC too badly. The RoC has long sought to buy offensive, and long-range weapons from the US, even concluding some deals that a variety of US administrations have failed to deliver on. Instead, in the main,

[f]or more than a decade, US officials have encouraged Taiwan to invest in small, relatively cheap weapons such as shoulder-fired missiles, drones, and sea mines. The goal would be to bring a Chinese amphibious invasion force to a halt at close range with thousands of small strikes.
Such asymmetrical warfare is a favorite tactic of guerrillas and weaker nations facing big rivals.

I-Chung Lai, an ex-government foreign-affairs official, has the right of it:

The asymmetrical approach advocated by some people would put the whole of Taiwan into a meat grinder[.]

Defensive weaponry optimized for asymmetrical warfare are, indeed, critical items for a small nation’s ability to defend against a large nation’s invasion.

But. But, but, but. Defense only permanently surrenders the tactical and strategic initiative and is ultimate defeat. A much better defense is a strong offense. The RoC needs those far reaching and offensive weapons in order to have a serious chance of defeating—not merely resisting—a PRC invasion, and to do so without turning the fight into a bloody morass that bleeds the Republic dry while only injuring the invader.

The RoC desperately needs those offensive weapons as well as the defensive ones, and the Biden administration has an excellent opportunity to learn the lessons of Ukraine and kowtowing to Putin’s threats by slow-walking and outright withholding the long-range and offensive weapons Ukraine has needed for the last 2+ years. The Biden administration needs to put an end to the pattern of multiple administrations kowtowing to the PRC’s threats and send to the RoC the long-range and offensive weapons, along with the defensive weapons. it needs actually to defeat a PRC invasion attempt.

There is legitimate concern that the RoC can’t afford both the offensive and defensive weapons, or the offensive weapons in useful numbers. That’s what lend-lease programs and outright loans are for.

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