Long-time senior US diplomat to Taiwan (technically not an ambassador) William Stanton lashed Taiwan in comments over the weekend, insisting their defense spending cuts left it vulnerable to Chinese attack.
The cuts themselves were part of Taiwan’s effort to shift from a permanent war footing toward mainland China, transitioning to a smaller, all-volunteer force and trying to improve relations with the Chinese government.
China’s given no indication it is about the come rushing across the strait and try to annex the island. Rather the comments from the all-but-official US source are part of an ongoing trend of faulting anybody whose military spending is on the decline.
Last month, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta blasted NATO member nations for “irresponsible” cuts to spending despite those nations facing budget crises and having little choice but to pare away some of the excesses. Other officials have suggested NATO membership obliges nations to spend a large portion of their GDP on defense, whether they face any conceivable wars or not.
The push for bigger budgets has been de facto US policy the world over, with officials making regular pilgrimages to oil-rich state-lets along the Gulf coast to scaremonger about Iran and sell pricy warplanes for an air war no one thinks is coming.
It isn’t hard to see why: the US isn’t just the largest military spending on the planet by far, it is also the world’s largest arms exporter. For well-connected arms makers, keeping the world nervous and spending on new weaponry is just good business, and so the nations that suddenly try to waste a little less money face a quick rebuke from the administration, which has openly promised to see America’s arms export industry grow.
2 thoughts on “Taiwan the Latest Nation to Spark US Ire for Cutting Military Spending”
What the hell is Stanton saying? Taiwan is part of China. Ever since the Shanghai Communique, the U.S. has acknowledged that. Instead, the question always was, when would the two be reunited peacefully. Yet, since then, U.S. has played a delaying game of keeping Taiwan armed and its leadership sufficiently motivated to avoid joining with the Mainland, while at the same time discouraging a full fledged independence movement. However, by now the two have moved much closer, and it makes sense, since they have become more and more united through trade and investment links, apart from their shared political, and cultural history. Keeping Taiwan armed and separate from the PRC, and antagonistic to it as part of the U.S. Asia pivot policy policy won't work, so tough luck.
Moreover, there is another issue which enters into the equation, namely, U.S. support of Japan's efforts to control the Daiyou/Senkaku Islands, even though the U.S. may have refrained from taking a formal public position on the issue of "sovereignty" over the islands, and that is not something that sits well with the Taiwanese. If AIT Director Stanton doesn't understand that, or hasn't advised his bosses of it, then something is wrong with him. If he has, then something is wrong with the Administration- but we knew that when they announced its Asian "pivot". (Sounds like a second rate basketball move, with the smaller big man a little clumsy on the floor.)
All politics are local. The MIC keeps millions employed, and those millions help to elect politicians who will protect their profit and livelihood. In order to justify these expenditures, an external threat must always be present. As the nation is tiring of the wasteful and futile wars against Islam, the China 'pivot' had to be created to avoid disruption in the flow of the gravy train. Any sign of our "allies" in the region not taking the "China threat" as seriously as we do would significantly undermine our own justifications for expanding our military presence in the area, so it simply must be nipped in the bud.
No one wants war, not even the MIC, but the latter wants the potential for war to be as great and permanent as possible, like an alcoholic who would do everything to keep drinking without getting caught driving drunk or crashing into a tree. Having a lot of drinking buddies helps to make the addiction seem acceptable or even necessary, while thinning out of the ranks would create sobering doubts. As the head drunk of the planet who also owns the bar, we just can't tolerate any of that!
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