The tiny nation of Taiwan finds itself in a precarious position. The Biden administration’s arms sales policy makes it impossible for US business groups to sell them arms and does nothing to address the problems being raised by China in regards to their safety. Previous administrations had pushed the country to become impervious to attacks and encouraged their purchase of mobile, inexpensive, and tough weapons systems.
By contrast, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan and the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council wrote a letter dated May 16th to senior US defense officials that the Biden administration was being ultimately more restrictive. They claim that under his policies they only are allowing for the sales of weapons that address a massive invasion. This leaves a lot of grey areas for interpretation, and not enough clear answers.
One massive grey spot is Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). Given how close and how quickly China is sending in ships to launch planes at the island, they are simply exhausting their forces and playing a cat and mouse game. A game that Taiwan is incapable of being on the same page as. The groups attempting to fill these gaps, and behind the letter includes US defense contractors among their members.
The group goes on to say, “Far from accelerating Taiwan’s deterrent capabilities, we fear that the envisaged ‘asymmetric’ focus for Taiwan security assistance will result in policy confusion and a substantial slowing of overall arms sales.” This delay isn’t just detrimental to the US defense economy, but it also strikes a massive blow to the defensive capabilities of Taiwan. They have been reliant on US supplies for years, and without them, they become sitting ducks awaiting a bigger Chinese attack.
In turn, Taiwan is unable to even place requests for things like the MH-60R helicopter, simply because they are worried it won’t fit Biden’s criteria. Earlier in the month, they were forced to scrap their plans to buy 12 of the helicopters because they claimed that they were simply too expensive. While nothing more than an attempt to save face, it boils down to Biden not allowing US defense contractors to provide them the resources and support previous administrations have given the tiny nation.
Given the uptick in aggression by the Chinese, it seems as if Biden is more of a spinless weasel than President Obama was. At least he tried to go out and make the right moves to protect allies. Biden on the other hand is ready to let them hang out to dry, and the US State Department is fully supporting his policies. In response to the letter, they said “Continuing to pursue systems that will not meaningfully contribute to an effective defense strategy is inconsistent with the evolving security threat that Taiwan faces.”
Given the lack of action seen by China in decades there is no exact formula for what Taiwan should expect if attacked, nor do they know what they will need until they need it. Given the manufacturing impact the nation has on the US, it would be most advantageous to ensure they are properly outfitted for any potential attack. Especially if they are willing to foot the bill, and it’s not being handed over as a donation.
Yes, China is a country the US still have trade agreements with, and yet they own a sizeable chunk of US debt. However, instead of worrying about them calling the debt or cutting us off Biden should be doing what the US is known for and defending Taiwan. Simply making them a proper ally and ensuring they have the support of the US defense contractors to defend themselves is just good business. This Mickey Mouse game of President Biden and his collection of flunkies dictating what Taiwan needs is nothing short of insulting.