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Latest US Military Aid to Taiwan is a Dangerous Provocation

By using the drawdown authority that enables rapid arming of a friendly country, Washington is pushing the world towards potential conflict.

The latest military aid to Taiwan is putting the United States on a warpath. It’s not the size of the aid package or the kinds of weapons that are being provided, but the manner in which it is being offered to the island.

It is a direct, deliberate and dangerous provocation. All countries in Asia, perhaps even around the world, really need to question the wisdom or rather blind dogmatism by which Washington is pushing the region if not the world into a global conflagration.

The latest US$345 million military aid package for Taiwan will allow weapons to be taken directly from the US military stockpiles and sent to the island.

But that is only a third of about US$1 billion in military aid to Taiwan as part of the current-year US government budget by citing, for the first time, the drawdown authority of the US president. And since it comes with no-interest loans worth up to US$10 billion, it’s essentially free weapons.

It is, of course, one thing to sell expensive, outdated and delayed-delivery weapons to the island; it’s something else entirely handing them over for free.

It is the same presidential drawdown authority that has been used to provide some of the world’s most advanced weapons to Ukraine to use in its conflict with Russia.

The symbolism is obvious. The US is drawing an explicit moral equivalence – completely false according to many independent analysts and foreign leaders, and presumably even some within the US government – that mainland China is ready to invade Taiwan as if the island is already an independent country under siege.

This US message is especially significant as it has been widely reported that the American stockpiles are running low because of the need to provide weapons urgently to Ukraine. Either those reports, presumably leaked to the press by the Pentagon or the Joe Biden administration, are false or a Chinese invasion is viewed with such urgency that rapid weapon transfers to the island are called for.

After all, the whole idea of the drawdown authority is to enable the US executive branch to arm a friendly country quickly.

Furthermore, for the longer terms, a bipartisan bill working its way through the US Senate and House of Representatives to “expedite and prioritise American military sales to Taiwan; establish regular combined US-Taiwan exercises, training and professional exchanges; and establish a Taiwan Critical Munitions Acquisition Fund.

In a truly Orwellian “War is peace …” fashion, it’s called the “Taiwan Peace Act”.

But Ukraine is not Taiwan; Russia is not China. More importantly, Russia, like the vast majority of nations, formally acknowledges Ukraine as an independent country.

On the other hand, neither mainland China nor Taiwan, nor the majority of nations including the US, acknowledge the island as an independent nation.

Western media and politicians love to repeat this overwrought line that Beijing’s unification plan includes the use of force. But why should China relinquish the use of force – only as a last resort by the way – when some Western allies, led by the US, may fight on the side of the island? International law is silent on the use of force to prevent or enable secession because secessionist struggles are considered to be the internal affairs of sovereign states. It’s not clear why a cross-strait conflict, God forbid a second Chinese civil war, would be any less “civil” or internal than the first one.

By international law, diplomatic recognition, and the constitutions of both the island and the mainland, there is and always has been only “one China”. It’s true the status of the island has to be worked out formally, eventually, and peacefully. The last thing Beijing wants, unlike Moscow, is to lord over a resentful population that, after all, is ethnically Chinese.

Yet, despite professions to the contrary, the United States is helping, now indeed arming, secessionist forces in Taiwan, and encouraging them towards independence. Exactly who is stirring the pot and threatening regional, if not world peace?

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