Polemics & Exchanges

On Helping Taiwan

In his article “Out on a Limb: America’s Pledge to Defend Taiwan” (Vital Signs, December), Ted Galen Carpenter does not discuss whether it is in America’s national interest for Taiwan to fall under the control of the Beijing regime.  Instead, he argues that our Asian allies may not support our defense of the island.  To Carpenter, this makes the situation so “perilous” that the United States should cut and run before anything happens.

The successful military conquest of Taiwan by China would send shock waves through Asia.  Taiwan is a prosperous democratic country that has been governing herself for over half a century.  She sits across strategic sea-lanes, and her offshore economic zone encompasses potentially rich oil and mineral deposits.  She is the center of global computer-chip manufacturing.

Carpenter works for the libertarian Cato Institute, a group that purports to cherish freedom.  How can he accept the idea of a free people being brought under the heel of an aggressive dictatorship by armed force?  He admits that “younger Taiwanese . . . regard the mainland as an alien place and have little enthusiasm for reunification” but cites this as a justification for Beijing to move quickly to subjugate Taiwan before the spirit of liberty grows any...

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