Strategika Issue 73 is now available online. Strategika is an online journal that analyzes ongoing issues of national security in light of conflicts of the past—the efforts of the Military History Working Group of historians, analysts, and military personnel focusing on military history and contemporary conflict.
In retrospect, the Reagan Administration made one of its very rare foreign policy errors when it forced Taiwan to abandon its nuclear weapons program in 1988. If Taiwan today had the capacity to threaten devastating retaliation against Beijing for an invasion, we would not even be having this debate.
Taiwan is a problem. It is a problem for China, and that makes it a problem for the United States and for what used to be called “the Free World.” There are two reasons for this. The first is geopolitical; the second is technological, economic, and strategic.
There appear real moral reasons why the United States should do everything it can to protect the independent state of Taiwan diplomatically, politically, and militarily as long as the People’s Republic of China represents a direct threat to American interests directly and globally.
Taiwan has enjoyed the protection of the U.S. defensive umbrella ever since the fall of Nationalist China to Mao’s Communists in 1949. Although the United States ended its mutual defense treaty with Taiwan in 1979, it has continued to deter China from invading Taiwan by selling arms to Taiwan and maintaining the specter of military intervention.