Thursday, September 29, 2005

Chabot on Arms Sale

Congressman Steve Chabot (R, OH) has impeccable pro-Taiwan credentials. Chabot was the co-founder of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus.

During a talk at the Heritage Foundation, Chabot joined the chorus of those inside and outside the US government calling on Taiwan to purchase the arms offered them in 2001.
I want to be very frank with you: I am very disappointed that this special budget has languished
The special arms budget currently consists of eight submarines and 12 sub-hunting aircraft, as the other elements of the sale (eg: Patriot missiles) have been relocated to the annual defense budget. (For more information on the sale and its importance, see this post)

Chabot continued:
If this doesn't move forward in the near future, there are many members of Congress here who may reevaluate their support, the extent of their support to Taiwan.

While I certainly understand Chabot's frustration, I don't think that such comments are helpful. It only reinforces the impression, that I discussed in a previous post on Richard Halloran's article, that America's friendship can be bought one arms contractor at a time. Chabot's speech was certainly the "American version" of the argument I discuss in the Halloran post, but it will certainly be interpretted in accordance with the "Taiwanese version."

I certainly agree with many of Chabot's points, such as:
If Taiwan is strong, it will probably never be militarily tested. If Taiwan is weak, the challenge may come sooner than you think.
Having said that, I don't think this speech is going to help and it will probably hurt America's image in Taiwan and elsewhere.