Large Porcupine

Last October, we reported that it is the Biden administration’s goal to turn Taiwan into a “porcupine” so if China invades, it will be a bloody conflict that drains Chinese resources. (See “U.S. AIMS TO FLOOD TAIWAN WITH WEAPONS TO TURN ISLAND INTO A ‘PORCUPINE’ IF CHINA INVADES,”11 Oct 2022.) 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin addressed a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing last week and said the U.S. will begin using the same drawdown authority that armed Ukraine to the teeth in its fight against Russia for Taiwan, so Taipei could stand up to a Chinese invasion. 

“The United States will soon provide significant additional security assistance to Taiwan,” Austin said. 

The initial package will cost about $500 million and will be pulled from the $1.1 billion in military aid that Congress authorized for its 2023 budget that includes the arms deal for Taipei that includes 60 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. 

Taiwan spent a record $17 billion on its military in 2022 and, in January, its parliament approved $8.6 billion more that will be earmarked for precision missiles and high-efficiency naval ships. 

“Beijing has increased its bullying and provocations in the Indo-Pacific. It’s embarked upon a historic military buildup, including in space and cyberspace,” Austin said. 

China called the weapons support a “very wrong and dangerous move.” 

“The US has continuously strengthened its military ties with the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) authorities, enhanced military ties and substantive relations between the two sides, shaken the foundation of China-US relations and undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Tan Kefei, spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense, told The Asia Times last week. 

TREND FORECAST: Despite these grandstanding visits and vows of support, we forecast that just as Beijing has clamped down on Hong Kong protests and taken full control, so, too, will they take control of Taiwan when they are ready. (See “CHINA: INTERFERE ON TAIWAN AND FACE ‘DANGEROUS’ OUTCOMES” 25 Apr 2023, “U.S. CONTINUES TO INSTIGATE CHINA AFTER WELCOMING TAIWANESE PRESIDENT” 4 Apr 2023, “WWIII: U.S. QUADRUPLES TROOPS IN TAIWAN IN PREPARATION FOR WAR WITH CHINA” 28 Feb 2023 and “U.S. WARSHIP SAILS THROUGH TAIWAN STRAIT, CHINESE FORCES PUT ON ALERT” 10 Jan 2023.) 

The island would not stand a chance in a direct conflict with China. Beijing spends about 25 times the amount Taipei does on its defenses. China also has a hundred times as many ground-force troops as the island. 

Biden has stumbled on a few occasions and said the U.S. would fight for the island, only for the White House to clarify that there has been no change in policy and insisted that the U.S. remains guided by the Taiwan Relations Act for 1979.  

The act states that Washington is committed to providing Taipei with arms for its defense. It is under the act that the U.S. described its relationship as that of “strategic ambiguity.” The act is loosely translated to mean that Washington can provide weapons, but is not promising to fight. 

TRENDPOST: Asking for more money to enrich the military, Lloyd Austin told Congress last week that “We will absolutely need to have the appropriations to replace those things which we provide. We won’t hesitate to come forward and ask for what we need to make sure that we maintain our stocks.” 

This is the same Austin, who before becoming Defense Secretary in the Biden Cabinet, “earned the bulk of his fortune”—according to Forbes estimated at $7 million—“serving on boards in retirement.” And that included “United Technologies Corporation, a $56 billion (sales) conglomerate with a presence in the aerospace and building industries.”  United Technologies merged with Raytheon, a massive defense contractor.

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