U.S. military arms sales to Taiwan : deterrent or provocation
Cox, Kevin Austin.
Miller, H. Lyman
Olsen, Edward A.
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A decision by leaders to initiate or join a civil war is fundamentally a political decision, as is the decision to continue fighting in one. Since the processes by which wars are generally fought are highly influenced by political choices, the United States' decisions to sell military arms to Taiwan have been a major factor in deterring the PRC from attacking the ROC on Taiwan. Thus, the U.S. goal as defined in section 2b of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) of a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue may be furthered by significantly increasing the economic, military and political cost of reunification by any means other than a peaceful resolution. Consequently, in the post-Cold War environment, the U.S.-ROC relationship has changed very little. In spite of the vast amount of weaponry purchased from the U.S., ROC armed forces do not possess the military hardware required to endure a long-term (more than 90 days) military engagement with the PRC without U.S. intervention. Although arms sales have increasingly been used for political purposes, as well as military ones, experience suggests that such sales are no substitute for solid diplomacy and policy- making with friends as well as foes. Finally, the United States has a strong interest in encouraging both sides to re-energize the political and diplomatic aspects of their relationship and de-emphasize the military dimension.
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