U.S. Should Sell High-Tech Weapons to Pacific Ally
The war in Ukraine is a stark reminder that dictators take advantage of weakness. President Biden’s threat of economic sanctions clearly failed to prevent Vladimir Putin from invading. Instead, Putin sensed weakness from the President, making his decision to invade easier. The result has been nearly three months of bloodshed, war crimes, and the continued rise of already-high food and gas prices worldwide. These events hold important lessons for Taiwan, another free nation that is facing potential invasion from a hostile neighbor.
Taiwan lies just 100 miles off the coast of China and is frequently subject to Chinese threats. Chinese officials insist that Taiwan belongs to them, and they have openly said they are willing to seize it by force. Indeed, many U.S. military officials expect China to invade Taiwan by 2027. This would be disastrous not only for Taiwan but for regional security and our own economy. Unfortunately, Taiwan is not equipped to repel such an invasion. But America could change that by selling them high-tech weapons, making a military invasion too costly for China to stomach.
I recently raised this need with Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, who leads the Defense Intelligence Agency. He confirmed that Taiwan is taking valuable military lessons from Ukraine and that the U.S. can play an important role in building up Taiwan’s defenses. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am now leading the push for an arms deal with Taiwan to prevent China from launching a new war.
Sell Taiwan Fighter Jets, Missiles, Drones
As a prosperous first-world nation, Taiwan can easily afford the high-end U.S. weapons needed to deter a Chinese invasion. Unfortunately, Taiwan does not spend nearly enough on its own defenses. This will need to change. Taiwan should consider purchasing large amounts of U.S.-made anti-ship missiles, sea mines, aerial drones, and tank-busting drones. They should also upgrade their air and missile defenses with U.S. technology. We are already selling Taiwan F-16 fighter jets, and we should speed up these sales while making older models available sooner. Taiwan can pay for all this by boosting defense spending by $7 billion – a small price to pay to prevent war.
Biden Letting U.S. Navy Fall Behind
Because Taiwan is an island, these weapons would have to be delivered by sea or by air, putting U.S. assets in a highly contested area. Indeed, China now has the world’s largest navy and would like to prevent U.S. ships from entering the region, and especially from arming Taiwan. Making matters worse, the Biden Administration is allowing our Navy to weaken as compared to China. The President’s recent defense budget and 30-year shipbuilding plan would lead to U.S. naval decline, with too few destroyers and amphibious transport ships, which our generals say we need.
At a recent hearing, I challenged Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro over these inadequate shipbuilding plans. A strong U.S. Navy is crucial to supporting our allies and delivering any weapons they may buy from us. As Congress prepares to fund the military, I will be pushing for a major boost to Navy shipbuilding along with the sale of high-tech weapons to Taiwan. This could be pivotal in preventing the next great conflict.
This item is Sen. Roger Wicker’s Weekly Report and is provided by the Senator’s office