In From The Cold pointed me to this most excellent article in the Asian edition of the Wall St. Journal:
By ED ROSS
During the eight-year tenure of former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian, political infighting between the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the opposition Kuomintang stalled the funding for these weapons purchases. At the same time, Mr. Chen’s independence-leaning policies angered China’s leaders. Washington was displeased by Mr. Chen’s inability to push through the arms purchases, and because his actions and outspokenness interfered with improving U.S.-China relations.
The damage those eight years did to U.S.-Taiwan relations was considerable. Taiwan’s relative air, missile defense and antisubmarine warfare capabilities fell further behind as important Taiwan military acquisitions were postponed. China, however, purchased advanced weapons from the Soviet Union and increased funding for its own military research and development programs.
The media and the chosen one have all but ignored the drama in the Taiwan straight.
Taiwan has gone back and fourth between independence and detente with China. China considers Taiwan a part of China. Taiwan’s people are divided. They want democracy, but many remember why they fled to the island in the first place. Taiwan is a new democracy, but it’s a democracy nonetheless. China is a brutal communist regime, where they kill political dissidents and bill the family for the bullet.
It’s like when a woman tries to leave an abusive boyfriend. They talk about leaving, think about breaking up. Then the boyfriend puts a hole in her tires (with a gun) and stuffs her cat in the mailbox. China has tested missiles right off of the coast of Taiwan. They placed hundreds of military aircraft, missiles and ships in the straight. They passed a law saying that they would invade the island if:
* if events occur leading to the separation of Taiwan from China in any name, or
* if a major event occurs which would lead to Taiwan’s separation from China, or
* if all possibility of peaceful unification is lost.
China has many aircraft, missiles and ships it would use to break Taiwan. They need advanced hardware to hold the line. The time to act is now. During the Falklands war, President Ronald Regan support Great Britain over Argentina. He said that American supports democracy over a dictatorship. President Bush and his successor should do the same.