Leer en Español
The United States assessed its defense policy in the wake of the growing threat from China. Despite constant allegations of human rights violations and bad trade practices, the Asian giant has become the main opponent of America and its allies in the region, especially Taiwan, which is one of the main targets of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In that regard, the Senate Armed Services Committee heard from Admiral Philip S. Davidson, head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, as part of the review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2022 and the Future Years Defense Program.
Davidson asked the Senate for an increase in the 2022 budget to strengthen the presence and effectiveness of the U.S. Navy in the Indo-Pacific region to deter the potential attack of American allies, primarily the invasion of Taiwan by China.
The commitment of American institutions to their allies in Asia was reassessed by Davidson, who has led the more than 170,000 Navy personnel active in the region.
America’s hegemony translates into an endorsement of democratic values that guarantee freedom and transparency in international relations, international trade, and human rights protections.
In contrast, Asia’s less democratic nations have a greater affinity with Beijing, as is the case with Myanmar and the new dictatorship that has taken over the country. The stability of the Asia Pacific region depends critically on the role the United States plays in containing the advance of regimes such as the CCP.
China has compelling goals to lead in trade and foreign policy in the coming years. In addition to analyses suggesting that Beijing would surpass America as an economic power by 2035, Admiral Davidson said he is “concerned that China is accelerating its ambitions to supplant the United States in our leadership role in the international rules-based international order.”
With China’s growing leadership, in addition to nationalist values, dictatorships at Beijing’s end have gained momentum. Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and North Korea have revitalized their political power through alliances with the CCP, mainly in infrastructure development and mineral exploitation.
The free and open Indo-Pacific is crucial to trade and democracies like Taiwan. Davidson was precise in expressing his support for the Taiwan Relations Act and stressed the importance of strengthening support for Taipei.
Taiwan’s geostrategic relevance and Japan’s security are at stake, according to Davidson. American hegemony depends on Washington’s ability to defend its allies against the CCP.
America’s leadership has allowed Asia’s democratic nations to prosper at an astonishing rate. South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are technological powerhouses that are critical to America’s economic future. America’s steadfastness with its Indo-Pacific allies also enables it to secure key supporters such as India and Australia, members of the so-called Quad.
More freedom for Taiwan
Taiwan is restricted by the fact that the United Nations does not recognize it. Arms sales, free trade agreements and nuclear programs are limited for the island.
The CCP has an active agenda in restraining nations from moving forward on Taiwan’s company’s relevant issues. For example, China issues statements protesting against the United States when Washington approves an arms sale.
Accordingly, Davidson was positive about the dialogues being advanced by members of the Senate such as Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who introduced a Taiwan Invasion Prevention bill to end the strategic ambiguity.
Such ambiguity refers to the policies Washington has been pursuing with Beijing and Taipei since 1979. While America recognizes the People’s Republic of China, it has a robust agenda with Taiwan but stops short of recognizing its independence.
Davidson added that, in the face of an invasion by the Communist Army, Taiwan “would need continued U.S. support” and to that extent urged the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris Administration to continue selling military equipment to Taipei.
Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán