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Article Proposes Stationing U.S. Forces in Taiwan, Prepare for War

Sept. 25, 2020 (EIRNS)—The People’s Republic of China is increasingly likely to use force for re-unifying Taiwan with the mainland as tensions between the U.S. and China worsen. At least, that is the underlying axiomatic basis of an article entitled “Deterring the Dragon: Returning U.S. Forces to Taiwan” published in the September-October issue of Military Review, the professional journal of the U.S. Army. Its author, Marine Corps Capt. Walker D. Mills, proposes that the only way to prevent China from entering on such a path is to return U.S. forces to Taiwan, from which they left in 1979 following the normalization of U.S.-China relations. In fact, as noted by several articles in the Chinese press, such a move would virtually guarantee that China would defend its sovereignty by immediately reunifying Taiwan with the mainland by force.

Mills goes into great detail on how the Chinese PLA has shifted the balance of power in the Western Pacific in its favor since the 1996 Taiwan Straits crisis, but his thesis is summarized in the conclusion of his article. “The United States needs to consider basing ground forces in Taiwan if it is committed to defending Taiwanese sovereignty,” he writes. Mills claims that the change in the military balance of power

“make[s] the possibility of a surprise, or fait accompli, attack on Taiwan more likely. If PLA forces can prevent U.S. forces from responding reflexively or immediately to PLA aggression, the United States will either accede to a quick PLA victory in a Taiwanese-mainland China conflict, or be forced to wage a long, costly campaign to reestablish access to Taiwan with a far from certain outcome....”

“U.S. ground forces in Taiwan, particularly combat credible, heavy forces could not only go far in repelling a PLA cross-strait operation but also serve as a tripwire that would inevitably trigger a wider conflict not acceptable to China,” Mills goes on. He says that the presence of such a U.S. force would be a message to the world of the level of commitment of the U.S. to Taiwan. “These forces would also be able to train with Taiwanese forces and make it easier for follow-on U.S. forces to flow into Taiwan in the event of a conflict. If the United States is serious about Taiwanese defense, then it needs forces in Taiwan,” Mills concludes. “Without U.S. forces in Taiwan, it is increasingly likely that China will attempt to integrate Taiwan into its republic by force. If current trends continue as projected and the United States does not increase its presence U.S. deterrence will continue to erode, paradoxically increasing the risk of conflict.”

Mills’ article is part of a package of about half-a-dozen articles published in Military Review. Preliminary examination of the whole package reveals it to flow from the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which labels China—and Russia—as strategic adversaries of the United States. It quotes then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis to the effect that China’s “malign influence” and its “predatory economic policies” must be countered. The entire package can be found here:

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