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Military-Industrial Complex Running the Rearmament of Taiwan

Oct. 31, 2020 (EIRNS)—In an article first posted in the Grayzone on Oct. 28, investigative reporter Gareth Porter reports that U.S. policy on Taiwan is being controlled at the Pentagon by a neo-conservative ideologue who is essentially a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin and other weapons makers and for the government of Taiwan. “When the United States finalized a set of seven arms sales packages to Taiwan in August, including 66 upgraded F-16 fighter planes and longer-range air-to-ground missiles that could hit sensitive targets on mainland China, it shifted U.S. policy sharply toward a much more aggressive stance on the geo-strategic island at the heart of military tensions between the United States and China,” Porter writes. That deal “was engineered by Randall Schriver, a veteran pro-Taiwan activist and anti-China hardliner whose think tank had been financed by America’s biggest arms contractors and by the Taiwan government itself.”

Schriver comes out of two outfits that are supported by the arms industry and lobby for treating Taiwan like an independent state whose sovereignty America must defend. The first of those is a consulting firm founded by former Pentagon and State Department official Richard Armitage called Armitage International. Schriver has a long association with Armitage and as a member of his firm he “was paid consulting fees by two major arms contractors—Boeing and Raytheon—both of which hoped to obtain arms sales to Taiwan and other East Asian allies to compensate for declining profits from Pentagon contracts.”

The second is The Project 2049 Institute, a think-tank established in 2008 with which Armitage has also been associated. “From its inception, The Project 2049 Institute focused primarily on U.S. military cooperation with Northeast Asian allies—and Taiwan in particular—with an emphasis on selling them more and better U.S. arms,” Porter writes. “Schriver, known as the Taiwan government’s main ally in Washington, became the key interlocutor for major U.S. arms makers looking to cash in potential markets in Taiwan. He was able to solicit financial support for the institute from Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, BAE and Raytheon, according to Project 2049’s internet site.” The Project 2049 Institute also depends heavily on grants from the Taiwan government.

Schriver came into the Pentagon at the beginning of 2018 (while Gen. James Mattis was Secretary of Defense) and “spent 2018 and the first half of 2019 moving proposals for several major arms sales to Taiwan—including the new F-16s and the air-to-ground missiles capable of hitting sensitive targets in China—through inter-agency consultations.” The deals, however, were apparently delayed while Trump sought a trade agreement with Beijing. When they went through, however, the deals “represented a signal victory for those who still hoped to reverse the official U.S. acceptance of the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate government of all of China.” Porter then gives a thumbnail sketch of this group going back to Project for a New American Century operation in 1999, the same group that went into the Bush Administration in 2001 and lied the U.S. into the Iraq War in 2003.

“The triumph of corporate and foreign interests in determining one of the most consequential U.S. decisions regarding China is likely to bedevil U.S. policy for years to come,” Porter concludes. “At a moment when the Pentagon is pushing a rearmament program based mainly on preparation for war with China, an influential former official backed by the arms industry and Taiwanese money has helped set the stage for a potentially catastrophic confrontation.”

Might the recent efforts by the Pentagon to try to dial back U.S.-China military tensions be a move against Schriver and the interests behind him?

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