The White House announced that once again, the United States would be reevaluating its defense partnership with the Republic of China on Taiwan. The administration decided last month that the arms package it would be selling to Taipei would be sorely reduced; the Pentagon has chosen not to sell Taiwan 66 late-model F-16 aircraft, a deal potentially valued at over $8 billion, after years of debate over whether to supply the free Chinese island with advanced strike aircraft to upgrade its aging air force. Instead, administration and congressional officials said the new arms package will include weapons and equipment to upgrade its existing F-16 jets, worth about $4.2 billion.
The Obama administration turned down the request from both Taipei and congressional Republicans; supporters of the sale say that the new F-16s, produced by Lockheed Martin, are needed to bolster Taiwan’s defenses against communist China’s growing air power and to produce jobs for the U.S. aerospace industry (a blatant example of Military Keynesianism at play — the belief that government-manufactured and taxpayer-funded defense commodities are somehow a feasible, economically-sound, and constitutional means of creating and sustaining jobs).
Red China and the Obama Administration
Experts believe that the primary reason why the Obama administration refused to sell Taiwan the new F-16s is its desire to improve relations with communist China. Rather than viewing China’s growth as a threat to American interests, Obama stated on January 19, 2011 (at a White House press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao), “We welcome China’s rise. I absolutely believe that China's peaceful rise is good for the world, and it's good for America,” arguing that the country’s economic progress benefits the United States and opens the door to greater international stability and humanitarian progress.
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Photos: Aircraft insignia of the Republic of China (Taiwan).