A rare occurrence has taken place since the midterm elections; a rare occurrence, indeed. Both sides of the aisle are now adamantly aware —and in agreement —that China is a threat. It’s not just poor Marco Rubio out there anymore screaming at the top of his lungs.
Plus, ya know, spy balloons (even though the expansion has been planned for months.)
The Pentagon is planning to deploy the largest troop bump in decades —quadrupling the current crew that’s there now. It will also expand training programs on tactics and weapons programs to better protect Taipei from a Chinese invasion.
It’s a big deal that the U.S. Military is trying to play off as “not so” due to the fact that any tinkering in Taiwan could provoke China, inadvertently triggering a military conflict.
“One of the difficult things to determine is what really is objectionable to China,” said one of the U.S. officials about the training. “We don’t think at the levels that we’re engaged in and are likely to remain engaged in the near future that we are anywhere close to a tipping point for China, but that’s a question that is constantly being evaluated and looked at specifically with every decision involving support to Taiwan.”
But the training is necessary as China has been stepping up drills and maneuvers.
“China’s People’s Liberation Army is increasingly engaging in aggressive maneuvers, sending planes and ships near Taiwan. Following Russia’s full-on invasion of Ukraine last year, the Pentagon has redoubled efforts to get Taiwan to adopt what some military specialists call a ‘porcupine’ strategy, focusing on tactics and weapons systems that would make the island harder to assault,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the WSJ, a spokesman at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which is responsible for U.S. military operations in the Asia-Pacific, declined to comment. The White House and the Pentagon declined to comment about the additional forces.
“We don’t have a comment on specific operations, engagements, or training, but I would highlight that our support for, and defense relationship with, Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China,” Army Lt. Col. Marty Meiners, a Pentagon spokesman said. “Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region.”
It sounds like members of the military and members of Congress are saying the right things when it comes to the China threat —but is President Biden capable of playing hardball when the time comes?