of the Third Cold War. Or something like that. To put matters bluntly, with so much at stake between the U.S. and China, and so many reasons that both countries have for encouraging peaceful development across the board… why should we stick our necks out for the Taiwanese, considering that the Chinese have legitimate (and, truly, crucial) geopolitical interests in securing their energy conduits in the region, if the the Taiwanese continue to fail to take steps to defend themselves?
I won’t be the first one to say it… but US promises are the reason that most of our allies in NATO don’t have militaries worth spitting at. (Which is a pity, because some of the continentals, like the French, have great soldiers… who are then consistently backstabbed by their own people.) Why should they, when Uncle Sugar will foot the defense bill, and arms money can go to buying votes with social spending, instead?
Bush has already made some noises in this direction, but he needs to make it absolutely clear that we’re not going to WWIV on behalf of those who won’t pull their weight. If the Koreans think we’re less palatable than Pyongyang… let’s go. If Taiwan won’t defend itself, let it suffer the consequences. Let the Germans mewl all they want about the evils of American Cowboyism when the only troops we have near their soil are a Stryker brigade and some folks hanging out with the (still-testicularly-equipped) Poles.
Above all, let’s stand back long enough for everybody to come back to grips with reality, rather than subsidizing infantilized regimes that won’t take responsibility for their own survival.