China has yet to put its full power behind attempting to halt an arms sale but

China has yet to put its full power behind attempting

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weaponry or military technology to Taiwan by any country in any form or using any excuse.” China has yet to put its full power behind attempting to halt an arms sale, but that may change as China begins to flex its newfound muscles. The question is: why combine these sales into one larger package that is so much more likely to provoke a stronger Chinese response? Adopting salami tactics would have meant splitting up the sales into multiple transactions announced and delivered separately, bringing the price tag for each well below $1 billion. There is simply no need to treat as one package a set of unrelated weapon systems. Indeed, there is no need to sell large numbers of the same weapon system all at once. Salami tactics can help to avoid a crisis in which China learns of an impending arms deal and declares a red line against it . China would find it difficult to threaten war over the sale of a few surface-to- air missiles or a single frigate , especially after tolerating a similar delivery only months beforehand. How could such a large threat be credible for such a small infraction? Rather than declare a red line it cannot enforce over yet another modest and ordinary sale, China would more likely opt not to set one at all. Just as important as avoiding large arms packages is avoiding long periods without any arms sales. A prolonged suspension of arms sales , even one that begins for reasons other than assuaging China, will gradually solidify into a precedent . Once a no-sales precedent is in place, then even a small sale after ten years of none will become more provocative than it would be today . China might seriously consider accepting grave risks to uphold a new status quo of zero arms sales to Taiwan. Taiwan will sometimes need to quietly agree to larger multi-year deals so that U.S. arms manufacturers know, for instance, to keep a particular production line open. However, when this proves unavoidable, the United States can still announce and deliver these sales in increments. Because China would find it difficult to threaten to go to war in response to rumors or media reports of private U.S.-Taiwan arrangements, China is far more likely to make any red lines contingent on announcements or, more likely, actual deliveries. In short, to adopt salami tactics would mean
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choosing strategic benefits over administrative and commercial inconveniences. The key to the salami tactics approach is avoiding any single act that so harms Chinese interests – as defined by Beijing – that China would seriously consider using or threatening force to prevent it. Right now, U.S. policy draws too heavily on the arms package approach and consequently risks just that. Opportunities to prevent serious crises without sacrificing the national interest do not come along often. It is vital to take advantage of them.
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Incrementalism Solves It solves and enables the US to monitor the PRCs intentions in real-time Eric Gomez is a policy analyst in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute 2016 A Costly Commitment: Options for the Future of the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Relationship September 28, 2016 -
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