From the Right



Taiwan Arms for War -- If Deterrence Fails

Austin Bay on

The year is 2002. I'm on a quick trip through Taiwan en route to Singapore to investigate Singapore's responses to 9/11-style Islamist terror. The Straits of Malacca are an international choke point. Osama bin Laden loves icon targets with economic pop and Singapore is a world trade center.

Back in Taiwan: I've met a stringer for a defense news service. Our Taipei host takes us to a naval base where we board a decrepit World War II U.S. Guppy-class submarine Taiwan's navy uses as a training ship.

The sub, once you're inside, is a spit-shined museum. In a compartment with a desk, we meet a Taiwanese senior naval officer. He's a captain, a submarine force captain. He asks me about my visit to Taiwan. I tell him I've seen impressive bunkers, including an air base in eastern Taiwan cut into a mountain and F-16s in a cave beside the highway-runway. Very Switzerland, I said. Told him about a drive I made in the Alps circa 1982.

Now the Asia defense reporter abruptly asks the captain about Taiwanese manufactured subs. The captain demurs. "Hidden Dragon," the reporter says. The captain smiles, shrugs an excellent shrug.

"I'm asking about an indigenous Taiwan submarine," the reporter replies, evenly, no drama.

The captain smiles.


As we left the navy base, walking to the reporter's car, he handed me a black and white photo. From a trade show. The thing's manufactured in Taiwan. Allegedly a key piece of a modern diesel electric sub. "I'm sure they're doing it," he said, meaning pursuing Hidden Dragon, the indigenous sub.

He asked me what I thought. I said, "It appears Taiwan wants options."

I said what I said. But if I'd really been prescient, I'd have said Taiwan needs a reliable weapons supplier not subject to pressure from Beijing. Given the problem of defending against a mainland Chinese attack across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan really needs modern submarines to disrupt and defeat it.

Beijing's communist imperialist government is hellbent on taking Taiwan as it reconstructs an empire -- a Chinese empire built on the dictatorship's desires, not on history, not on law, and definitely not on the desires of human beings living in the lands they wish to conquer and exploit.


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Taylor Jones Steve Kelley Gary Varvel Clay Bennett Gary Markstein Marshall Ramsey