Opinion: Is Taiwan worth it to America?


Haoran Li is a junior communications studies major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. He can be reached at [email protected].

Haoran Li

Taiwan’s university students finished their protest days ago during which they occupied Legislative Yuan, the unicameral legislature of Taiwan, for not including Taiwan in the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement because they were afraid mainland China’s economy would overtake their businesses and jobs.

I am not going to talk more about whether their protest has disobeyed laws, as it was a violent behavior without a doubt. However, there is an in-depth problem between China and America that Taiwan reflects.

Taiwan is a politically controversial area, whose government was defeated during the Chinese Civil War in 1949. During the 1930s and 1940s, the U.S. government supported Taiwan’s nationalist government. At the end of the Chinese Civil War, the U.S government decided to abandon Taiwan because it had little value for America in Asia for balancing powers.

Once the Nationalist were out of the picture, the United States could establish formal diplomatic relations with Beijing and move ahead with its plans to woo China away from the Soviet Union.

However, because of the Korean War, President Harry Truman adjusted his strategy to dispatch the No. 7 fleet to the Taiwan Strait to protect Taiwan in order to restrain North Korea if they conquered the whole Korean Peninsula. Since then, Taiwan became an important partner for America in containing both Communist China and Communist Korea.

It is obvious that the U.S. government’s support of Taiwan was not because of so-called protecting the value of democracy. Instead, Taiwan was a government of dictatorship under Chiang Kai-shek when America supported him at that time.

After 1972, America built rapport with main land China, excluding the Soviet Union, and it was moving away from Taiwan gradually, as the country was still a dictatorial government ruled by Chiang Ching-kuo who was the son of Chiang Kai-shek.

Taiwan became a democratic area after the death of Chiang Ching-kuo in 1990s. The democracy was not the initiative for America government to help Taiwan, but rather that the American government could benefit more from it than its cost.

However, does the return of investment on Taiwan still persist for the American government? It seems not.

China is determined to get Taiwan just like it is determined to help the North Korean people, in which China lost about 180,000 soldiers.

Then, China’s comprehensive power will match America’s within ten years. At that time, it will be more difficult for America to maintain Taiwan, and it will cost more than it can gain for America to protect Taiwan. China can push people as many as it can and use high-end military weapons. How much can America get from the war with China just for protecting Taiwan? Moreover, does America’s finance and economy allow it to protect Taiwan?

Comparing with the more important Japan, it is better to put most of America’s military power to protect Japan instead of separating power where can neither protect Taiwan nor Japan, and then lose Asia.