With America's primary season in full swing, it is easy to overlook another important election that will be taking place soon. Taiwan, a democracy, will elect its next president on March 18. China, despotism, is no stranger to meddling in the elections of other nations. Last week, the Chinese threatened violence against the peaceful and prosperous island. Evidently, China's leaders hope to intimidate Taiwan's voters into electing a candidate friendly to unification.
This the latest of China's bold steps, which also include threatening the United States with nuclear retaliation if our forces come to the aid of Taiwan in the event of an attack from the mainland.
Specifically, Beijing asserts that Taiwan falls under China's sovereignty and that it intends to formalize this status through official reunification; that it is prepared to use military force to accomplish this; and that it regards the proposals made by some in Congress to provide Taiwan with a theatre missile defense as interference in its — that is, mainland China's — domestic affairs.
In deploying a theatre missile defense, the United States would honor its pledge to protect Taiwan, and show Beijing that it may not throw its weight around with impunity. But if that is evident, is it not even more so that we must deploy a missile defense for our own land and citizens?
Critics of missile defense point to its technological complexity to argue that "it won't work" and that it is a waste of time and money to try to make it work. This has proved an effective strategy, sapping the political will necessary to make missile defense a reality.
Those who modestly propose that it is worth some effort to defend America from a missile attack — whether from China or any number of other nations acquiring missile technology — must be able to answer this charge. This does not require an advanced degree in science, but does require a bit of time and study. To provide just such training, the Claremont Institute has published a brief but detailed primer, explaining the political as well as technological issues of missile defense. In addition, this past weekend over 100 policy-makers and citizens attended an Institute conference on the subject. Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), one the most forceful proponents of missile defense in the Congress, delivered the keynote address.
- Why Nuclear War is Possible, by Mark T. Clark and Brian Kennedy (pdf)
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