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Why Congress should block the $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan

By       Message Charles Foerster     Permalink
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The recently announced $6.4 billion arms sales package for Taiwan should be rescinded. It serves two purposes; it generates profits for the powerful arms-builders and it escalates tensions between Taiwan and China, while America holds a short sputtering fuse. Can you imagine the rage in America if China were to provide arms to Canada or Mexico, thrusting its military might directly at the United States? This arms sale is clearly an extension of the Cold War with all its inherent dangers. The placement of missiles in Romania and Poland augments the same type confrontation in Europe.

On November 4, 2008, the American people elected the candidate of their choice based on their hopes and promises of a change, a change for more peaceful relations with the global community. What they got was more debt, continuing war in Iraq, an expanding war in Afghanistan, increasing military excursions in numerous countries and the continuation of dangerous alliances started long ago.

Now comes this proposed arms sale. The import of yet more arms into the Taiwan Straits will serve no good cause. Eventually, and probably sooner without our interference, China and Taiwan will come to a resolution of their differences. Evidence of current progress is a reduction of travel restrictions between the two countries and further cooperation is apparent as the largest electronic manufacturers in the world (Taiwan based) have their factories in mainland China.

Our history of involvement with both China and Taiwan is rather clouded and complex. Many of our present problems stem from meddling in Chinese affairs, some recent and some beginning with the Boxer Rebellion over 100 years ago. In recent times, thanks to Henry Luce and his China Lobby in supporting Chiang Kai-shek, we were left with an intransigent position on Taiwan (not unlike our position in the IsraeliPalestinian conflict). Throughout our history the government has pursued a foreign policy with the excuse of protecting American interests with guidance from special-interest groups such as PAC's and lobbies. The usual protected parties include industrial giants and Wall Street banking interests. And too, one must not forget that we have to protect our sensitive egos.

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It is time for congress to put the welfare and interests of the American people ahead of America's military-industrial complex and special-interest groups. When things turn sour in the foreign relations field, American servicemen and foreign innocents die; PAC leaders, politicians, lobbyists, corporate leaders, bank executives and their institutions do not.

In the early days of our republic, George Washington warned us about the dangers of foreign alliances and an overgrown military establishment.[1] We should have listened. The Cuban missile crisis showed us how frighteningly close the world came to a nuclear holocaust. It was caused by arms-racing with Russia, and an arrogant attitude towards our Caribbean neighbor. Too many times Congress blindingly follows a president into war or allows us to become bound by unwise treaties.

To eliminate the problem, the sale or movement of arms and aid, excepting food or medical supplies, to all countries should be terminated by a congressional act or constitutional amendment. Countries and governments that engage in the arms business are usually only interested in political expediency through weapons or profits, in neither case, the carnage and destruction they facilitate.

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We have a long history of interfering in the politics of other countries and introducing arms (muzzle-first or in crates) to one side or another with devastating results, both to the members of our armed services, their families and to millions of innocent victims of those other countries.[2] It is time to get out of a business that is defined by death, destruction and debt. As a by-product of getting out of the arms and war business, the greatest and most sustainable health-care program, tax-reduction plan and stimulus package ever devised could be implemented at zero cost to the American public.


[1] George Washington's farewell speech, Sept 17, 1796. (overgrown military establishment, #13; foreign alliances, # 40)

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Charles Foerster is a former Naval Aviator and professional pilot.

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