What Tsai Ing-wen should be reading this weekend.
The National Interest
Date: May 28, 2016
By: J. Michael Cole
After eight years of relative calm in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan turned a page in its history on May 20, when Tsai Ing-wen of the Taiwan-centric Democratic Progressive Party was sworn in as president. While it may be premature to argue that the cross-Strait relationship has now entered a new, and possibly more conflict-prone, era under Tsai, we must nevertheless keep in mind that the military option to impose unification was never obviated by Beijing, and that as its power grows that option may look increasingly inevitable. Therefore, as the Tsai administration performs the onerous act of balancing between stability in the Taiwan Strait and meeting the expectations of its China-wary citizens, it must continue to prepare against the eventuality that China could resort to force of arms to break the status quo.
Although not exhaustive, the following discussion looks at a number of areas that will be key to Taiwan’s ability to defend itself against external aggression in the coming years. This article, moreover, takes it for granted that Taiwan has experienced and internalized a doctrinal transformation whereby victory in the military sense no longer implies the defeat, if not annihilation, of its opponent, but rather focuses primarily on countering limiting scenarios while strengthening its deterrent capability against more escalatory measures by its opponent. In other words, Taiwan realizes it could not possibly challenge the People’s Liberation Army symmetrically and expect to emerge victorious; instead, the main aim of its national defense strategy is—or should be—to ensure that Beijing does not resort to force in the first place. [FULL STORY]