Two US carriers through the Taiwan Strait in 48 years — time for more

The Hill
Date: 07/21/20
By: Joseph Bosco, Opinion Contributor


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The U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier battle groups are the most dramatic symbol of American military and geopolitical power. They were critical to winning World War II in the Pacific and they have since been deployed in the Indo-Pacific to communicate U.S. resolve against potential adversaries.

The presence or absence of the Seventh Fleet — the configuration of Navy ships and aircraft in the Indo-Pacific built around the carriers — generally determines whether war or peace prevails in the region. In the immediate post-war period, Washington’s strategic planners in the Truman administration shockingly determined that America’s Pacific security perimeter could exclude Taiwan and South Korea.

Washington’s civilian and military leaders then — Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Gen. Douglas MacArthur — conveyed that lack of strategic concern by pointing out lines on a map and backing up the perverse decision by withdrawing the Navy from the Taiwan Strait and the immediate environs. The communist dictators in Moscow, Beijing and Pyongyang welcomed what they saw as a green light for aggression, and the Korean War was on.

President Harry Truman, rueing his administration’s grievous mistake, announced, “[T]he occupation of Formosa by Communist forces would be a direct threat to the security of the Pacific area and to United States forces performing their lawful and necessary functions in that area. Accordingly, I have ordered the 7th Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a corollary of this action, I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The 7th Fleet will see that this is done.”   [FULL  STORY]

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