For months, the Biden administration has notified Congress of its desire to provide Taiwan with billions of dollars worth of weapons and other types of military support. According to The Arms Control Association, our proposed assistance package comprises 60 anti-ship Harpoon missiles and 100 air-to-air sidewinder missiles. The weapons transfers could be conducted through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Aid being considered includes surveillance radar systems, tanks, artillery, unspecified weapons systems, and Patriot air defense systems.

President Biden greets President Xi at the G20 summit in Bali. Screenshot from YouTube and CNA

Hopefully, we’ve learned a lesson from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and are seeking to preemptively aid Taiwan if Mainland China decides to launch an attack on the island. As I write this, President Biden and Chinese leader Xi meet in Bali at the G20 Summit. One would suppose that maintaining peace in the region would rank high on the agenda during talks between the two world leaders. Regardless, Taiwan must be ready with a “big stick,” just in case.

Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin told The Washington Post, “One of the lessons of Ukraine is that you need to arm your partners before the shooting starts, and that gives you your best chance of avoiding war in the first place.” Gallagher is a former Marine serving on the House Armed Services Committee. In September, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was interviewed on the David Rubenstein podcast and said it “remains a distinct threat that there could be a military contingency around Taiwan.” That’s Gallagher’s sentiments, except in broader terms.

Above, I mentioned the sale of arms; as far as providing extensive military aid to Taiwan out of our pocket, it’s not in the budget…at least not at this time. If lawmakers didn’t find ways to cut expenses in other areas, President Biden would have to request emergency assistance. No one wants to speak about that, at least not on the record. A senior administration official, speaking under the condition of anonymity, told WaPo, “Our engagement with Congress has been focused on ensuring that legislation that moves forward is clearly consistent with our policy framework that has helped maintain peace and stability across the [Taiwan] Strait.” Lots of words there, but nothing about how we’d pay to help Taiwan.