The United States quietly supports the military capability of turning Taiwan into a “hedgehog”. If China wants to unify Taiwan by force, it will be difficult to attack.
American soldiers in Taiwan are considered “Open secretWashington and Beijing have acquiesced for decades. However, the United States has recently increased its support for Taiwan’s training and weapons as part of the “hedgehog strategy” adopted by many US presidents to strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense.
The United States launched this strategy at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, with the purpose of quietly strengthening the island’s defense capabilities and preparing to use force to respond to the amphibious attack on the Chinese mainland and the unification of Taiwan.
On the surface, the last group of American soldiers left Taiwan in 1979, when Washington accepted Beijing’s “One China” principle. Since then, the United States has regularly approved the sale of weapons to the island, but avoided equipping the most advanced weapons to avoid angering China.
However, following the drastic policy initiatives of National Security Adviser John Bolton, the United States began to change its strategy under the leadership of President Donald Trump. Bolton’s successor Robert O’Brien continued to advocate this direction. This strategy continues under the leadership of President Joe Biden.
The Trump administration also persuaded Taiwan to buy more coastal defense cruise missiles from the United States. The Pentagon assesses that this weapon will force Beijing to change its strategic considerations and reduce the possibility of an amphibious attack.
Through the two presidents, the Pentagon increased its presence on the island of Taiwan, including special operations forces. The activities of American soldiers on the island of Taiwan no longer stop at training in the use of new weapons, but extend to advice on preparations for war.
Bolton and O’Brien called it a “hedgehog strategy,” making Taiwan a difficult target for amphibious operations. Any force that attempts to attack this “hedgehog” will be hit by its sharp feathers. In this case, Taiwan’s cruise missiles and coastal defense assets.
For many years, the US Marine Corps and special operations forces on the island of Taiwan have been investigating beaches, identifying potential enemy landings and requiring defensive reinforcements. American soldiers helped the Self-Defense Force on the island develop anti-landing tactics and maintained resistance while the Chinese mainland army occupied the coast.
“The conventional warfare system is difficult to stop China. But when applying the hedgehog strategy, China will find it difficult to’swallow’ Taiwan by force,” said Heino Klink, a former Pentagon official on East Asia. “Even if the coast is lost, Taiwan’s national defense is ready to fight inland, forcing Chinese soldiers to occupy every inch of land on the island.”
However, under President Biden’s leadership, the US Congress’s military support for Taiwan is controversial. After Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen publicly confirmed the deployment of US troops to the island, many US lawmakers worried that Washington was pushing the issue to the threshold of a dangerous provocation with Beijing.
The hardline Democratic Congressman Elaine Luria said that the deployment of US troops in Taiwan would increase tensions with China. In the worst case scenario, when the Chinese military launches a preemptive strike against Taiwan, about 30 US Marines and special forces may be trapped in Taiwan.
“We are too close to the border. However, China is clearly pushing its limits. The United States needs to show that we are serious about the Taiwan issue, but it also needs to make it clear that we don’t want to confront,” Democratic Senator Edmaki advises Say.
At the same time, some U.S. congressmen said that Taiwan has not received enough support for the implementation of the “hedgehog” strategy. In the past period of time, the continuous close-in attacks of Chinese military aircraft caused Taiwan’s air defense forces to be often placed on high alert, resulting in rapid wear and tear of equipment and loss of pilots. Stress and exhaustion can easily lead to wrong decisions when facing.
China has always regarded Taiwan as a province awaiting reunification and has vowed to use force when necessary. In addition to short-range flights, the Chinese military has recently increased its military pressure on Taiwan by conducting amphibious exercises near Taiwan.
Members of Congress such as Brad Sherman and Josh Holly support the United States to strengthen Taiwan’s defense forces. Sherman, a senior Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, said that if the United States conducts good training and equipment on Taiwan, it will “help reduce the risk of war.” He also believes that in any calculations with Taiwan, China remains vigilant about the possibility of US retaliation.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley introduced a bill in early November to spend $3 billion in the budget to improve Taiwan’s defense capabilities in the short term. He said that China is “increasingly happy” with its ability to attack the island of Taiwan, and the United States should help Taiwan prepare for the worst.
Holly wrote: “If we want peace, Taiwan needs to be prepared for war, especially by accelerating the deployment of asymmetric defense capabilities to defeat any military efforts by China.”
Nakaren (follow Foreign policy)