That is a rhetorical question for two reasons:
- The US will ALWAYS sell something to TaiWan.
- Yes, the US should sell weapons to Taiwan.
First of all, America’s not doing good economically. Only one of the “Four Asian Dragons” was able to escape this recession largely unscathed, and that was Taiwan. Why? Because ever since 1992, with the easing of relations between the two Chinas, tons of investments from Taiwanese businesses in the Ningbo region. Why not Hong Kong ever since 1997? Simple, because before 1997, Hong Kong was the major proxy through which foreign businesses dealt with China. Now with Shanghai as a major competitor (with more Taiwanese investments and businesses based in that region), Hong Kong has had a tough time re-orienting itself, and finding that economic niche it once had. So now that Taiwan is basically earning money in China, America should take back some of that money, by selling F-16s. Simple!
Wouldn’t that anger BeiJing? Yes, yes it would. But what are they going to do? Start a war with the US, its major buyer of Made-in-China goods? No. Just as America would merely wag its finger and make loud screaming noises if China attacked Taiwan –which it won’t– China would only wag its finger at us and scream obscenities in a language Americans couldn’t understand anyway, for having sold weapons to Taiwan. Heck, if Taiwan’s willing to buyem’ up at incredibly marked-up prices, why not? With as much heavy trading that goes on between America, Taiwan, and mainland China, we’re in essence merely increasing Sino-American trade.
Now, there’s an issue in whether or not we should sell them the F-16C/Ds as opposed to upgrading their F-16A/Bs we’ve already sold them. Just mark-up the A/B upgrades, and make it feel like it’s “more than just an upgrade”, or sell them the C/Ds. Either way, it’s all about getting those dollah-dollah-billz!
UPDATE September 27, 2011
I still think we should get as much out of Taiwan as we can.