5 June 2019   Leave a comment

The US is preparing to sell $2 billion worth of weaponry to Taiwan, a move that the Chinese will undoubtedly perceive as provocative. Reuters reports:

” The potential sale included 108 General Dynamics Corp M1A2 Abrams tanks worth around $2 billion as well as anti-tank and anti-aircraft munitions, three of the sources said. Taiwan has been interested in refreshing its existing U.S.-made battle tank inventory which includes M60 Patton tanks….

” The congressional notifications included a variety of anti-tank munitions including 409 Raytheon Co and Lockheed Martin Corp-made Javelin missiles worth as much as $129 million, two of the sources said.

“In addition, the notifications included 1,240 TOW anti-tank missiles worth as much as $299 million, one of the sources said adding that there were also 250 stinger missiles worth as much as $223 million in the notification.”

The sale will be a big boost to the companies that produce these weapons, but it is hard to square the move in the context of a trade war with China. The Chinese are unlikely to reward the action with significant concessions on trade policy. In a very strange comment, US President Trump indicated that higher military spending was his recompense for avoiding serving during the Vietnam War. The Washington Post notes:

“However, Trump added, he has increased the Pentagon’s budget during his tenure, which he said should be considered as an amends to avoiding service.

“‘I think I make up for it right now,’ Trump said, describing a proposed defense budget that will approach $750 billion in 2020. ‘I think I am making up for it rapidly.’”

I doubt that those who served in Vietnam buy the argument.

Posted June 5, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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