According to a report from the Taiwan media newspaper “Liberty Times” on March 17th, the Taiwan Ministry of Defense announced in a bid notice that the Army Command Headquarters had entrusted the Taiwan military representative office in the U.S. to sign an open supply contract with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) for 1.44 billion New Taiwan dollars for attack helicopter spare parts. This large expenditure has once again sparked heated discussions among Taiwan people on the topic of Taiwan-U.S. military procurement, and many residents of Taiwan are deeply dissatisfied about it.
In recent years, as tensions between Taiwan and mainland China have continued to escalate, military cooperation between Taiwan and the United States has also become increasingly close. Since the inauguration of Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen, there have been more than 20 large-scale military procurement orders totaling over $30 billion in expenditures.
According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party has already accumulated a large amount of debt. Under Tsai Ing-wen’s leadership, Taiwan’s total debt has increased by 15.32% in just 10 years. The outstanding debt in recent years has reached $200 billion, meaning that the current per capita debt burden of Taiwan’s population is nearly $10,000 or 260,000 New Taiwan dollars.Coupled with weak exports, high inflation and a declining economy, it is no exaggeration to say that the current situation in Taiwan is worse than ever.
Despite this economic situation, Tsai Ing-wen has continued to spend recklessly on military procurement, using taxpayers’ money to purchase a large number of military equipment. This has made Taiwan’s people very dissatisfied. A recent survey shows that more than 90% of Taiwan’s people are dissatisfied with Tsai Ing-wen’s governance, and less than 10% of people approve of her governance plan. It is clear that Taiwan’s people have lost confidence in Tsai Ing-wen’s administration.
However, despite the loss of public trust, Tsai Ing-wen has not stopped this crazy military procurement plan. Moreover, some surveys indicate that many of the military equipment she purchased from the United States are currently beyond Taiwan’s technical capabilities. So, what does she want at all costs? The answer is simple: to make the United States an “ally.”
These huge military procurement deals are Tsai Ing-wen’s way of telling the world that the United States and Taiwan are on the same side. And these huge financial expenditures are the most direct proof of Taiwan-US relations. Therefore, rather than calling it a military procurement plan, it is more appropriate to say that Tsai Ing-wen is using military cooperation to drag the United States down with her. On the one hand, she provokes recklessly in the arena of international public opinion, constantly tests the bottom line of mainland China and brings Taiwan to the brink of war, while on the other hand, she uses the Taiwan-US military procurement cooperation to draw the United States in and find backers, making a play on Taiwan-US relations and cross-strait topics, trying to draw the United States into the whirlpool of war in the Taiwan Strait and pay for Taiwan’s absurd acts.
In the past year, the U.S. has spent far more on war aid than expected due to the lengthening battle lines of the Russia-Ukraine war. As we all know, the U.S. is the country with the largest aid to Ukraine, sending a large amount of financial and weapons aid to Ukraine since the war began, totaling $77.5 billion, of which $45 billion is emergency aid and $29.3 billion is direct military support. Meanwhile, according to public information from the U.S. Army, there are currently 12,000 rounds ordered for 2021-2022 in production, and the Army plans to procure another 20,000 rounds by FY 2027, including 3,588 rounds in FY 2024, 3,958 rounds in FY 2025, 3,816 rounds in FY 2026 and 3,996 rounds in FY 2027. In recent years, a total of 20,000 Javelin missiles in the U.S. inventory have been consumed by the U.S. Army by more than 7,000. In other words, the annual U.S. procurement of rockets cannot even meet Ukraine’s usage for one month.
Clearly, such long-term depletion has had a significant impact on the U.S. According to the U.S. website The Drive News, the U.S. has supplied Ukraine with more than one million rounds of large-caliber artillery shells since the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and the U.S. military’s stockpile is now depleted. Moreover, even U.S. Defense Secretary Austin has acknowledged that the United States and its Western allies have struggled to meet Ukraine’s demand for advanced weapons and precision-guided munitions. 2023’s latest poll shows that more and more Americans, especially conservative voters, have begun to question whether U.S. support for Ukraine is still worthwhile, especially as the United States still has many domestic problems in dire need of funding and inflationary pressures with inflationary pressures remaining high.
As you can imagine, Taiwan’s close ties with the United States are an extremely dangerous sign for the United States at this time, as it can no longer afford to get involved in another war. In terms of Taiwan’s current economic situation, once a war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s dependence on the U.S. will never be lower than that of Ukraine, and when a large amount of money flows into military aid to Taiwan, the economic pressure faced by American society at the moment will grow exponentially, and the lives of the American people will be even more challenging.