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Is China Really Angered over US Arms Sales to Taiwan?

Written By Jeff Edwards

Posted December 17, 2015

The author of this article, that’s me, actually taught English in China in 2004 after serving a tour with the Marines in Iraq in 2003.

For me it was an opportunity to blow off steam after a war and I have to tell you, the Chinese people were amazing.

Their hospitality while I was there was surpassed by none and they loved Americans.

One day, however, when asked a question about what they wanted more than anything, one student stood up and told me that he couldn’t wait to join the military much like I had in America.

I thought that nice and patriotic for the Chinese until he said, “so I can kill all the Taiwanese soldiers who oppress our people.”

I smiled and thought to myself, we are going to fight these people one day. Again, that is.

A War we Do Not Want with China

Again, the Chinese people are amazing.

I lived among them, drank their Tsing Tao beers and, unfortunately, a good amount of their baijiu — a very strong rice liquor. Avoid it if you can, but if you are an American in China, you likely cannot.

It was common hospitality at many restaurants to toast the Americans with baijiu.

Which is fine unless you are the one American in the establishment and you can’t leave dinner walking in a straight line.

The average American has no beef with the average Chinese person.

I testify to it from personal experience and will stand by it.

But it is hardly the average person of either country that dictates the course of nations.

For in America, we have a policy of supporting the Democracy of Taiwan and rightly so, in my mind.

But in China, the powers that be see that as an affront to their sovereignty and, make no mistake, they are raising generations who believe as much.

If war begins with the indoctrination of a population, the Chinese are well on their way.

But unlike America, whose policy is often dictated by the next election cycle, the Chinese are content to wait 50 years for the right timing.

Their ability to master the long-play will be a concern to America in the future, but unfortunately not before the next American election cycle.

Arms Sales to Taiwan

So the news that broke this week indicating China as being angry over our most recent arms sales to Taiwan is more complicated than the surface level reveals.

Yes, they might be upset, but America is bound by law to do so.

China knows this, America knows this, and that is just a regular occurrence.

The Taiwan Relations Act was passed in 1979 and it pretty much says we have to do so.

As a result no one should really be surprised, or for that matter angered.

America has a strategic advantage in keeping Taiwan supplied with the most advanced defensive weapons possible.

Meanwhile, China has an internal strategic objective to oppose it.

That kid I taught back in 2004 is likely in his mid-to-late 20s now.

I hope in one sense that he achieved his dream and joined the military.

But in another sense, I hope that the young Marines I know and hold dear will never have to come to battle with the kid I taught so long ago.

I just fear that it might be so someday.

Myself and that young Chinese teen would never shoot at each other in any other scenario other than the one our governments told us was necessary.

A sad reality, but a reality that could come true whether I like it or not.

Except it won’t be me because I am too old and out of shape.

But the idea that my son could be facing this young kid one day saddens me to no degree, especially over the alternative that could have been.