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To Deter China, Taiwan Must Prepare for War 

As the specter of war grows in the Taiwan Strait, Taipei is at a crossroads: what’s the best way to stop a Chinese invasion? If recent US arms sales to the island are any indication of Washington’s thinking, the island should adopt a more asymmetric defense strategy.  

In his October 2022 report, the Council’s Ethan Kessler explains how Beijing’s military advancements over the past decade mean that even with a few big-ticket US weapons systems, Taiwan is likely unable to defend itself on its own. Instead, experts say Taipei should stock up on more small weapons that can be used to ward off Chinese forces until US backup arrives.  

“Taiwan’s buy-in is necessary for this approach to work,” Kessler writes. “If Taipei isn’t seen as investing in its own defense, it’s doubtful that the American public will be willing to send its own troops to Taiwan to fight and die in a war.” 

More analysis in the Wall Street Journal.  

The Data Dimension

Taiwanese leaders may be counting on US forces for help if China were to invade, but what do Americans think? Results from the 2022 Chicago Council Survey show majorities would support imposing diplomatic and economic sanctions and sending additional arms to the island. However, only four in 10 Americans are in favor of deploying US troops to assist Taipei.  

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  • Japan’s military buildup: Experts Sheila Smith and Masashi Murano join Deep Dish to explore what's behind Tokyo’s new security vision. 

Ask an Expert

"Craig Kafura"

How do Americans view the US-Japan relationship? 
“American views of Japan have never been better. In the 2022 Chicago Council Survey, Americans rated Japan among their most favored nations, and American support for US bases in the country hit a 20-year high.” 

—Assistant Director of Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Craig Kafura via the Diplomat

About the Author
Communications Officer
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As the communications officer for the Lester Crown Center, Libby Berry works to connect audiences with foreign policy research and analysis.
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