Once unimaginable, some now debating return of U.S. forces to Taiwan

Once unimaginable, some now debating return of U.S. forces to Taiwan

As the United States’ commitment to defending Taiwan is questioned amid Chinese threats of invasion, once unimaginable proposals are being debated in the American military — including the return of U.S. forces to Taiwan.

While U.S. forces withdrew from Taiwan after Washington formalized diplomatic ties with Beijing in 1979, a new proposal to re-establish the United States’ first permanent ground forces is stirring controversy.

The proposal, which was published in an essay in the September-October edition of the U.S. Army Military Review, a professional journal of the army, contends that to effectively deter an increasingly capable Chinese military from an attack on Taiwan, the United States “needs to posture its forces in a way that would inevitably trigger a larger conflict and make plain its commitment to Taiwanese defense.”

“The United States needs to consider basing ground forces in Taiwan if it is committed to defending Taiwanese sovereignty,” according to the proposal.

Combat-credible heavy U.S. forces in Taiwan, the essay said, could not only go far in repelling a Chinese cross-strait operation, “but also serve as a tripwire that would inevitably trigger a wider conflict not acceptable to China.”