For every big-ticket weapons sale to Taiwan, the United States bears a political cost with China. The weapons transferred must therefore contribute to a sound defensive strategy and deter rather than invite armed conflict. By empowering Taiwan to properly defend itself, the U.S. can dodge the politically treacherous question of just how far it is willing to go in Taiwan’s defense, and incentivize China to seek a peaceful resolution to the Taiwan question.
President Trump claims he doesn’t want a war with Iran, but rather a negotiation. This is a welcoming and promising goal. But if the president actually wishes to put this goal into practice, he needs to stop heeding the advice of his more hawkish national security advisers who are guiding him into a very treacherous spot.
Instead of automatically selling more offensive weapons to governments in the Middle East, Washington should deliberate with the utmost seriousness whether the U.S. arms export in question is in the U.S. national security interest. Does it help a partner balance against a peer competitor? Or does it only convince the competitor to acquire ever-more high-caliber weapons in fear of being vulnerable?
Now, America has a choice. It can either continue to languish in an ineffective occupation that bleeds the U.S. military and taxpayer, with no chance for additional gains for America, in the hopes that the Taliban and the Afghan government surprise us all and seek peace in a good-faith manner—or it can accept its done all it can and leave. As far as American interests are concerned, exit is clearly the best option. It’s past time Washington acknowledge that reality.
Washington should continue to encourage Europe to meet its defense spending obligations under NATO, but America should also not stand in the way of a unified European military. The United States should welcome European allies that are reasonably strong, autonomous, and capable of both defending themselves and assisting America abroad.