The United States should aggressively train Taiwanese forces “so they can fight like Ukrainians,” send F-16 jets to the island, install nuclear-tipped missiles in its submarines, and dispatch American troops to defend the nation, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News Sunday on April 9.
Graham said that Congress needs to ask itself, “‘Should we have a defense agreement with the island of Taiwan?’ We don’t,” he said. “But yes, I’d be very much open to using U.S. forces to defend Taiwan because it’s in our national security interest to do so.”
Graham said he believes the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing is “setting the stage possibly for a blockade of Taiwan.”
Graham cited Taiwan’s role in producing microchips and the risk of the CCP—which is militarizing at a rapid rate—gaining “a monopoly on the digital economy” as a reason for defending the island.
Taiwan makes more than 60 percent of the world’s semiconductors and more than 90 percent of the most advanced versions.
Chips compose 15 percent of Taiwan’s GDP, and most semiconductors are produced by one company—the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation.
“What would I do to deter blockage Taiwan? I would let the Chinese know that if you blockade Taiwan, you’re gonna have a hard time getting oil from the Mid-East.
“I would increase training and get the F-16s they need in Taiwan,” Graham said. “There’s a backlog. I would solve that backlog.
“I would move war forces to South Korea and Japan,” Graham added. “I would put nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on all of our submarines all over the world like the Russians did.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping feel empowered by the chaotic withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan in 2021, Graham added.
“Taiwan’s not the problem. Lindsey Graham’s not the problem. It’s Putin and it’s Xi,” Graham said.
Graham has consistently supported the U.S. sending military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine in its war effort against Russia.
Last month, he said that Russia should be “held accountable” for destroying an American military drone and added that “your airplane” should be shot down if “you ever get near” another American asset flying in international waters.
“What would Ronald Reagan do right now?” Graham said. “He would start shooting Russian planes down if they were threatening our assets.
“American foreign policy is in freefall,” Graham said, adding that “on multiple fronts, we’re in a dangerous situation. Weakness breeds provocation.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is leading a bipartisan delegation of House members in Taiwan “to discuss ways the U.S. can strengthen our economic and defense relationship with Taiwan in the face of growing threats in the region,” McCaul’s office reported.
At a luncheon in Taipei on April 8, McCaul said that the United States will help Taiwan with armed forces training and accelerate deliveries of self-defense weapons.
McCaul pointed out that he signed off on “22 weapon systems over three years ago” and they “have yet to get into Taiwan.”
“I signed off on those deliveries, and we are doing everything in our power to expedite this,” McCaul said. “Peace through strength is real, and that’s why we need to harden Taiwan.”
In a potential confrontation with the CCP, McCaul said, Taiwan’s defense abilities are “not where they need to be.”
“If we’re going to have deterrence for peace, we need to get these weapons into Taiwan,” McCaul added.
Under a “one China” policy, the United States acknowledges Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China. The United States does not formally recognize Taiwan as a country on paper but maintains relations with the island of around 24 million citizens that has its own government, currency, and military.
“Strategic ambiguity is not working,” Graham told Fox News Sunday. “China, after Afghanistan, believes that the store is open, that you can go in and take whatever you want on Biden’s watch.”
“I believe in a ‘one China’ policy, but I would be willing to fight for Taiwan because Taiwan is a democracy. We stood with them for decades,” Graham continued.
“So I would up our game, and if you don’t up your game now, you are going to have a war.”