by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
One of the fiercest ongoing debates in the Beltway foreign-policy world is the overlap between weapons that the U.S. is sending Ukraine and those that Taiwan needs to build up “porcupine”-style defenses to fight off a Chinese invasion. That’s because the degree to which there is overlap could determine U.S. priorities in prioritizing which weapons to send to each country, especially considering the ongoing strains on America’s defense-industrial base.
So, just how much overlap is there? Michael Allen and Conor Pfeiffer, of Beacon Global Strategies and the Forum for American Leadership, respectively, have written a primer on this for the Wall Street Journal, outlining areas of overlap between the two U.S. partners’ needs. They write that the overlap is not as significant as many might think and offer some thoughts on how to prioritize the delivery of systems sought by both. …
… Outlining the similarities and differences between the lists of weapons requested by Taiwan and Ukraine is an important task, primarily because doing that helps to add context to the debate about U.S. priorities in Europe versus those in Asia. It offers perspective on whether, or just how much, continued U.S. assistance to Ukraine actually hinders efforts to build Taiwan’s capabilities.
The Pentagon might deliver a report on this potential overlap in the near future. The House passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act last week, with a provision that requires the secretary of defense to compare weapons that Ukraine and Taiwan each need, as well as an assessment of the ability of U.S. supply chains to sustain the delivery of those systems. If that part of the bill, proposed by Representative Lisa McClain, remains in the legislation as it is reviewed by the Senate, the Pentagon would be required to deliver that report by sometime in 2024.