Anxiety about China’s growing military capabilities to threaten Taiwan has induced alarm in Washington about whether the United States remains capable of deterring attempts to seize Taiwan by force. This alarm has fed American impulses to alter longstanding policy, and to increasingly view challenges confronting Taiwan through a military lens. While Taiwan clearly is under growing military threat, it also is facing a simultaneous and intensifying Chinese political campaign to wear down the will of the Taiwan people. This latter line of effort receives less attention, but left unaddressed, has the potential to do far more damage to American interests.
This book rightsizes the risks confronting Taiwan by taking a holistic view of China’s national ambitions and Taiwan’s role in them, China’s strategies for pursuing unification with Taiwan, and America’s most effective responses. Contrary to many other books on the market, the authors make the case for why conflict in the Taiwan Strait is not preordained, and in fact, it would be strategic folly for the United States to conclude that conflict is inescapable.
Hass, Bush, and Glaser argue that the center of gravity for determining the future of Taiwan is the will of Taiwan’s 23 million people. American policy should focus on their hopes and fears if the United States wishes to maintain influence over events in the Taiwan Strait. This calls for American resoluteness and steadiness of purpose in fortifying Taiwan’s economic dynamism, political autonomy, military preparedness, and dignity and respect on the world stage. Maintaining credible military deterrence is the minimum threshold, not the measure of success. U.S.-Taiwan Relations will be an invaluable resource for students, researchers, and journalists to understand this critical moment in U.S. foreign policy.
Ryan Hass is the Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies at the Brookings Institution. Bonnie Glaser is Managing Director of the Indo-Pacific Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Richard Bush is author of seven books, including most recently, Difficult Choices: Taiwan’s Quest for Security and the Good Life (Brookings Press, 2021).
Chapter 1: The historical background of the current conflict
Chapter 2: U.S.-Taiwan Relations from 2016 to present
Chapter 3: Charting the future of U.S.-Taiwan relations
This is a wonderful book! It is authoritative, beautifully written and concise. Three of America’s foremost experts and policy practitioners have written a work that illuminates and clarifies the entire corpus of US cross-strait relations from 1945 to 2022. This is a work that will benefit novices and experts alike. Every historic turning point, relevant policy statements and documents are clearly addressed. It concludes with a balanced assessment of the security challenges Washington will face in the coming decade. Very highly recommended.
The United States relationship with Taiwan is both extremely consequential and poorly understood. Ryan Hass, Bonnie Glaser, and Richard Bush---an all-star team of seasoned professionals---have provided us all a great service in this highly informative and timely book.
As Asia’s most volatile and consequential flashpoint, Taiwan is a central issue for US foreign policy. In this timely and terrific book, the country’s leading experts offer a systematic and succinct examination of US relations with Taiwan as well as the military and political challenges the island faces from China. With refreshing and bracing common sense, Hass, Glaser, and Bush show how Taiwan can be strengthened, and catastrophic conflict can be avoided. A must-read for anyone interested in understanding the future of this relationship.
U.S.-Taiwan Relations usefully draws their analysis and prescriptions into one book alongside a succinct history and a few crisis scenarios to ponder over. For those unfamiliar with the authors’ previous works, who may be unduly alarmed by sensational op-eds and newsflashes, the book will provide a necessary counterbalance. After finishing the book, these readers will likely be more reassured, although not complacent about the challenge facing American policymakers. Moreover, while understanding the need for innovation, they will also no doubt be left appreciating the need for continuity in the US’s approach in the coming decades to avoid crises across the Strait and prevent conflict.
7/7/23, Radio Taiwan International: The Straight Up podcast host Chris Gorin and Richard Bush discuss the book.
4/17/23, Dollar & Sense – The Brookings Trade Podcast: Richard Bush and Ryan Hass discussed topics from the book.