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Intelligence Squared U.S.: Is Taiwan Defensible?

Montage of Taiwanese scenes

The fate of Taiwan is uncertain. As a revanchist China builds up forces near the island, the Biden administration is warning Beijing against an invasion, bolstering its defense with the sale of military hardware. While the United States does not officially recognize Taiwan’s government, it remains its strongest international backer. Beijing, meanwhile, sees Taiwan as lost territory, which needs to be “reunified” with the mainland. Recently, Beijing sent 25 warplanes into Taiwan's air defense identification zone, the largest ever incursion into the region by the People’s Liberation Army. And some argue that the scale of China’s military presence has already surpassed anything the U.S. or Taiwan militaries could stop. It is indefensible, both militarily and from a political capital perspective; the notion of risking American soldiers in this geostrategic flashpoint unthinkable. Others say American credibility is actually on the line, that the U.S. could indeed win if it had to, and that its political posturing should reflect that. So, here’s our question: Is Taiwan indefensible?

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