Editor's Note: Below is the full text of the Naval Diplomat’s essay for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on February 26, 2013. It appeared in Shihoko Goto, ed., Taiwan and the U.S. Pivot to Asia: New Realities in the Region? Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center, March 2013, pp. 25-32.
Apathy kills. The Obama administration’s pivot to Asia—a politico-military endeavor that combines strategic mass, strategic maneuver, and geography in intensely competitive surroundings—may well bolster Taiwan’s security vis-à-vis the mainland.Yet the pivot’s capacity to dissuade or defeat China hinges on whether U.S. Navy relief forces can reach the island’s vicinity, do battle, and prevail at a cost acceptable to the American state and society. This is an open question—but one that Taiwan’s armed forces can, and must, help answer in the affirmative. The island must bear a vigorous hand in its defense rather than passively awaiting rescue. Otherwise it may stand alone in its hour of need.