Segments in this Video

Debate "Housekeeping" (03:34)


The U.S. does not officially recognize Taiwan's government but is its strongest supporter. Moderator John Donvan provides the framework for the debate on the defensibility of Taiwan and introduces panelists.

Opening Statements For: Charlie Glaser (04:46)

George Washington University of Political Science and International Affairs Professor Glaser believes the U.S. should break its commitment to Taiwan. He outlines broad strategic arguments that support the concept that Taiwan is indefensible.

Opening Statements Against: Elizabeth Larus (04:52)

University of Mary Washington Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Larus cites four strategic reasons that support defending Taiwan. Without U.S. leadership, China would become the dominant power.

Opening Statements For: Lyle Goldstein (03:58)

China Maritime Studies Institute and U.S. Naval War College Research Professor Goldstein states that focusing on Taiwan as a significant part of U.S. strategy ignores other issues and increases the risk of war. The U.S. does not have the will or capability to maintain the defense of Taiwan.

Opening Statements Against: Elbridge Colby (04:44)

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Colby states that defending Taiwan would be hard, risky, and costly, but it is possible. He defines the term indefensible and considers what the U.S. would be defending Taiwan from.

Can the U.S, Defend Taiwan? (05:23)

Colby believes the U.S. has the requisite to defend against China's willingness to go all out; escalation would become about more than Taiwan. Goldstein argues that a Chinese invasion could succeed.

Invading Taiwan (03:38)

Larus considers China's possible success; the U.S. needs to make the cost of an invasion too high. Goldstein argues an invasion is likely to succeed; China wants martyrs.

Chinese Aspirations (06:03)

Donvan cites examples of China expanding its power perimeter. Colby argues the U.S. military should not have a defeatist attitude and acknowledges Chinese ambition. Glaser cites the significance of distance and risk.

Taiwan and Semiconductors (03:18)

The world is experiencing a shortage of semiconductor chips. Panelists debate whether Taiwan's production capability would deter or increase the likelihood of a Chinese attack.

Should the U.S. Defend Taiwan? (04:00)

Larus discusses the pitch the U.S. president would have to make to the American people to gain support. Glaser states that the credibility argument is key.

Closing Statements For: Glaser (02:32)

Glaser does not like reaching the conclusion that the U.S. should end its agreement with Taiwan, but it is the lesser of two bad outcomes. Continued protection increases the risk of war.

Closing Statements Against: Larus (01:49)

Without the commitment of the U.S, Taiwan is alone against China. China will rise in Asia and the U.S. will never recover its status.

Closing Statements For: Goldstein (02:31)

The Chinese civil war continues and the U.S. has learned that it should avoid civil wars. If the U.S. must fight China, red lines should be drawn over Japan and the Philippines, not Taiwan.

Closing Statements Against: Colby (02:32)

The U.S. and Taiwan can defend the island against an attack from China. Without U.S. support, China would overtake Taiwan and push to master all of Asia.

Debate Voting (02:28)

Donvan instructs the audience to vote, thanks participants, and explains how to support IQ2. IQ2 tries to put on trustworthy debates.

Credits: Taiwan is Indefensible (00:09)

Credits: Taiwan is Indefensible

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Taiwan Is Indefensible

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The fate of Taiwan is uncertain. Since nationalist forces fled communist revolutionaries in mainland China and set up their own government on the nearby island of Taiwan in 1949, China has thirsted to regain it. With 24 million people and a robust economy, however, Taiwan has long claimed its sovereignty as an independent nation. The United States does not officially recognize Taiwan’s government but remains its strongest international backer. China, meanwhile, sees Taiwan as lost territory, which must be “reunified” with the mainland. China has built up forces near the island and, in a sign of its growing military might, sent 25 warplanes into Taiwan's air defense identification zone in April 2021. The Biden administration has warned Beijing against an invasion and bolstered the island's defense by selling Taiwan military hardware. Despite these efforts, some argue that the scale of China’s military presence has already surpassed anything the U.S. or Taiwan militaries could stop. The cost of defending Taiwan would be exorbitant, they contend, and the prospect of risking the lives of American soldiers in this conflict half a world away is foolhardy and wrongheaded. But others argue that American credibility is on the line and that the United States should defend countries resisting communism and fighting for their freedom. The United States could indeed win such a conflict, they contend, and its political posturing should reflect that. If a showdown occurs, is Taiwan indefensible?

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL274250

ISBN: 978-1-63722-560-8

Copyright date: ©2021

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