A Question of Balance: Political Context and Military Aspects of the China-Taiwan Dispute

In A Question of Balance, David Shlapak and his co-authors have tried to evaluate the nature of the military balance between China’s People’s Liberation Army and the armed forces on Taiwan.

There is great value in going beyond the rhetoric that implies that Taiwan’s technically superior arsenal and its professionalized military would be at least a transactional match for the PLA, and it is worth ignoring the recent thawing between Beijing and Taipei when doing so. These are still two heavily armed opponents staring at each other across a narrow body of water, increased communication notwithstanding, and a slight shift in the wind could make this a global flash point again.

The authors are clearly on the side of Taiwan, the seeming underdog in such a conflict, and recognize the brutal choices that would confront a US President when deciding whether and how to come to Taiwan’s aid if the island were attacked. The book makes for fascinating reading, regardless of where you stand on the matter of Taiwan.

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