U.S. House member proposes elevating Taiwan to NATO plus five status

Yesterday a Taiwan news site reported that a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, had proposed a bill called the Taiwan Plus Act to raise Taiwan to the category of what the American government categorizes as NATO plus five countries.

The proposal was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and if passed by the House and Senate would augment military cooperation with Taiwan including providing to it weapons only available to fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and a category of countries referred to as Major Non-NATO Allies (MNNA). Congressman Perry noted that “Taiwan has been treated as an MNNA since 2003, although it is not formally designated as such,” a reference to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of that year.

In 2019 a proposal was made by Congressman Brad Sherman, at that time outgoing chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Sub-committee on Asia Pacific, the Pacific, and Non-Proliferation, to elevate India to NATO plus five status as well. The other members of the U.S.-led anti-Chinese Quad, Australia and Japan, are already Major Non-NATO Allies and members of NATO’s Partners Across the Globe. In addition the two nations, along with South Korea, are integrated into the U.S.-NATO global anti-ballistic missile network.

One doesn’t have to be an admirer of the People’s Republic of China to recognize a provocation of a severe nature, and raising the two states to special military partnerships with Washington at this time of heightened conflict verging on an open breach between the U.S. and China is a dangerous provocation, one of the highest magnitude.

Coming on the heels of the U.S., Britain, Canada and the European Union imposing sanctions on Chinese officials over a matter of Chinese internal affairs, the status of ethnic Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, added to provocation is diplomatic and economic aggression. ( U.S. + Britain +Canada + European Union = NATO.)

The proposed bill in the House with regard to Taiwan will not become law, or not soon, no more than that concerning India earlier. But it is an indication of the intensification of U.S.-China hostility and the potential impending rupture of relations comparable to what the U.S. and its Western allies have effected with Russia..

Concerning Washington’s Major Non-NATO Allies, there are currently seventeen in number: Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and Tunisia.

They are included in what are termed strategic working relationships with the Pentagon.

What is indicative of the past generation’s use of NATO by the U.S. to reabsorb members of other Cold War-era military blocs in the Asia-Pacific area, themselves modeled after NATO – the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO), the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS) – into an integrated international military network affiliated with a now-global NATO is the fact that of the seventeen Major Non-NATO Allies thirteen are already also members of NATO partnership programs:

Afghanistan: Partners Across the Globe
Australia: Partners Across the Globe
Bahrain: Istanbul Cooperation Initiative
Egypt: Mediterranean Dialogue
Israel: Mediterranean Dialogue
Japan: Partners Across the Globe
Jordan: Mediterranean Dialogue
Kuwait: Istanbul Cooperation Initiative
Morocco: Mediterranean Dialogue
New Zealand: Partners Across the Globe
Pakistan: Partners Across the Globe
South Korea: Partners Across the Globe
Tunisia: Mediterranean Dialogue

Post-Cold war NATO now has one member in the Asia-Pacific region (including West Asia), Turkey, and nineteen partners:

Afghanistan: Partners Across the Globe
Australia: Partners Across the Globe
Bahrain: Istanbul Cooperation Initiative
Iraq: Partners Across the Globe
Israel: Mediterranean Dialogue
Japan: Partners Across the Globe
Jordan: Mediterranean Dialogue
Kazakhstan: Partnership for Peace
Kyrgyzstan: Partnership for Peace
Kuwait: Istanbul Cooperation Initiative
Mongolia: Partners Across the Globe
New Zealand: Partners Across the Globe
Pakistan: Partners Across the Globe
Qatar: Istanbul Cooperation Initiative
South Korea: Partners Across the Globe
Tajikistan: Partnership for Peace
Turkmenistan: Partnership for Peace
United Arab Emirates
Uzbekistan: Partnership for Peace

The role of NATO’s Asian member, Turkey, is also worth examining. After Ankara’s support of Azerbaijan’s war against Nagorno-Karabakh last year, Turkey now has gained an initial military foothold in the Caucasus. As Dr. Zalmay Gulzad has warned for years, Turkey has also established an outpost in the largely Uzbek (Turkic) part of Northern Afghanistan through local warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, who has lived in and owns property in Turkey, and until last year was vice president of Afghanistan. Ankara’s pan-Turkic ambitions extend from the Caucasus to Central Asia and, ultimately, to the Turkic-speaking majority Uyghur Chinese province of Xinjiang. Turkey in this context means NATO as well.