But such a society cannot last if a nation lacks the ability to mount an adequate self-defense. That's what makes it so regrettable that President Obama has decided not to sell Taiwan the 66 F-16 C/D jets that Taiwan requested several years ago. They're the real meat of Taiwan's pending requests. Those requests are designed to dissuade Beijing -- which considers Taiwan not a sovereign nation, but a renegade province -- from taking over the island by force.
Under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the United States is obligated to assist the island with its defense. Of course, we also have to work with China, and it has many missiles pointing at Taiwan. This situation makes managing cross-Strait relations tricky, but we must remain resolute, and honor our promise to Taiwan.
After all, this isn't just about Taiwan's defense. It's about our nation's credibility as a security partner. It's about the maintenance of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. And the decisions we make today will help decide whether Taiwan retains its hard-won freedoms -- and shows the world what a free-market economy and vibrant democracy in Asia can do.