Wed, Jun 23, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Leave guests out of domestic spats

Therese Shaheen, former chairwoman of the American Institute in Taiwan, was given an award on Monday by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to honor her contribution to Taiwan-US relations. We cannot know whether, as opposition legislators have suggested, another purpose of her visit was to boost US arms sales. Guests deserve hospitality, regardless of the fact that Shaheen also played an important role in Taiwan-US relations. If we follow the logic of these opposition critics, then every US official friendly to the ruling party who visits this country can be suspected of selling weapons. Such suggestions and criticisms cannot but cause numerous officials of the Bush government considerable disappointment and disillusionment.

Shaheen has been treated most unjustly by such invective. The rationale is simply that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) have yet to awake from the bad dream of their electoral defeat and are venting their anger on her. They cannot believe the fact that, having formed an alliance, they were still unable to garner a majority of votes. Therefore they refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the Chen administration and continue to proclaim to the media "no truth, no president."

If these opposition legislators believe their own words, then why did they vote to ratify Chen's nomination of Wu Rong-ming (吳容明) as the vice president of the Examination Yuan on June 4? It is ridiculous that the opposition legislators continue to call Chen "Mr. Chen" rather than "President Chen" in the legislature, while on the other hand they voted for one of his nominees.

The key to the contradiction is that Wu once served in important posts in the KMT and PFP and is a political figure whom they acknowledge. Yet their confirmation of Wu's appointment also amounts to an acknowledgement of Chen's presidential authority.

Doesn't the contradictory nature of the opposition's political maneuvering reveal their hypocrisy? Politics need not be based on double standards, and sometimes sincerity is more appreciated by the majority.

Since both the KMT and the PFP have pretended to refuse to recognize the legitimate status of the DPP government, they have objected to whatever is favorable to the government, and have only supported things that are favorable to themselves. As for the people or things that they oppose, their only consideration is their connection with the government. They don't give a thought to possible benefits to the nation or public, and object for the sake of objection.

Therefore, trampling on Shaheen's reputation is, in their eyes, completely unrelated to damaging Taiwan-US relations. However, in the eyes of the Taiwanese people, this political maneuvering is motivated by the opposition's own considerations and lacks any thought or concern for the national good. Opposition parties that act in this way are unable to convince the public that they are playing the role of a loyal opposition camp.

Let us presume that Shaheen was really here to lobby for US arms sales. As a retired diplomatic official, what could she really do? There are many members of the US Congress, retired high-level military personnel and arms lobbyists who have been watching this deal since way back. How can Shaheen compare with them in terms of influence? Therefore, it's unwise to extend domestic political disputes to the diplomatic scene.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top