Sun, Sep 26, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: There's little upstairs at the KMT

The legislative elections are fewer than 80 days away, so we might have expected the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) would have come up with something bold in policy to sway those voters who have, under Lien Chan's (連戰) abject mismanagement, been leaving it in droves. But all we saw was Lien telling the party faithful that calling Taiwan "Taiwan" would result in war with China. Calling Taiwan "China," however, would ensure peace. What Taiwan needs, according to Lien, is to negotiate a peace treaty with China. Apparently this is to be negotiated between the two governments "as equals." And it will guarantee peace for 30 years.

What might we make of this? For a start, let us note that trying to scare people with threats of war is a piece of nonsense that didn't work in the presidential election in 2000 (remember the sonar commercial) -- nor has it worked in any election since. Lien, like the Bourbons, has learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

It is hard to know what China's negotiating "on a basis of equality" would mean. For China to see Taiwan as an equal would be to admit either that Taiwan is a sovereign state, or that the PRC is not the successor state to the ROC it claims to be and that the civil war was not in fact decisively won. There is nothing to suggest that Beijing will favor either of those positions. And why 30 years? Why a time limit? This sounds suspiciously like the adoption of the notorious "interim agreement" strategy, where Taiwan is guaranteed peace for a certain period of time on the understanding that it will then open serious negotiations about unification at the end of that period. Since Taiwan's walking out of such negotiations would probably result in war, the interim agreement strategy means buying peace for yourself at the expense of leaving your children to submit to tyranny. From Lien we would expect no better.

But from whom might we expect more? Yesterday's conference came on the heels of last weekend's two-day think-in by the Taiwan New Hope Link, a group of younger KMT members trying to thrash out what, in the absence of any meaningful leadership from the top, their party should stand for. This badly needs doing, so it was sad that the ideas on display made a beauty pageant contestant's wish for world peace seem profound by comparison. Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) for example, thought that Taiwan-China relations were best characterized as relations between the "free area" and "the mainland area" -- terminology and thinking straight out of the late 1980s.

Our favorite moments, however, were when academic Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that the KMT's problem in elections was that Hoklo speakers were not smart enough to understand the intellectual arguments put forward by the "highly educated" KMT candidates, and Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) said they were so ignorant of history that they wouldn't understand the "significance" of the KMT's comparison of Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to Adolf Hitler in the runup to the Presidential election.

We think they understood the "significance" very well -- as another indication of the KMT's contempt for voters, its reliance on immoral demagoguery and its utter ethical and intellectual bankruptcy. And nothing has changed yet. The KMT reminds one of an anencephalic baby; that is, a baby that is born with most of its brain missing. One of the telltale signs of anencephaly is that a light shone on the back of such a baby's head will project through its eyes -- there is simply nothing in between. Put the KMT in the media spotlight and you get the same result, for the same reason.

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