Mon, Feb 14, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Put an end to the empty posturing

This interminable blather about party-to-party cooperation continues until we are sick of hearing about it. We no longer want to hear anything about it unless something that actually bears scrutiny as a party-to-party deal has been done. But it won't, at least not in the next few months. And yet the endless talking about it, like some Guantanamo-style psychological torture method, is beginning to cause those of us with functioning intelligences acute mental pain.

First we saw the government and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) flirting with the People First Party (PFP). This was, of course, absurd and everyone knew it to be so, and yet we were told in great earnestness that a deal was just around the corner as soon as PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) returned home from enjoying his ill-gotten gains in the US.

The idea that these two parties could ever find common ground is simply ridiculous. The purpose of the DPP is to retain Taiwan's de facto independent status, and strengthen the identification of the polity with Taiwan, thereby undoing the false consciousness among Taiwanese created by 50 years of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) colonial rule.

The purpose of the PFP is to engineer the return of Taiwan to China. Its Mainlander supporters would rather be ruled by China than by native Taiwanese -- which is what majority rule in Taiwan really means. There is no overlap of interests between these two parties. Their world views are irreconcilable and the idea of their cooperating, if it was ever earnestly meant, would involve such a cynical abandonment of core values as to make one seriously question the political process it was meant to serve.

It should be obvious that if there is to be any cooperation at all it has to be between parties that are committed to making Taiwan work, not handing it over to a foreign power. There is only one blue-camp contender that fits this description and that is the KMT. But not, unfortunately, all of the KMT. The party is radically split between various Taiwanese and Mainlander factions. To put it simply, most Taiwanese in the KMT want pretty much what the DPP wants -- consolidation of Taiwanese power.

The Mainlanders, on the other hand, don't really know what they want. The more idealistic among them -- the Ma Ying-jeous (馬英九), let us say -- think there is some "third way" between pan-green Taiwanese nationalism and the acceptance of "one country, two systems" quietly supported by the PFP. They idealize past KMT rule as rising above ethnic questions, able as it was to earn majority support among all ethnic groups -- at least in the late 1980s and early 1990s -- but fail to see that this so-called harmony was simply the result of a suppression of civil and political rights that they themselves, because of their ascendent position in the power structure, never experienced. And then there is an old-guard rump, which actually wants what the PFP wants but thinks the KMT a more viable vehicle to bring this about.

It should be obvious that the pan greens and the Taiwanese KMT have interests in common and could cooperate. But this is impossible while KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) leads the party and seeks to cultivate support from old-guard Mainlanders. The DPP knows this, which is why instead of talking seriously about offering the KMT some real Cabinet posts they dangle only the meaningless vice premiership before the party.

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