Since Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took the helm of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the party has implemented an agreement reached with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) -- hatched between former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) during Lien's visit to Beijing -- as its new policy guidelines for cross-strait issues.
A key point in the CCP-KMT agreement is to join forces to oppose Taiwan's independence, as well as the shared understanding regarding "one China" -- -which is by now a code word for the "unification" of China and Taiwan. There seems to remain a disagreement of sorts between the CCP and the KMT as to the timing of "unification" as well as what exactly it entails.
But this disagreement might mean little if things pan out as Beijing envisions. For instance, Beijing might have been assured that a new KMT administration in Taiwan in 2008 -- if Ma's presidential dream is realized -- would quickly succumb to Beijing's pressure and inducements, given Ma's lack of spine and the KMT's hunger for power.
And, the timing of "unification" wouldn't be so important because Beijing might also be confident that it could help the KMT stay in power indefinitely.
It is virtually certain that Beijing would make the promise of perpetual power the bait that Ma and the KMT would find irresistible. And once Ma acquiesced to this, all the other pieces would fall into place. The KMT administration would function as China's "Taiwan-zone" government, deferring to Beijing in all diplomatic matters, and gradually dismantling Taiwan's deterrence abilities.
In fear of openly offending the US and touching off an internal rebellion, Ma would not formally "unify" Taiwan with China, at least not in the early stage. Instead, he would imperceptibly transform Taiwan into a "zone" of China which he has been implying all along -- in all but name. The starting point for this would be the "three links."
Ma would sever diplomatic ties with most of the countries that formally recognize Taiwan. Refusal to conduct "fool's diplomacy" or "money diplomacy" would be his justification internally.
Then, citing past years of failed efforts, Ma would scrap all undertakings in connection with membership in the UN and the WHO.
Ma would also start to distance Taiwan from the US and Japan. Ma only has to cease budgeting for more arms purchases to put a damper on Taiwan-US relations.
Should he refuse to cooperate with the US militarily, the validity of the Taiwan Relations Act would fizzle.
Ma could further reduce the military budget by using peace as the pretext. He could justify the emaciation of the military based on a "peace accord" he would work out with Beijing.
At some point, but only belatedly, Taiwanese people would realize that their future has already been decided for them without their consent.
It should be stressed that Ma's pre-election intentions and promises -- no matter how sincere they seem -- would have no bearing on either the processes or the outcomes regarding cross-strait interaction. Both Beijing and the KMT hierarchy would make certain that matters -- including Ma's initial nod to set things in motion -- be executed and accomplished in accordance with Beijing's orchestration.
In other words, any KMT candidate, once elected president, would eventually inflict the same fatal damage on Taiwan.