Thu, Jan 05, 2012 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan can’t afford Ma’s inaction

By Jerome Keating

The Taiwanese do not want that. True, they are willing to trade with China, as any other nation is, but they have no desire for union with China and all of its problems. Despite this, a remnant in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) also cling to Ma’s illusion. For them to do otherwise would be to admit that the Taiwanese (taibazi in their ROC eyes) are capable of ruling themselves outside of that myth.

The UN rejected that ROC vision of the world in 1971, and Taiwan will never gain admission to the UN under this name. Ma does seem to recognize the futility of this and he no longer applies for membership as the ROC, but he is still too afraid to apply for UN membership as Taiwan. The US rejected the same concept of the ROC in 1979. It tolerates Ma’s clinging to his myth because, as a good little boy, Ma will not rock their boat. As regards Taiwan (not the ROC), the US’ official position is “undecided and undetermined” — that clashes with Ma’s myth, but he pretends the US still believes in the ROC. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) tolerates Ma also because he, with his ROC myth, will not violate the PRC’s belief in “one China.” The PRC knows the Persian Cat is ineffectual, so it only has to wait until the Taiwan apple falls into its hands. The illusion of “peace in the Taiwan Strait” exists because the US and the PRC, for separate reasons, tolerate “good boy Ma” who, though ineffectual, at least does not rock their boats.

Hoping that people would forget his unfulfilled campaign promises and, in an effort to perpetuate the ROC myth, Ma’s government blew this year’s national arts budget (US$7.1 million) on a two-night musical performance, Dreamers. However, people have not forgotten Ma’s many empty pledges. In 2005, as KMT chairman, Ma promised to divest the party of its ill-gotten gains. That has yet to happen. The profit from the few things sold was simply put back in the KMT war chest and it remains one of the richest parties in the world. Ma also promised in 2005 to protect Taiwan through increased arms procurement, only to block such a move until he could take credit for it after his party returned to power. Finally, last year, Taiwan got simple “upgrades” on old equipment. As the catalog of broken promises continues to expand, Taiwan must realize it cannot afford to waste four more years on Ma.

Is there any hope for a new strategic economic revival? That was abandoned when Ma dropped the seemingly savvy Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) as his candidate for vice president and replaced him with the lackluster but loyal foot soldier Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義). With few accomplishments to show for the past four years, Ma’s final strategy appears to give up on the development and presentation of new policies. Instead he will circle the wagons and rely on smear tactics to vilify his opposition. In such a campaign, loyal soldiers unashamed to promote such stories are his best and only help.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said it well enough some time ago: “Dump Ma to save Taiwan.” Finally more and more Taiwanese are beginning to realize the full meaning of what he said. Time is running out. If Taiwan is to move forward, it cannot afford to waste another four years under Ma.

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