Tue, Feb 07, 2012 - Page 8 News List

Peace Prize for Ma? Let’s be serious

By J. Michael Cole 寇謐將

If anyone involved in cross-strait affairs deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, it is someone who, rather than play into Washington’s myopic game, takes a long-term view of developments and recognizes that “peace” — real peace, as opposed to the mere absence of conflict — between Taiwan and China, can only exist when China either fully democratizes or altogether abandons its claim on its neighbor. For reasons evident to anyone who follows the situation in China, such an outcome is unlikely to happen anytime soon, and certainly not within Ma’s second term.

The award has already been given to an individual before he could do the things that were expected of him and for which he would have deserved the honor. An even greater affront to the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize would be to confer it on individuals who defied reality, acted against the will of their own people and only delayed the day of reckoning, probably making things worse, in a way analogous to the awarding of the prize to former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho for negotiating the Paris Peace Accords in 1973. Ask any Vietnamese at the time how that “peace” felt.

Taiwanese are already at peace with China, and all they want is to coexist peacefully with their giant neighbor. As such, if any Taiwanese president is deserving of the peace prize, it is the person who was sitting in the Presidential Office when the decision was made to abandon the ridiculous strategy of “retaking the Mainland.” From that moment on, Taiwan ceased to be a threat to China. Hobnobbing with politicians who are responsible for repressing their own people just doesn’t make the cut.

On the Chinese side, the Nobel Peace Prize should be considered for any politician who understands the true meaning of peace and, in doing so, has the vision to cease all claims on Taiwan and the threat of the use of force against it, while allowing Taiwanese true freedom to decide their own future. Anything else falls well short of the qualities necessary for an individual to be worthy of the prize.

J. Michael Cole is deputy news editor at the Taipei Times.

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