Fri, Mar 30, 2012 - Page 8 News List

All aboard Ma’s rudderless ship

By Jerome Keating

Beef restrictions had been put in place under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Then, in 2007, a memo was sent that Chen was considering changing the restrictions; that consideration was never carried out.

Now, five years later, the public has been asked to believe that the current flip-flop of the Ma administration is the result of Chen’s consideration that was never carried out.

What has happened in the past four years? Was the Ma administration asleep at the wheel? Did it feel duty-bound to do what Chen considered?

Finally, Ma declared that there was no backroom deal for US support of his re-election, but immediately after the election American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt showed up on Taiwan’s doorstep like a debt collector, seeking a long overdue bill.

New conflicting winds of direction appeared with the word games that Taiwan must deal with and that Ma asks the people to believe.

The so-called “1992 consensus” should be accepted because though it is fake, Ma does not know how to talk to the People’s Republic of China without it. An obvious question is: Why doesn’t the Ma administration create a new consensus and put it to China and Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan for approval?

However, that would mean the Ma administration would have to take action and accept some form of responsibility. That cannot happen.

The word games continued; Ma said that public health was most important and that there was no timeline for accepting US beef, but his minions know that he wants the sell-out to be completed before he officially takes office for his second term in May.

The latest game is former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) defining China and Taiwan as “one country, two areas.”

In the eight years of his presidency, Chen never had the advantages that Ma has had. The Legislative Yuan, which has always been controlled by the KMT and its allies, did not act as a loyal opposition party. Progress was difficult, but Taiwanese could nonetheless be assured that they knew where their country stood and that its flag would be respected — the flag was never hidden when foreign visitors came, even if they came from China. The opposite has been true under Ma.

Now, the China International Contractors Association seeks to join the International Federation of Asia and West Pacific Contractors Associations, but they have made a list of requirements for their participation. These include that Taiwan, a founding member, cannot use the names Republic of China or Taiwan, and that the national flag not be flown or any other national emblems shown. Taiwanese officials cannot attend in any capacity, etc, etc.

Is this what Ma means when he says that things will be completely different by 2016 when his time in office is over? Should Taiwanese fear the expunging of anything Taiwan-related in Ma’s new world?

Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) is the one who has to take the blame for and explain Ma-speak. He has no power to influence it, but that is standard for Ma’s minions and the reason why there will never be significant progress under Ma.

The main responsibility of Ma’s staff is to take the blame when danger threatens. Ma’s secretary took the fall for illegally putting about US$500,000 in Ma’s account because Ma would never do such a thing. Because Sean Chen must explain all, it is unlikely that he will survive the first year of Ma’s second term.

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