As far as leaders of democratic countries go, there is no denying that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is arrogant. Indeed, he personifies three different kinds of arrogance.
The first kind of arrogance he displays is the arrogance of the powerful.
From an international law perspective, there is much room for discussing Taiwan’s status and sovereignty and the relationship between Taiwan and the Republic of China.
From a more practical perspective, Ma has made seven visits to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies during his almost six years in office. It is hopeful that he has acted as a head of state during all these visits.
However, the question is whether it was acceptable to former Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) or Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for Ma to visit Panama, Nicaragua, the Gambia or Burkina Faso as the head of state of China.
After all, Ma and Xi are not heads of state of the same country. When Ma repeatedly tells the outside world that relations across the Taiwan Strait are not a matter of state relations, he clearly oversteps boundaries as the leader of a democratic state.
Despite criticism from within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and opposition parties, Ma refuses to engage in dialogue on the trade in services and trade in goods agreements — which are crucial to the nation’s economy — or the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), which is crucial to the nation’s sustained development.
In a display of the arrogance of power, Ma is making it clear that his word counts, but not that of others’.
The second kind of arrogance is Ma’s ethnic arrogance.
During his first presidential campaign in 2007, Ma — clearly unable to base his rhetoric in anything but ethnic arrogance — spoke with eloquence to a group of Aborigines in Xindian in then-Taipei County about how he would treat Aborigines as human beings and how he would educate them.
Could the moral education of Aborigines really be any worse than Ma’s, who has previously been caught lying on several occasions, places no importance on keeping his promises and whose wife said he is not very considerate toward other people?
When it comes to formal education, Ma may have more academic degrees, but when it comes to other forms of education, he probably falls far behind the Aborigines.
His statement that he will educate the Aborigines when he needs to be educated himself — if this is not ethnic arrogance, then what is?
Finally, there is the arrogance of the ignorant. Ma, who holds a doctorate in law from Harvard University, clearly has no understanding that people outside their own professions or academic fields often are incapable of understanding the intricacies of the work.
This was also why he could make the ignorant comment that “when the situation at the nuclear power plant is just about to spin out of control, we can destroy the whole power plant and so avoid the radiation problem” in a meeting with Japanese academics addressing the issues and complexities resulting from the radiation leaks at the nuclear power reactors in Fukushima Prefecture after the March 11, 2011, disaster.
He really exposed his lack of knowledge in that instance.
The fact that Ma compares referendums to China’s Cultural Revolution is both frightening and astonishing.