EDITORIAL: Has the KMT gone crazy?

Fri, Apr 15, 2011 - Page 8

It appears that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has gone insane. Its derangement is such that it ignores an external threat to maintain an obvious fantasy. The threat is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the KMT’s long-time enemy and the foe of all freedom-loving people in Taiwan, whereas the KMT fantasy refers to the party’s blind adherence to an outdated Republic of China Constitution in the hope that doing so will help the KMT hold on to what remains of its political power. Moreover, the CCP can see that the KMT has lost its grip on reality, and is setting a trap to gain control of Taiwan.

What made the KMT go mad? According to former presidential adviser Peng Ming-min (彭明敏), the KMT’s recent psychosis could be explained by its loss of power in 2000 to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a pro-independence party that the KMT had previously outlawed and whose leaders it had jailed.

The KMT had assumed that power over Taiwan would be in its hands forever, just as it had assumed in the past that it would control all of China in perpetuity. Psychologically, the KMT’s loss to the DPP in 2000 finally drove home to the KMT the fact that it had actually lost China many years before and had been living a myth ever since. After losing the absolute power it had held for 55 years through its one-party dictatorship, KMT officials felt insulted and desperate, with Peng saying they acted as if they were on the verge of a mental breakdown.

Like any person whose sense of reality is shattered, the party lashed out in all directions, trying to impeach the president and block all DPP policies, even if they involved buying the arms that the KMT could not get enough of in the 1980s and 1990s, and even turning to the CCP for help. The KMT blocked legislation and refused any attempt at national reconciliation. In 2004, when it lost to the DPP again, its leaders refused to accept defeat and initiated a broad series of street protests that paralyzed politics at the expense of the nation.

As a side effect of losing power to the DPP, many in the KMT began to increasingly feel they were on the losing side of a battle against the CCP for freedom and decided to cut their losses. The most striking example of this involves former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), who initiated an annual KMT-CCP summit in 2005 following his second defeat by former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Seeing its enemy thus weakened, the CCP welcomed KMT envoys with open arms, red carpets and promises of economic gifts, true friendship and everlasting peace between brothers. The KMT fell for this hook, line and sinker. The CCP-KMT summits led to meetings between Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, which have resulted in the nearly inevitable economic absorption of Taiwan by China.

Back in power, the KMT is willing to do anything to stay there, Peng says. However, the party should read the analysis of Richard Fisher, a senior fellow on Asian military affairs at the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, of China’s latest defense white paper before relying on the CCP for help. Fisher says the CCP makes it clear in the paper that it wants the KMT to initiate political negotiations toward reunification immediately and that it is using a strategy of economic sweeteners to divide and conquer Taiwan.

In its insanity, the KMT has turned to the CCP to regain power in Taiwan and hopes the Communists will help it hold on to power. However, the KMT is checkmating itself and could lose whatever political control it retains.