Mon, Jun 01, 2015 - Page 12 News List

Joey Neihu’s Chopped Suey: The realpolitik of fake

In his inaugural column, Joey says that presidential hopeful Tsai Ing-wen has to come up with a fake cross-strait formula different from the fake “1992 consensus” when she gives a speech in Washington on Wednesday

By Joey Neihu  /  喬依內湖

Tsai Ing-wen at the DPP’s Central Standing Committee meeting last month.

Photo: lo pei-der, Taipei Times

The other day, I was enjoying a quiet repast at a Taipei watering hole that my cousin Johnny Neihu (強尼內湖) introduced me to, when in walked my good friend and world traveller, Gully. Gully had just returned from Washington and was bursting with news that Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its presidential candidate, will deliver a speech in Washington on Wednesday. That raised a few eyebrows.

Wait a minute, I said, didn’t former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) managing director Barbara Schrage lay into Tsai there a few months back, when Schrage pooh-poohed Tsai’s cross-strait policy as “disappointing?”

Piece of cake, Gully said. Schrage was simply saying that Tsai needs to get her act together if she wants to pass the DC test. Tsai disappointed the bigwigs last time she was there in September 2011 — as then DPP candidate for the 2012 presidential election — because they felt she didn’t spell out how she’d solve Taiwan’s myriad issues with that shifting 2,000-pound gorilla on the other side of the Taiwan strait. They don’t like vague namby-pamby beating around the bush in Washington. They want clear-cut, detailed answers.

Fair enough, I said, but hasn’t the US position on Taiwan been “undecided” for the past 70 years? That seems a bit like beating around the bush.

Now Gully’s a Brit, but he does stand up for the US on occasion. So he explained: That’s a different vagueness; the US is keeping its options open. Tsai should be more like the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which invented the fake “1992 consensus,” a formula based on some bogus notion of “one China.”

Feeling I was catching on, I asked if the US likes fake? Is that why it historically backed the KMT?

Now you are getting it, said Gully. The US has no problem with fake; fake is different from beating around the bush. The KMT faked its love of democracy for years during martial law. That fake helped the US when it was against China. But now the US wants to cooperate with China.

Not wanting to let Gully off too easily, I said that China had never really agreed to the fake “1992 consensus” in the past. Their leaders only changed their mind when the fake consensus could be interpreted favorably with their fake idea of one fake China.

True, Gully answered, but some in the US fear that Taiwan’s actions might get the US involved in a war; wars are destructive. Understand?

No problem, but then how do you explain the Persian Gulf war, the war in Afghanistan and the fake weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that led in part to the Iraq war? Those latter two wars have been destructive quagmires and had nothing to do with Taiwan.

Gully was not to be distracted. Those are different, he said. There are wars and then there are wars. The Gulf war was more a matter of oil and the WMD — that was a fake of a different kind.

Not sure I was following Gully’s logic, I went back to Tsai’s reception. OK, but today’s not the 18th century when people invented fake maps like that chap George Psalmanazar. Schrage was an AIT bigwig, and the institute has had real directors here for more than three decades. So shouldn’t the US with its lingering uncertainty understand the dilemmas faced by Taiwan’s democracy?

Gully admitted that, of course, Taiwan is a democracy. But its people have not been following the US’s script. That’s not very democratic of them, he said. Sensing a breakthrough I blurted, so you mean that the DPP should say that it is “uncertain” about the cross-strait relations?

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top