Tue, Jun 19, 2012 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Ma’s ‘Teflon’ style the root of his problems: Part two of interview

With the commencement of President Ma Ying-jeou’s second term, former National Security Bureau director-general Ting Yu-chou, in a recent interview with staff reporter Tzou Jiing-wen of the ‘Liberty Times’ (sister paper of the ‘Taipei Times’), offered some suggestions to Ma concerning his style of leadership, his choice of personnel and his policies. This is part two of a two-part interview

Liberty Times (LT): What is the primary objective of national security at the moment?

Ting Yu-chou (丁渝洲): National security encompasses a wide range of complex issues, including national defense, diplomacy and cross-strait issues, as well as non-conventional national security issues. It is the maintenance of sustainable national strategic links, and is the responsibility and burden of all those in a position of leadership.

The government has to be able to keep tabs on potential sources of threats against national security, as well as knowing the level of threat they represent. The government must also understand its own strategic capabilities to be able to come up with effective counter-measures to deal with any change concerning our state of safety, providing the public with a stable environment.

At this juncture, what I feel is the most important and pressing point is the safety of our economy and our psychological state. Though psychological warfare is rather intangible, it is nonetheless ubiquitous, and if our psychological state succumbs to the other side, the results would be severe and the damage incalculable.

At present, there are a few items concerning psychological safety that must be addressed. Primary among them is the crisis of confidence in our leader of state.

With the rough-edged decisions on several important policies recently made by the ruling political party, the people do not know which voice to listen to. In addition, the government’s policymakers do not seem to be able to take into account the people’s feelings and so the people are beginning to turn on the government, causing the government to have low public approval ratings.

A government that has lost the support of the majority of the people will have to try twice as hard to promote certain policies, so the government’s priority right now is to figure out how to salvage its lack of public support.

That cannot be accomplished with just propaganda. The leader of the nation must show resolve and wisdom to slice through all the knots, lay to rest all the current problems and focus on pushing through reforms.

Second is the “unified front” psychological warfare rhetoric that China is using against us. Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was founded 1927, “the united front” rhetoric has been its unfailing tool.

Not only is the CCP waging full-scale psychological warfare against Taiwan, the ever-expanding reach of the Internet also gives Chinese psychological warfare propaganda an ubiquitous presence.

The “three noes” policy — no unification, no independence, no use of force (不統, 不獨, 不武) —adopted by [President] Ma [Ying-jeou’s (馬英九)] administration as the guiding principle for China policy, also does not help because it causes the public to feel that we are living in peaceful times, causing lapses in security-consciousness from the government and its leader and also in society and civil servants.

Since the government does not seem to care about psychological warfare defense for its civilian population, it does not place any emphasis on conducting counter-psychological warfare, either.

How can we not be worried when the government completely ignores the security of the nation against [the threat of] psychological warfare?

Third, the security systems within the government are showing signs of failure. In earlier days, the Human Resource Department’s Second Office handled governmental internal security screening. Later, the task was turned over to the Ethics Offices.

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