Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Personally, I think it's all bullshit; I don't think Chen has changed his position one iota. Why was there none of this "he's giving up on independence" outrage when he declared he would not seek independence in 2000? Or again in 2004? Or when he said he wanted to talk to China on the same basis as the 1992 talks?
Those times he was labelled as an insincere trouble maker, and yet he was saying almost exactly the same things as he is now. The media think he's turned from a rabid independence-supporter to a rabid unificationist overnight - when in fact he's been a moderate president all along.
Incidentally, on the split with Lee: remember we're a few days away from an election where the DPP and the TSU are on opposite sides. The TSU (and PFP) are trying to block the constitutional reform that Chen backs, so it's not surprising a few sparks would fly

This from David in the comments section a while back. Basically, from the vantage point of several weeks later - all points conceded. The entire China Fever phenomenon has deflated even more quickly than I could have guessed. Some quick reflections: first, it seems more and more clear that, looking long-term, China and the U.S. will vie for pre-eminence as deep water navies in the region. This does not necessarily mean war - in fact, acknowledging the adversarial nature of the relationship may help avert a war. But Bush had it right that they are "strategic rivals." Second, in this adversarial relationship, the fault line basically bisects the Taiwanese political landscape - that is to say, for all intents and purposes, the pan-Blues are on the other side from the U.S. If the "We are all descendants of the Yellow Emperor" rhetoric didn't make that clear, then the Blues' obstruction of the arms bill indispensible to Taiwan's defense certainly does.

What is interesting - and revealing - is that while two washed up Blue leaders made their tributary(朝貢) journeys, the two politicians vying to succeed them both declined to do so. The results of the National Assembly elections would seem to indicate why this is. The Taiwanese electorate seems to take the idea of maintaining the status quo so much to heart there are times when the U.S. seems positively hoist by its own petard. Before the Legislative elections, Chen seemed to be threatening the status quo, and the voters made an adjustment; this time, it was the Blues. It's sobering for the Greens to contemplate that, but for the botched assassination, they most likely would have been voted out of office last year. On the other hand, let us not forget that much of the Blue platform in the months prior to that election consisted of the Blues trying to co-opt (what Clinton made famous as "triangulation") much of the Green platform. Remember Lien and Soong kneeling and kissing the ground to dramatize their love of Taiwan? We didn't hear a lot about the Yellow Emperor then. It will be interesting to see in the next presidential election if the Blue candidate will be able to get away with the Formosa-kissing shtick, or if people remember the Great China rhetoric that came after the election.