Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Triumph of the Will: Chen Shui-bian's "Rule by Confrontation"

Triumph of the Will: Chen Shui-bian's "Rule by Confrontation"
United Daily New editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 23, 2007

Apparently the strong suit of the eight-year old Chen Shui-bian regime is its ability to say: "You want to make something of it?"

Chen Shui-bian, ignoring the fact that he failed to file an application for a road use permit, insisted on running the first stage of the "Join the UN Torch Relay." By doing so, he trampled over the rule of law and further undermined the questionable legitimacy of the "Join the UN" campaign. The tempest over the road use permit is being referred to as an "incident." It would be more accurate to characterize it as a confrontation. The Chen regime habitually resorts to confrontation to get what it wants. This reveals that Chen Shui-bian's goal is not to "Join the UN," but to exploit the political impact of the confrontation itself. Universal chaos means political opportunities.

The road use permit was purely a procedural issue. It has now been turned into a test of strength between central authorities and local authorities, into a contest of wills between a president and a mayor. The problem is not with the Taipei Municipal Government, but with an arrogant event sponsor. The event sponsor intentionally created a situation in which the president would take the lead in breaking the law. The "Join the UN Torch Relay" is a public activity in which a head of state and scores of political appointees intend to participate. Yet the Sports Affairs Council never had any intention of applying for a road use permit. It considered the general public's right to use the roads a non-issue. Chen Shui-bian dared Hao Lung-pin to "Come and get me, if you have the guts!" In his eyes there was no rule of law. It did not exist. His only concern was creating chaos and escalating confrontation.

Whether a government is able to operate smoothly is determined a three levels: At the lowest level is the civil service, its administrative neutrality and its adherence to the rule of law. At the intermediate level are political appointees, their policy-making ability and their administrative style. At the highest level is the ruling administration and its vision for the nation. Since regime change seven and a half years ago, the government's ability to make policy has steadily deteriorated, starting from the top down. The leadership's irresolution, corruption, and incompetence have become Taiwan greatest liability. Mid-level decision-makers have lost the capacity to arrive at independent judgments. Today, even low-level agencies's adherence to the rule of law has been obliterated by the chief executive. How can such a government carry out even its most basic functions?

The sponsors of the "Join the UN Torch Relay" missed the one month filing deadline for a "sporting event." Why not make up for it by changing the application to read "political event?" It would be more honest. The sponsors could coordinate with the Taipei Municipal Government, requesing an emergency dispensation. That would be the normal procedure for a normal government. But the Chen regime taunted local authorities for two straight days, daring them to "Come and get me, if you have the guts!" Chen Shui-bian puts himself above the law and abuses the powers of his office when he engages in such provocations. This is why the ROC is no longer a "normal nation."

The Chen regime's love of confrontation has its roots. When the Democratic Progressive Party was out of office, it provoked endless street corner confrontations to undermine Kuomintang authority. Once it seized power, it used demostrations and provocations against the Chinese Communist Party to gain an edge at the polls. The strategic value of such confrontations is understandable. But Chen Shui-bian is provoking confrontations not merely between people, but also between north and south, and the government itself. It is provoking confrontations between different agencies within the executive, making it impossible for law enforcement and administrative personnel to fulfill their duties. To rule a nation in this manner is selfish, myopic, and callous beyond belief.

Nor is Chen Shui-bian alone. More and more officials have adopted confrontation as a means of dealing with government affairs. For example, Government Information Office Chief Hsieh Chi-wei's recent theatrics in the Legislative Yuan. For example, Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng's glowering responses to outside criticisms. Not forgetting of course Ye Kuo-hsing, who "shot" and executed members of the media with his thumb and forefinger, or Yao Wen-chi, who provoked one controversy after another. These reflect a government and civil service out of control and oblivious about its mission. Rule by Whim has replaced Rule by Law. What kind of face should we associate with such a government? How about the face of a petty tyrant barking out commands? How about a bunch of harlequins leaping about in an effort to steal the spotlight, while conscientious officials look on in silence?

The Democratic Progressive Party is aware of the need for order. But it has chosen to engage in an orgy of mayhem, then to feast on the blood gushing from the nation's wounds. For over seven years, it has shouted slogans promising "reconciliation, harmony, happiness, and joy," not one of which has materialized. It relentlessly leads the people down the road toward confrontation, animosity, and misery.

What kind of language is "Come and get me, if you have the guts!" but the language of a Mafia capo? Yet it emerges from the mouth of our head of state, a man who was once a prominent lawyer and legislator. This man, the "Son of Taiwan" responsible for regime change, is now the same man who has destroyed the island's budding democracy and fragile rule of law. Chen Shui-bian's contorted visage reflects both the ruling party's rapid decay and Taiwan's collective unwillingness to look itself in the mirror.

Chen Shui-bian's eight year long "rule by confrontation" has drained Taiwan of its lifeblood and vitality. Now Chen would have everyone believe that an illegal, unsanctioned "Join the UN Torch Relay" will somehow overthrow the Republic of China and establish a "Nation of Taiwan?"

2007.10.23 03:56 am











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