Restore the National Security Council to its Constitutionally Delegated Role
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 14, 2008
As a result of the PNG scandal, former head of the National Security Council Choiu I-jen is divorced and reduced to eating instant ramen noodles. The new administration's National Security Council appointments are being finalized. The recently announced National Security Council appointments consist almost exclusively of academics. The impression such appointments leave is that least scholars such as these are unlikely to perpetrate another Taiwan Goals scandal or PNG scandal.
This is a desirable reaction to the negative example set by the outgoing DPP. This has led to repeated warnings that President elect Ma Ying-jeou not allow the reincarnation of Chen Che-nan, Ma Yongcheng, and Chiou I-jen in his administration. Let this be the end of cliques close to the center of power, plotting behind the scenes, handing down orders from "The Man." As newly-appointed National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi said, the new National Security Council will be one with "integrity and professionalism." Or as newly-appointed Under Secretary-General Ho Shi-ying said, the new National Security Council will not be the Overlord of the Executive Yuan. These two statements are healthy responses to outside expressions of concern.
Actually, during the Democratic Progressive Party's eight years in office, the National Security Council had no shortage of professionals. Many of them were low-profile individuals responsible for key decisions. But under Chiou I-jen's control the system changed completely. The National Security Council became the Overlord of the Executive Yuan. It bypassed normal administrative procedures and implemented national defense and foreign policy, leading to dire consequences. Much of this will require cleanup by the incoming Ma administration.
The National Security Council's function was purely advisory. When it became a decision-maker and directly involved on the front lines, the inevitable result was national policy formulated by a bunch of amateurs, dumped in the laps of professionals to be implemented. For example, the euphemistically-named "Second Financial Reform Campaign," which severely harmed Taiwan's financial system, was based on just such a decision-making model. The Ministry of Finance, which should have been in charge, was reduced to executing National Security Council policy. President Chen Shui-bian's numerous attempts at "transit diplomacy" were another example. Chen's "transit diplomacy" was directed by the National Security Council. Professional diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were relegated to taking orders and carrying them out.
Ignoring the system and the rules allowed Wu Nai-jen, who knew only how to run an election campaign, to organize the Taiwan Goals military arms procurement company. Department of Defense officials, who should have been in charge of submitting a defense budget, were kept totally out of the loop. This allowed the establishment of diplomatic relations with PNG to be entrusted to two middlemen of ill repute. The only duty the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was assigned was to obediently deposit one billion NT into their private bank accounts.
Can arms procurements related to national defense and national security be treated so lightly? Can the establishment of diplomatic relations affecting diplomatic strategy be handled so cavalierly? It's bad enough they violated professional decision-making procedures. Even more intolerable is that these operations often involve major conspiracies. Hundreds of millions in public funds simply evaporate. The executive branch is unable to investigate, and the legislative branch is unable to supervise. The Ministry of Audit remains in limbo. Even after major leaks appeared, the judicial branch still had difficulty prosecuting. The PNG scandal is a textbook case. Key figure Ching Chi-ju is nowhere to be found. The probability of recovering the one billion dollars embezzled is slim. The loss of public funds is bad enough. What's worse is that vital national interests may also have been sacrificed.
This is why the new administration's National Security Council appointments will be the subject of public attention. The public wants President elect Ma Ying-jeou to take these negative examples as a cautionary tale, and prevent them from happening again. Ma Ying-jeou knows what the community expects. Su Chi will lead the National Security Council. Academics dominate the council. This fact will determine the council's future. Theoreticians and analysts make ideal presidential advisors. Such a team will merely offer advice on cross-strait, diplomatic, defense, political and economic strategy. It will not become a shadow government directing the executive branch. It is unlikely to exceed its authority by attempting to execute policy.
To rehabilitate the National Security Council, we must restore it to its constitutionally-defined role. It must fulfill its original role as a national security think-tank. Integrity and Professionalism must be more than a slogan. It must be the constitutional norm.
沒錯，就是因為 負面的示範效應實在太強烈了，才會讓各界最近不斷的叮囑準總統馬英九，千萬別再讓類似陳哲男、馬永成、邱義仁這類型的角色，再在新政府中變身大復活。這個 由一群所謂「接近層峰」核心人士隱身幕後，頻頻交辦「老闆指示」的年代，應該讓它終結掉了。正如同準國安會祕書長蘇起所說的：未來的國安會一定會是「正派 經營、專業至上」！或是如準副祕書長何思因所說：未來的國安會絕不會是行政院的太上皇！這兩個特別的聲明，當然就是衝著外界的疑慮而來。
不諱言說，民進黨執政的這八年間，職掌國安系統的首長，並不乏專業人士，其中有不少人也曾相當低調主導若干關鍵的決策，但這一切都在邱義仁執掌期間「淋漓 盡致」的發揮下開始走調，不僅國安系統逐漸變成為凌駕行政院的太上皇，更經常繞過正常的行政程序來執行國防與外交政策，其所造成的負面效應，不少都必須要 等新政府上台後才能收拾了。
要知道，當一個原本僅具參謀諮詢功能的國安會，經常性的成為實質的決策單位，甚至還直接介入第一線執行，勢 必將造成國家許多重大政策的規畫，變成由一群並不專業的「核心人士」主導制定，然後再交由行政單位執行。例如當初關係台灣金融體制結構轉變的「二次金改」 政策，就是循這樣的模式拍板，而真正該負最後政治責任的財政部，卻只有照單執行的份。再例如陳水扁總統任內多次的「過境外交」，也幾乎大部分都由國安系統 主導，真正專業的外交部也只有聽命辦事的份。
也就是因為這一切既不顧體制也不講章法，才會出現一個原本只擅長輔選的吳乃仁，竟被找來籌 組軍火買賣的鐽震公司，而必須為國防預算負政治責任的國防部主管官員，竟然全在狀況外！同樣的也因為這樣，才會讓與巴紐建交這般重大的外交任務，竟然交給 兩個聲名狼藉的掮客去穿梭操作，外交部唯一的角色，就是乖乖的將十億元匯到他們私人的戶頭裡！
試問：事關國防安全的軍售事宜，能這樣輕 率的處理嗎？事涉外交戰略的建交事宜，能這樣的荒唐操作嗎？如果只是違反決策專業也就罷了，最讓人不能接受的是，這些操作的背後往往總是埋藏了重大的人謀 不臧，動輒數以億計的公帑可能就這麼從人間蒸發了，這中間不僅行政部門無從查核，立法部門無從監督、監察部門遲未開張，甚至在捅出重大紕漏後，連司法部門 的追訴都困難重重。巴紐弊案不就是現成例子？關鍵人物金紀玖已經找不到了，十億元追回機率更是渺茫。而如果僅只是鉅額公帑的損失那也還好，怕的是許多關係 重大的國家利益也一併賠進去了。
也因為這樣，新政府會怎麼布局國安系統的人事，才會受到各界的矚目，社會輿論也才會再三叮囑準總統馬英 九，務必以綠營的這些負面示範為戒，千萬別再讓類似情況重演。馬英九顯然也注意到了這個社會期待，以蘇起為首的國安諮詢委員團隊，學院出身背景的占了絕大 多數，這種組合當然也就決定了這個部門的性質，一群以理論思辨與形勢研判見長的團隊，最適合擔綱的角色當然就是總統諮詢的幕僚。換言之，這個組合只能夠就 兩岸、外交、國防的政經戰略提供建言，不可能有能耐成為幕後指揮行政部門的影舞者，更不可能越俎代庖介入實際的執行。