Blue vs. Green: Peaceful Dialogue with Mainland, Deadly Struggle on Taiwan
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 12, 2014
Summary: People have become accustomed to blue vs. green confrontation. The domestic political atmosphere has left many numb. They have had their fill of politicians' antics in the legislature. The just convened emergency session is likely end in a melee. People may no longer be angry. But consider the situation from a better vantage point. The KMT and CCP long ago began a rapprochement. Green Camp politicians have recently made a show of goodwill towards the CCP. But here on Taiwan, the blue and green camps remain at each others' throats, and every cut draws blood. Is this political chaos, or is this the failure of democracy?
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People have become accustomed to blue vs. green confrontation. The domestic political atmosphere has left many numb. They have had their fill of politicians' antics in the legislature. The just convened emergency session is likely end in a melee. People may no longer be angry. But consider the situation from a better vantage point. The KMT and CCP long ago began a rapprochement. Green Camp politicians have recently made a show of goodwill towards the CCP. But here on Taiwan, the blue and green camps remain at each others' throats, and every cut draws blood. Is this political chaos, or is this the failure of democracy?
Even the man in the street realizes that Taiwan's political system cannot breath. Tsai Ing-wen has taken over as DPP Chairperson. But she has not changed Su Tseng-chang's policy of obstructionism. She has ordered the DPP legislative caucus to continue blocking the STA and cross-strait agreement oversight regulations. She refused to participate in the upcoming Executive Yuan's national trade conference. She threatened a "fierce battle" during the Legislative Yuan emergency session. She singled out the draft law for free trade zones, saying it was a nonsensical policy that would undermine the political system and hurt Taiwan's economy. She swore to block it with all her might, and demanded that it be totally rewritten.
She is attempting to abort these measures before they are born. She is attempting to prevent the Ma adminstration from implementing any of its economic policies and making any economic contributions. This includes external measures such as the STA and FTAs, and internal measures such as free trade zones.
Meanwhile, the Ma administration has changed its once passive strategy. It has begun to take the offensive. Lai Ching-teh once said that cross-Strait direct flights were a Trojan horse. President Ma fired back. He pointed out how Lai flitted to the Mainland and begged for direct flights to Tainan. Tsai Ing-wen once said that the free trade zones were a "potluck dinner run amok." President Ma fired back. He accused Tsai of distorting the facts for political gain. He fired back at the green camp, charging it with indiscriminate obstructionism, "minority violence," and "minority tyranny." Premier Jiang Yi-hua blasted the opposition for obstructing major policies. He said many young people are highly proactive. "They do not complain about the government all day, and do not attribute their own failures to others." The implication was that the student movement only knew how to complain.
The blue and green camps have intensified their rhetoric and hardened their positions. From a partisan perspective, these are offensive and defensive tactics for the year end seven in one elections. But from the public's perspective, this is a battle to the death. Government policy and the national interest will become a political football. It will become cannon fodder. If the public merely watches the fight from the sidelines, or takes it for granted, the politicians will be able to obstruct anything, and proclaim that democracy is nothing more than the "institutionalization of internal conflict."
Blue vs. green confrontation may leave people weary. But consider the attitudinal changes that have taken place in cross-Strait policy. The bizzarre developments have left people breathless.
In recent years, cross-Strait rapprochement has made blue camp figures shuttling back and forth across the Taiwan Strait a matter of routine. But even more interesting is how many green camp figures have found their way to the Mainland. Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-teh recently visited Shanghai. He is the last of the green camp mayors to visit the Mainland. Everyone is aware of his political coloration, seniority, and prestige. Yet he was terrified of missing the boat. While discussing cross-Strait exchanges at Fudan University he advocated "understanding, comprehension, forgiveness, and reconciliation." His demeanor was moderate and deferential. Tsai Ing-wen welcomed Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun to Taiwan. She even seized the initiative and said that "As long as there are no preconditions, he could even meet the Democratic Progressive Party Central Committee."
What's curious is how Tsai Ing-wen could express so much goodwill toward CCP officials. Yet when the Ma administration invited her to participate in the National Economic Affairs Conference, she abruptly refused. She even orderd the DPP legislative caucus to block any Ma administration bills, forthwith. Could it be that blue vs. green grievances run even deeper than grievances across the Strait? When Lai Ching-teh was on the Mainland addressing cross-Strait exchanges, he spoke of "understanding, comprehension, forgiveness, and reconciliation." Yet the green camp attitude toward the Ma administration is "Do not speak to it, do not listen to it, do not look at it, do not meet with it." It is as if a high wall separates the two parties. Are we to understand that the grievances between the blue and green parties are less amenable to solutions than the historical grievances between Taiwan and the Mainland?
Consider something even more absurd. The DPP has put on an elaborate show of goodwill towards the CCP. But back on Taiwan, it shrilly promotes hatred for Mainland] China. It opposes the STA, opposes the MTA, opposes the influx of Mainland capital, and opposes free trade zones. It waves the "Oppose China" banner to oppose Ma. Isn't this flagrant self-contradiction? For green camp supporters, Ma Ying-jeou has become more hated than Communist China. Hasn't the DPP gone off the deep end?
Political competition allows one to express oppositon, but not indiscriminate opposition. It allows one to have intense feelings, but to resort to any means necessary. It allows one to use one's ingenuity, but not to flip-flop endlessly without taking a firm stand. It allows one to be stubborn, but not if it leaves the nation in ruins. This is why democracies speak of the "loyal opposition." An opposition party can engage in endless obstructionism. But the bottom line is that it must not go against the national interest. The DPP has long trumpeted its "love for Taiwan." Yet its loyalty towards Taiwan appears to evaporated into nothingness.
2014.06.12 02:24 am