I had a great post planned out for today. My starting point was going to be my friend J Michael's post asking if the DPP is being played by the KMT on the US beef issue. I was going to reference the history of the KMT attempting to stoke anti-Americanism in Taiwan, starting the discussion with the fake riots in 1957 and then zoom through the riots in 1978 when Warren Christopher showed up to announce that recognition has been switched to China. Then I was going to ask if the beef issue -- determined at the highest levels by Ma's right-hand man Su Chi, head of the National Security Council -- was just another in a long string of these events (like the refusal of US aid during Morakot) meant to create separation between the US and the people of Taiwan. I was even going to relate it to the KMT's long-term goal of separating Japan and Taiwan too, in order to move the island into China's orbit. Boy it was going to be a great post.
I used to think the beef fracas might be interesting somehow, but now I'm just so damned tired of this issue of subsidized, environmentally destructive, imported dead cattle flesh being a "health" and a political issue in heavily polluted Taiwan with its mass use of agricultural chemicals and antibiotics and relentless habitat destruction, along with consumption of things like snake blood, shark fins, and cockroaches, that I decided not to write the post. Really, there is nothing more to be said.
For god's sake, DPP, stop the insanity. In case that isn't clear, stop the insanity. If you're going to pick an issue to piss off the US, pick something worth fighting over. The KMT is playing you guys. Beef is an issue the bad guys are using to drive a wedge between the DPP and the US. And you take the blame.....
So instead of long post, dear reader, consult the two good pieces in today's Taipei Times. The first is an extensive article on the Ma Administration delegation to the US, now canceled, and the beef issue in general. The second is an editorial on the beef issue and the incompetence of the government. Taiwan News has a piece on US experts saying that Taiwan has mishandled the issue, and that it will affect a Taiwan-US FTA. Hello, what's more important? Beef or overseas markets? If Uncle Sam wants to subsize our consumption of high quality steak, by all means, let him!
- The Economist's Strait Talking notes that public support for Ma is waning. It says "The few thousand Chinese tourists who come every day are making little economic impact." The actual figure is less than 2,000. It also says "[ECFA] is born out of his fear that Taiwan, already ravaged by the financial crisis, will be marginalised as a free-trade pact between China and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) takes effect this January." Do people really believe that nonsense? ECFA is born from Ma's desire to marginalize Taiwan into a province of China. Period. The first step is integrating Taiwan's economy into China's. Period. The ASEAN FTAs are just a convenient excuse. There is some genuine fear in certain quarters that Taiwan will be marginalized by the FTAs, but nothing suggests Ma really cares.
- This Taipei Times commentary discusses some of the internal politics of KMT elites and their meetings with Chen Yunlin.
- My friend Andrew has just finished a new book on postwar justice in Germany.
- The latest Taiwan What's Up is out.
- Chinese admiral says the Peaceful Riser© needs an overseas base.
- SPECIAL: Krugman on Chinese mercantilism.
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