Saturday, March 29, 2014

NELSON REPORT: David Brown on Hsiao Bi-khim's letter

DPP legislator Hsiao Bi-khim wrote a letter to the Nelson Report, this is a response from David Brown at SAIS at Johns Hopkins. Brown is on the Board of AIT and is a former foreign service officer. His political sympathies will be obvious from the tone of the letter and the direction of its numerous errors and omissions.

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LOYAL READER COMMENTARY ON BI-KHIM/DPP LETTER in last night's Report....Asia expert and SAIS scholar Dave Brown offers some helpful perspective, followed by a note from the hard-working team at TECRO here in DC:

Chris,

Thanks for sharing Bi-Khim's open letter. She deserves respect, but this piece is a partisan statement of DPP views on the current crisis in the LY [MT -- to which Brown replies with a partisan statement of KMT views]. That's her job, of course. [MT -- Hsiao is a politician. What is Brown's job as a SAIS scholar?]

You and others will note that it omits much of the story concerning the STA, which the DPP has opposed from its signing last June. She conveniently omits the DPP's record of obstruction of LY consideration of the agreement.[MT -- just as Brown conveniently omits the KMT's similar record]. That began in the special LY session last fall and continued with dilatory handling of forums on the agreement.

The week before March 17, the DPP had repeatedly prevented the planned article by article review of the STA at the LY committee level. That obstructionism was the proximate incentive for the KMT to ram through a decision moving the STA from committee to plenary consideration on Mar. 18. [MT -- both parties were engaged in it but it was very obviously the KMT that was blocking the process, as Cole notes. For example, here and here. As the pro-KMT China Post notes, it was the KMT that blocked the podium on Mar 13. Recall that the KMT does not want a floor vote, because their legislators don't want to be seen voting for this dog. They want it to become law administratively. Thus DPP obstructionism was not the "proximate incentive" but merely a KMT excuseAnd another error here -- the pact was sent for plenary review on the 17th, not the 18th. Brown has the chronology all wrong.]

It is remarkable that the students reacted so quickly that same evening to occupy the LY. [MT -- this is unconscionable. The Interior committee "closed" the review on March 17 (China Post report) and the protesters occupied the legislature on the evening of the 18th. How is over 24 hours "quickly?" They were not even the same day as Brown claims!]. The KMT has accused the DPP of instigating this action, an accusation that many believe [MT -- and those believers are KMTers]. Unnamed DPP politicians were reportedly on the scene later that evening [MT -- yes, they and TSU legislators were there to protect the students from the police. They were hardly unnamed as they were in their party clothing and easily recognizable -- they were on TV and in thousands of videos and stills!]; and the party endorsed the action the following day, and then encouraged all its members to support the students' illegal occupation.[MT -- of course. When people support your values, you should support them. Hint, hint.].

A DPP poll published a few days earlier had indicated that a plurality of DPP members (40%) were dissatisfied with the party's knee-jerky opposition to every step forward in cross-strait relations [MT -- poll is here]. So rather than have the DPP LY caucus responsible for continuing to block consideration of the STA [MT -- the KMT caucus was blocking too], wasn't it in the DPP's interest to have students play that role? [MT -- yes. Perhaps Brown should ask why the protests have majority support and why so many students, including many of my own, were willing to come out. Not to mention that 70% of the public supports a line by line review, the review the KMT was trying to stop. And as polls show, that dog of a pact only has 20% support now.].

Bi-Khim portrays this as a struggle for democracy. It's really another fundamental clash of approaches toward the mainland and toward Taiwan's future [MT -- Ummm... hello! What is that but a struggle about the future of Taiwan's democracy!]. But if its about democracy, is the DPP's repeated physical blocking of LY action democratic? [MT -- is the KMT's? Obviously, the DPP's tactics are in the realm of normal tactics practiced by both parties in Taiwan's democracy. Obviously cutting off the review before it occurred was not.]

The DPP's problem is that the KMT, divided as it is, has a LY majority, and the DPP will go to whatever lengths are necessary to block the majority when their key interests are involved or when it suits the DPP's election mobilization goals to exploit issues for political advantage. [MT -- Brown is obviously trying hard to gin up a DPP conspiracy here. Can we have some actual evidence, please? O wait... Brown doesn't have any.]

I suspect that the fall election is a key consideration in how the party is handling the issue. In this country we would not permit such obstruction to occur in the Congress, and we would not view the DPP's obstruction tactics as legitimate democratic action.[MT -- once again, the 'only the DPP is doing it' refrain. Let's quote The China Post on the Mar 13 fun: "Several KMT legislators blocked the podium to prevent anyone from taking it; on the other hand, DPP legislators stood along the roster and held every microphone installed on the table."]

Taiwan is a democracy in transition. It faces challenges and some of those challenges come from the DPP. [MT -- let's recall why we're a democracy in transition -- because the KMT shot thousands of people and locked up thousands of others, and suppressed democracy here for decades, while the people who formed the party you say is engaging in 'undemocratic' tactics stopped them. You bet some of the challenges come from the DPP, but the vast vast majority of the problem is the "success" and legacy of the KMT.]

Dave

UPDATE: As J Michael Cole observes:
Brown was not speaking on behalf of AIT, as he is only a board member, nor was he a hatchet man on the Ma Ying-jeou government payroll. He’d simply involved himself into a very complex issue without fully understanding its context. And who could blame him, given that the media he likely relied upon for his information about Taiwan often couldn’t tell the difference between the Legislative Yuan and the Executive Yuan? However, sources tell me that Brown hadn’t set foot in Taiwan in about seven years, sadly a not unusual absence for academics that are considered experts on the island’s politics.
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57 comments:

Anonymous said...

So true man, so true.

Anonymous said...

Brown holds only a BA and is an adjunct professor. He's apparently a career diplomat who has spent his career writing and consulting. I'm not really sure how this man is significant in the larger scheme of things.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know what the background is on these men: The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Institute in Taiwan is Mr. Raymond F. Burghardt. Mr. Joseph Donovan is a trustee and AIT's Managing Director. The other trustees are Messrs. David Brown and Douglas Spelman.

Anonymous said...

I read this as KMT Corp. has the AIT in its pocket, whereas DPP which does not have the $$ clout of the KMT is seen as obstructionist to progress and stability. Also, the US has long recorded history of choosing political allies who ensure regional instability.

Michael Turton said...

Brown holds only a BA and is an adjunct professor. He's apparently a career diplomat who has spent his career writing and consulting. I'm not really sure how this man is significant in the larger scheme of things.

He may or may not be, but the Nelson Report certainly is.

Michael

Michael Turton said...

I read this as KMT Corp. has the AIT in its pocket, whereas DPP which does not have the $$ clout of the KMT is seen as obstructionist to progress and stability. Also, the US has long recorded history of choosing political allies who ensure regional instability.

I don't think AIT is in the KMT's pocket. I expect they are as exasperated with Ma as they can be and are more willing to consider Tsai. Plus the international situation will change as China continues its progress on its war trajectory. This can only help acceptance of the DPP in the US.

Michael

Anonymous said...

I think a trustee of AIT with this kind of bias view is very dangerous. The situation in Taiwan is fluid. A major test of public sentiment will happen on 3/30. Students are calling for people to participate in public demonstration on that date. How many people shows up will influence the public opinion.

This could impact the election at end of this year or even the presidential election at 2016.

Ninon Lee said...

How much money you could have after this speech? how to let these Taiwan most clever students and professor get together to fight with blubber Ma...
How do you know our angry...how do you know how much we paid for these 6 years...President Ma is the first one that National Taiwan university wanna to fight ...

Anonymous said...

I previously left a comment with a reference to PTT BBS. Please disregard all of my comments all together. Really appreciated it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, Michael Turton. You are so, SO green :P

Anonymous said...

Strange how the truth always gets twisted by the KMTards and their lackeys.

Its obvious what happened.

Likewise, its an on-going sad joke that the KMT tries to position itself as the beacon of "democracy" when every thinking person here knows the truth.

It will be interesting to see how many of the mini-kmtards show up at their goofy carnation rally today.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent article. DPP's repeated pursue of violence, both physical and verbal, manifests the party’s anti-democracy core. The political clowns at DPP have not shown any true concern for the future of Taiwan. Instead, they continued to distort nearly all policies and treaties that fuel the long-term prosperity of Taiwan. It is widely believed that DPP does this for its own political gains, particularly the elections. Further more, DPP and its supporters habitually slander those who have different opinions. Mr. Brown states that “Taiwan is a democracy in transition. It faces challenges and some of those challenges come from the DPP.” Truer words have never been spoken. DPP is the real destructive force to democracy as well as to Taiwan’s future.

Anonymous said...

hi,
i am a Taiwanese college student.
really love your sharing!

it makes me wonder if David Brown is somehow in the KMT's pocket...

Aaron Lin

B.BarNavi said...

"anti-democracy core"

Because it's only democracy if you sit back and docilely accept the will of your overlords who just happened to win elections, right? Freedom is Slavery, etc. etc. etc.

Daphne Tang said...

Thank you, Mr. Turton, for posting this article. The comments from below makes me very sad. How someone choose not to challenge the facts or views presented by the author but only question his motive and background! I hope you can provide the link to the original source. (Beware also the article has an exposure on the China Times. I guess the author will face flood of comments thrown at him.)

gr said...

I am a Taiwanese and am angrily surprised that David Brown sounds like KMT's mouthpiece rather than an objective observer of the mainstream public opinion. So corrupted....
He is doing enormous harms to Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

I am a Taiwanese living in Taipei, there is no specific political stance. I strongly support Dr. BROWN comments and observations.Taiwan, there is another voice!

Tommy said...

"In this country we would not permit such obstruction to occur in the Congress, and we would not view the DPP's obstruction tactics as legitimate democratic action."

That's cute. "In this country…" is not really relevant, is it?

Anonymous said...

A superb riposte to David Brown's biased analysis. Anyone who has ever met him knows he is "deep blue."

Anonymous said...

Superb critique of Brown biased analysis.

Anonymous said...

Brown being a former US State Dept official, it is very typical for the US State Dept to state such information. From my interactions with US State Dept, I estimate about 90% are anti-Taiwan and pro-China engagement. Many in the US State Dept view Taiwan as an obstacle to its relationship with China. If anyone from the US State Dept refutes this statement, you may call them a liar.

Michael Turton said...

The speaker in the above comment is a former US government official.

Michael

曲一蕃 said...

I believe that both parties have been doing a poor job and both parties blocked the podium or did whatever they can to prevent anything that was against their benefits, however, as a student in Taiwan, all I see is chaos, and that's not the Taiwan I used to know. I think that the KMT legislators did a bad example as they tried to smuggle the case through its official procedure and I totally agree that this needs to be adjusted. On the other hand, I also think that the protesters have gone way too far across the line. In such a democratic country like Taiwan, it is everyone's right to speak for their beliefs, but not by occupying the LY. If this is acceptable, then I believe that in the future, whenever we have any protests against the government, people will take over the LY again. I agree that the government sent police to fight off the people that occupied the EY because it's against the law, and when you break the law, the police will get you.

Anonymous said...

i don't think it does matter in what position the spokeman is. please don't ever be that snobbish, people. the saying about barrier of democracy means that DPP does have times being so against something just because which is about China

Bella said...

Would David Brown condone the American congress violating the US constitution?
That's what happened in Taiwan.
His support of the KMT,
saying that students broke the law,
is an example of the pot calling the kettle black.
The students were there because the KMT broke the law!

Lua Bing said...

About his comment:

>> In this country we would not permit such obstruction to occur in the Congress, and we would not view the DPP's obstruction tactics as legitimate democratic action.

I would say his comment is at best completely distorted, and lying at the worst.

I think he had forgotten the filibusters in the US Senate and the recent actions to force the government's shutdown.

What DPP did was not helpful to its cause, but compared with what had happened in the US congress is like 小巫見大巫.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this letter.

Anonymous said...

....MT -- once again, the 'only the DPP is doing it' refrain. Let's quote The China Post on the Mar 13 fun: ........


What a biased comment.

You forgot to mention that 30 seconds, when the chairman of the committee who is a KMT member, was pushed away from the podium by DDP ; he was not able to do his duty. He had to made the announcement away from microphone and the podium.....

If you support DDP, please indicate so. Stop pretending you are neutral.


Michelle T

Michael Turton said...

Actually, Michelle, I don't pretend to be neutral. I am a pro-Taiwan, pro-democracy blogger.

As for who has blocking the committee, the Chair of the review was DPPer Chen, and when he attempted to take the podium on thursday and friday, the KMT repeatedly blocked him.

I am merely showing that Brown's assertion that only the DPP was obstructing is clearly wrong. Anyone can read Cole's piece to see clearly what happened, both sides were obstructing.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Regardless, bias or neutral...can you provide a link to the "Nilson Report" or "Nelson Report" to the discussed report?

Much Appreciated!!

Peace Out!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Michael,

Would you mind giving us the link to original post, or anything official, about Brown's letter on The Nelson Report?

Thanks!

Kai

Anonymous said...

I can't agree with you more on this. What the speculators don't see is that, there is this huge silent spiral going on, and that many people do support the trade pact. This student movement does represent DPP and those 500,000 ppl on the street on 330(which I seriously think it's been exaggerated), but what about the voices of the other 22,500,000 Taiwanese citizens? You can't simply occupy the LY n say that you are the unison voice of the ppl. Mr. Thornton, I''ve followed your blog since hearing about you from Prof. Sutter, n have always respected your point of view. However, I strongly disagree with the DPP's manipulation over students to suit their propaganda. People who support the trade pact do seem like minority now, but hey, who knows? Lets find out in the next election, then you can tell me, who really represent the voice of Taiwan.

Michael Turton said...

However, I strongly disagree with the DPP's manipulation over students to suit their propaganda.

The DPP is not manipulating the students. I know some of these kids. The students have struggled to keep their distance from both parties. Stop it with the silly KMT propaganda please.

Michael

Michael Turton said...

Regardless, bias or neutral...can you provide a link to the "Nilson Report" or "Nelson Report" to the discussed report?

Much Appreciated!!


Its not on the Internet. It is available only as a email and costs $$.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Several political observers have stated that David Brown is representing certain group in the US state department which express their displeasure on DPP to warn DPP not to rock the boat.

It is my opinion that US state department operate on the principle of maximize US interest. Morally right or wrong have nothing to do with it. US dose not want other trouble in Asia where situation is already complicated.

I believe David Brown knows full well on what is happening in Taiwan. He was instructed to write this letter. He is not an official so he can play the role of bad cop.

If the situation changes, AIT, state department or even member of congress can play the role of good cop.

Anonymous said...

可以收場了!
新聞媒體現況轉播立法院公開記名投票,贊成或反對投票一一呈現在2300萬人面前!! 歷史共頁 後果共同沉擔 立委名流千史 和萬世罵名自己負責!

KMT讓步不以多數優勢表決,以同等票與DPP一起在立法院投吧!

Time to get this over with.
As KMT claimed this STA is the future of Taiwan, let this Historical moment be taken in front of 2.3M pair of eyes.

Legislators vote, one-by-one in front of live media feed. KMT should back down a little bit, let both DPP and KMT parties have equal voting rights on this STA along with rest of parties, no domination from any single party!! Allow 2.3M Taiwanese to see who voted Yes and who voted Nay!

The fate of Taiwan in hands of few people, let take place in front of all Taiwanese. Fame or Shame, let it be!

If backing out of international contract will damage Taiwan's reputation and Taiwanese insist, let it be it!

Anonymous said...

On March 10, 2011, protesters surged into Wisconsin capital building and occupied it. David Brown must have known about this incident.

In my opinion, this is similar to what happen in Taiwan. David Brown claim that "In this country (US) we would not permit such obstruction to occur in the Congress". This is a disingenuous statement.

WP said...

Half million Taiwanese people protest KMT, that is the only truth about this student movement!

Readin said...

In this country we would not permit such obstruction to occur in the Congress, and we would not view the DPP's obstruction tactics as legitimate democratic action.

It is true that the Democrats "deemed" health care to have passed thus short-cutting the legitimate legislative process. And recently rules allowing the decades long tradition of allowing filibusters was revoked when Republicans were found to be using it as effectively as the Democrats had been.

So Mr. Brown appears to be correct on this point.

Several comments above imply a connection between this Nelson report and AIT. It raises and interesting question: is there any connection between the White House's approval of such techniques at home and the supposed White House approval of such techniques in Taiwan? The KMT and the American Democatic party seem to have a lot in common tactically, but I would expect the attitude toward Taiwan to be more motivated by White House self-interest than by any shared philosophies.

Readin said...

As an American conservative, I tend to think of process being as important as outcome. Good government isn't just government that does what I want, but government that reaches its decisions in an orderly democratic fashion according to agreed upon rules. As such I have some sympathy for the argument that the students are acting outside the law and are thus attacking Taiwan's democracy. One might compare them to the 2011 take-over of the capital in Wisconsin.

However I make a distinction because I don't think Taiwan has yet reached the level of democracy that America has. America has an exceptionally good Constitution written by people who expected it to be followed regardless of which party came to power and by people who were building on a long tradition of democracy and Christian values, as well as a shared experience of successful revolution.

Taiwan's constitution was written in very different circumstances and even the reforms were generally fought over by people seeking advantage for their party (as opposed to their people).

And even as good as America's original constitution was, it took an extra-constitutional civil war to get rid of slavery. But now, we have a pretty good constitution if we would just follow it.

I don't think Taiwan has that. Nor does it have a sufficiently low level of corruption to trust election results.

As such, while I would find a takeover of America's capital building by protesters to be intolerable, I think the takeover of Taiwan's capital is more understandable, especially given that an issue related to sovereignty is at stake.

suetien said...

Yes, it is understandable. But, still, it does not make it right. As for people who brought up the Wisconsin incident, my take is that if one needs to justify for his/her actions, the underlying message is that something unjustifiable has been done.

陳秋白 said...

How come Dave Brown plays his role like a KMT’s parrot?


Jeff

Anonymous said...

"my take is that if one needs to justify for his/her actions, the underlying message is that something unjustifiable has been done"

So if I kill someone in self-defense and am arraigned, I shouldn't say in court why it wasn't murder? Just let myself get convicted and go down for it?

Interesting...

Anonymous said...

I do not assume whatever AIT or any US government official say are always true. They say things when it is good for the interests of USA or other personal agenda. Right after World War Two, the United States helped Japan in concealing the human experiment on Chinese in China. Those Japanese doctors later became world famous experts in human skin exposure to below freezing temperatures. The USA gained the benefits of the knowledge and result of those experiments. Those experiments were illegal and were against all international treaties. But who care? The United States do not care it is morally wrong. It's the poor Chinese soldiers and people suffering the inhuman torture. In short the United States was not, is not and will not be the moral beacon of the world. The USA acts as the morale beacon of the world only when it is good for her national interests.

The gentleman formerly affiliated with AIT probably did not see or has forgotten the protests in Vietnam era in US. There were students occupying schools, government buildings.... Some student protesters were killed or wounded. Now we look back. Those protesters were morally right and they paid the price of wrong policy by US president with their lives. Not one of the elected officials paid the price of the wrong policy leading to the loss of thousands of young Americans!

I will read this article by this former AIT gentleman with reservation. This protest is probably initialed by students. It is true that DPP helps the students to maintain the occupation of legislature yuan. If KMT members want to help the students, I am sure the students will welcome the help from KMT members too.

The occupation of legislature yuan is ILLEGAL. Just like the student protests in Vietnam era, only history will tell if these students are right or wrong. I only feel sad that these young students will go through the prosecution of the current judicial system. The prosecution will be cruel and out of proportion under KMT administration. They may be jailed or harassed for many years like the dissidents many years ago. No government officials will pay for the price of wrong policies or illegal legislature maneuver. The only people who will suffer most are the ones sacrificing themselves for others and standing up to protest.

As a Buddhist, if Kama will run its course, I pray for those pursuing the right will go to good places and those helping the evil and the bad will receive their bitter fruits.

Anonymous said...

I am optimistic about outcome regarding the students in the "Sunflower movement".

Some of us remember Kaohsiung Incident(美麗島事件). From that point forward, many people have been working on fixing democratic system in Taiwan.
There are important changes in law, legislature and judiciary system.

Lots of people have been jailed, lost their love one, or even lost their live for us to win those changes. Their sacrifice will not be in vain.

500,000 people have stood up on 3/30 to said that we will not get getting railroaded.

We have waited 67 years since 228 incident in 1947 for the sun to rise. We will see this happen.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:40 PM I think hits the nail on the head.

Anon above @ 12:33: It is true that DPP helps the students to maintain the occupation of legislature yuan

Show me proof. I do not believe this is the truth. (on a political level)

The root problem came from the KMT's mishandling of the service pact approval. They wanted to force their secret agreement with the CCP through without oversight.

As MT states, this has been festering for months. It was the way the review was handled that caused the final explosion.

Dennis said...

Holy Christ, and this guy's a professor at SAIS? maybe he needs to get out a little bit more... the arguments he'd put out are hardly.... arguments....

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mr. Turton:

Would you be kind enough to post the full text of David Brown’s letter to The Nelson Report, or give me the link to the original post, so I can evaluate what he really said, in his own words?

Oldtimer

Michael Turton said...

That is the original text, with my comments interspersed, as far as I know.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Mr. Turton:

Would you then give me the link to the original post, so I can evaluate what he really said, in his own words?

Oldtimer

Michael Turton said...

Sorry, its a privately circulated email list. No link. That is his original text as i understand it

Judy Linton said...

I have always known that the State Department consists mostly of China sympathizers, having had dinner with the highest ups and talked to them directly. (I wonder if it was Brown himself that we had over? Will have to check.) Their eye is on China and from the highest up's own words at my dinner table, "Taiwan is the canary in the mineshaft." - meaning, they regard Taiwan only as a gauge of what China's response would be. He didn't even realize his illustration was insulting to our 23 million, and he revealed to me how little Taiwan means to the US administration. And now, a diplomat is condemning the students WITHOUT one bit of condemnation towards the KMT's unconstitutional proceedings. Where are the Americans with integrity? If he were in China at the right time, he'd be condemning the students at Tiananmen Square. I really have a hard time with Americans who don't care a thing about democracy.

Anonymous said...

If anyone doubt that US practices "Realpolitik", we only need to take a look at Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

At the end, what really matter is what people in Taiwan wanted to do. Other people can try to influence the outcome but it is Taiwan citizens who need to make that decision.

1776, people of US decided to go against the most powerful empire at the time so they can govern themselves.

People of Taiwan need to make that decision soon. Sunflower movement is just the start.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Turton:

Since you are reluctant to share with the readers David Brown’s original comments, but, instead, preferred to cherry pick Brown’s words and presented your rebuttals, I hope you at least have the spirit of fair play to air Peter Lee’s article “What’s going on in Taiwan?” to give the readers another point of view!

Oldtimer
What is going on in Taiwan
http://atimes.com/atimes/China/CHIN-01-020414.html

Michael Turton said...

Oldtimer, read the fucking blog. I already posted on Lee's article. It's pro-KMT, pro-corporate crap. Lee is just carrying water for the KMT and its neoliberal values.

As for the Nelson Report, that is what Brown wrote. As I have said. For the third time.

Michael

Michael C said...

What is Democracy?

Frankly speaking, Democracy is where majority of people share same common interest. The Majority will listen and respect Minority (or not) and in turn Majority has her own way!!

Like it or not, this is the truth of democracy!

And usually whoever has power will have his way. Like it or not it is up to the legislatures, with their own integrity (hope they have some) to set policies and regulations in the best interest of the majority of population they serve to!

Gin Gläser said...

[MT -- Brown is obviously trying hard to gin up a DPP conspiracy here. ... ginglaeser.blogspot.de