Saturday, September 03, 2005

China Post Editorial

A poster at Taiwan Forum pointed to this editorial from the pro-KMT China post:

Selling arms to Taiwan now is counterproductive to maintaining the status quo. When in the hands of a pro-indepedence government, the weapons encourage independence sentiments, raising tensions with Beijing. But when they are in the hands of an anti-independence government, they serve the purpose of deterring a forced reunification under Beijing's terms. Beijing has no timetable for unification but also no tolerance for secession.

The Taiwan status quo, cherished by all except the independence activists, can be assured by neutralizing the separatist movement, not by selling more arms to an anti-China administration. The arms deal should at least be put on hold.
This is dazzling illogical. Weapons deter China no matter whose hands they are in. The KMT is not a status quo party; their recent rapproachment with the Communists indicates which direction things will go if they ever capture the national leadership again. Chen and his allies have taken the pragmatic view that independence is not accomplishable given the current political and military climate. Which party is the status quo party? Chen's been in office five years and Taiwan has done nothing rash.

What's interesting about this otherwise bog-standard bit of pro-authoritarian propaganda is this: the KMT may well recapture the Presidency in 2008. In that case, this article is simple a test-drive for the new spin. Out with the old spin! (weapons too expensive and useless) And in with the new! (only KMT should handle them). The idea here is to prepare people to accept that when the KMT gets back into power, it will immediately reverse its policy and accept weapons purchases from the US, probably even the same weapons. I suppose it would be redundant to link hypocrisy and the KMT.

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