Saturday, April 23, 2011

Enjoy some links

Not feeling like blogging tonight. Enjoy these links. Here is the recording from Dr Tsai's Breakfast Club meeting today:

Daily Links:
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Su Beng's biographer said...

Thanks so much for posting this! Now I don't feel like I missed out on anything. I miss the Breakfast Club meetings :-(

EconP said...

Based on resume, you would think Tsai has a strong command of economic issues; after hearing her so clearly articulating the fundamental issues of globalization and its challenges to Taiwan, I don't think we could pick a better president than Tsai. Who better to face the issues of a globalizing economy and a looming China than one of Taiwan's top negotiators? Who better to understand the issues?

Talking about stagnant wages and blaming the current government is an old game; Ma did it, and the DPP has the opportunity to do it now. But Tsai squarely puts this dialogue in the context of the global economy and extreme competition, making winners bigger winners but leaving behind a host of losers, and not only in Taiwan but all over the world. This is exactly what needs to be talked about and Tsai is doing it.

When she gave her answer on abolishing the death penalty and how the public must be prepared for this kind of change in order for it to happen or else it will be a big setback for the movement, I knew we had a winner who deeply understood the issues and the complexities of realizing political goals.


Nathan W. Novak (李漢聲) said...

You'd think the DPP would be hammering hard at the Ma administration about his lack of willingness to expend the resources and energy needed to defend "the ROC." But it doesn't seem like anyone is very interested in defense. Everyone's more concerned about nuclear energy, how much of a pay raise civil servants and other officials should (and should not) receive, and whether Tsai Ing-wen is a lesbian. (And we're expected to believe that they all really want F-16A/B upgrades and new F-16C/Ds?)

Meanwhile, the Reds keep working on carriers. How disillusioning. . . .

M said...

That makes her position on the death penalty exactly the same as Ma's.
It also makes it very difficult to see how Taiwan will abolish the death penalty since public opinion is unlikely to turn in favour of abolition any time soon. As Tsai said herself, getting rid of the death penalty is something that people who have received a Chinese education have difficulty accepting.
Sometimes government has to have the balls to lead popular opinion.

I wasn't very impressed with Tsai. She was woefully lacking in actual policies, which is surprising this close to the primary election. The audience was mostly very sympathetic to the green side, but I think she will have to do better to have a chance of beating Ma.

EconP said...

"That makes her position on the death penalty exactly the same as Ma's."

Citation? As far as I can tell, Ma is not for ending the death penalty. Tsai is, but she's smart enough to know that you can do serious damage to the movement if you try to make a go for it and lose.

Look at the whole deal with the 4th nuclear power plant. Chen Shui-bian tried to stop construction, couldn't win because public support wasn't behind him, and created a nightmare 8 years of KMT animosity. The KMT was irrational, yes, but if he only went for it when he was in a position to win, the KMT could've been irrational and a dead party instead of in power now. In the end, Chen Shui-bian was right--nuclear power, in the eyes of most of Taiwan, is not right for our densely populated land, but his timing, even with the hindsight of the Japanese nuclear disaster, was still wrong.

If you don't get this, and dogmatically pursue an agenda that isn't supported by the public, you will only get another 4 years of pure misery and infighting and setbacks.

M said...


Here are some quotes from news sources. Google "Ma Ying-Jeou" and "death penalty".

President Ma Ying-jeou has said that abolishing the death penalty was a world trend, but that Taiwan needs public consensus before it can scrap the death penalty.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has said that although Taiwan hoped to abolish the death penalty, most legislators, pressured by their constituents, oppose the abolition of capital punishment.

Tsai's position and even wording was pretty much identical to Ma's -"abolishing the death penalty is a world trend but we need a public consensus before we can end the death penalty in Taiwan".

EconP said...


Thanks for the quotes. That is informative.

I would say that you really need to look at what Tsai Ying-wen has been saying as a whole.

1) She doesn't seem to be afraid of *talking* about difficult topics. Cf sunsetting nuclear power in a decade.

2) While you might normally cynically dismiss resorting to saying "the consensus isn't there" to an excuse, the idea that policies can only be implemented if there is a political consensus is a huge part of her platform. She talks very much about a new politics, which normally, I think you could also cynically dismiss as the usual politics, I would say that this is a true trend in young democracies. First, you have the authoritarian old guard, then the revolutionaries come in, but there are inevitable issues with corruption or extremism or multiple agendas and eventual disillusionment. And the reversal back to the old guard. All that changes in each reversal is the role of the hero and the villain.

Now, what you need is a synthesis of the extremes. Not revolutionaries. Not heros. And not villains. You need communicative, rational dialogue on the substantial issues facing Taiwan today. Nothing rousing and feel good. Taiwan is in a difficult position, and no savior is going to sweep in and be able to turn things around. Only steadfast, patient reform.

Check out what Tsai talks about here. It's not the emotional, playing on your sympathy strings kind of appeal, and that's kind of the point and the meta-point: Warning: no extreme emotions will be elicited upon watching this. And that--is exactly what is so exciting to me about Tsai.