Where's the Beef? It's Smell the Coffee Time in the USA

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Friday January 01, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Those of us, who live at ground zero in Taiwan, have long grown tired of hearing pundits and distant observers in USA media etc. judge things from a distance and spout or believe the pearls handed them by their past wine and dine Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) friends. For the past eighteen months we have heard those pundits speak in glorious terms about how the election of Ma Ying-jeou was going to solve all the problems in the Taiwan Strait, harmonize the triangle of the USA, Taiwan and China and allow everyone to become millionaires.

So now comes the contentious US beef issue where in addition to giving Taiwan prime cuts, the USA was slipping under the table a lot of refuse it wanted to dump for a profit. Taiwan's legislature rejected it and the USA is supposedly miffed at this "surprising" breach of protocol. But where is the real blame?

If the USA is to be miffed or PO'd at anyone over the beef issue, it should first of all be miffed at itself for it created the Ma monster and his entourage. The USA has consistently misread Taiwan because they have always expected Taiwan to follow is pre-given script for the nation and could not understand anyone who stood up for Taiwan with its sixty-year old "unresolved" status. With Ma, they thought they had their man who could handle the script. The USA bought into the KMT's used car salesman replete with all his platitudes, out-dated ROC Constitution and hypocrisy. Surprise? Not for anyone at ground zero in Taiwan.

After being miffed at itself, the USA can be miffed at Ma for not handling things in a proper way. Even with all of the dumping of refuse for profit, if Ma had prepared the ground, gotten legislative support, etc. he could have gotten this thing passed. After all, he is not only the President but he is the Chairman of his party, the KMT, which has an amazing veto-overriding strength in the Legislative Yuan. A man could not ask for more power in a democracy unless he wanted to restore the good old autocratic one-party state days. Unfortunately, the insipid Ma is not as popular or as competent a leader as he and his PR team have been saying. Smell the coffee anyone?

So what is to be done? Well it looks like there will be a high priced political junket for members of the Ma group to go to Washington to allegedly mend fences, commiserate over this problem with US friends and still ignore the Taiwan people and what has really been going on at ground zero in Taiwan. Can we expect anything more? No, the smell of the coffee is still not strong enough for those who live outside Taiwan's borders.