"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Monday, October 11, 2004

The day after National Day

Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian gave what I thought was a stunning National Day speech yesterday, and the response of both the "pro-independence" and "pro-unification" camps only reinforces this description. Both sides were stunned by the speech.

The speech came just two days after the death of philosopher Jacques Derrida. Derrida's deconstructionist philosophy focused on "reading between the lines;" therefore, it must be remembered that Chen's speech was a political one, and that one must "read between the lines" in order to understand it.

Derrida's philosophy proposed that there are multiple legitimate interpretations of a text. I would tend to believe that it's obvious there are also a number of illegitimate interpretations and that many of the speedy criticisms of Chen's National Day speech are full of 'em.

For example, Chen's reference to the "1992 consensus," in which both sides "agreed to disagree," cannot be simply interpreted as giving in to China (i.e., the likely purposeful misinterpretation of the pan-blues). [CORRECTION: Chen didn't refer to it, as people often do, as a "consensus," but rather talked about "the basis of the 1992 meeting in Hong Kong."] It appears to me that Chen is doing everything he can to move forward toward a dialog with China that will avoid the war that Beijing so desperately seems to want.

Taiwan has been bullied by China for decades with the help of the international community. It has been smeared as a "renegade province," and the world has a tough time seeing through this thick smokescreen. Therefore, threats (like Chirac's as well as recent remarks by Singapore's Foreign Minister) are often made toward Taiwan based on perceptions that its actions are "instigating" tension between itself and China when nothing could be further from the truth.

By repeatedly making such overtures to China, Chen Shui-bian gives Taiwan the upper hand in situations such as when France's President Jacques Chirac voiced a "warning" to Taiwan the day before yesterday during a meeting with China's President Hu Jintao.

The world needs to see through China's lies, many of which they deliver by proxy.
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