What are the barriers for CSB?
January 5, 2007 8:49am CST
CSB wants formal independence, but if you look at the realistic steps to formal independence, it’s very high barriers for CSB. Barrier 1 Abolish NUC and NUG: CSB actually needed to abolish NUC and NUG in order to have the legal basis to change the Constitution. But he backtracked to only get cease to function, and cease to apply. I’ll give him credit for being a crafty lawyer who can parse the 4 no’s, and come up with this wordplay to rally his party and further differentiate his party from the KMT. Notwithstanding the wordplay or the debatable Chinese translation, even CSB’s more ardent supporters would have to admit that he backtracked to water down his language compared to his New Year’s bravado. Cease to function, and cease to apply is not the same as cease to exist, which is the legal basis to changing the Constitution. Barrier 2 Legislative hurdles: Since CSB doesn’t have a Legislative majority, it’s unrealistic that he can unilaterally change the Taiwan Constitution. The Taiwanese voters were smart enough to create Executive and Legislative gridlock, allowing CSB bravado, but not allowing the Legislative support he needed to truly advance his agenda. Unless someone has a cogent argument how CSB can realistically get pass this barrier, it’s a moot point to talk about barriers beyond 2 (but I post the other barriers beyond 2, just for illustration). Barrier 3 China imposing soft power as a punitive response to Taiwan: It’s debatable whether CSB even got pass barrier 1 last week (beyond the legal basis). But with this relatively small move, Taiwan is already beginning and will continue to see the financial impact with more disintermediation, less FDIs, downgraded rating, institutional investors burning up liquidity, etc. China didn’t even use its soft power, and we are already seeing the financial impact. I’ve already listed the soft power options available to China so I will not belabor it here. (See that thread for details) Barrier 4 CSB declare formal independence: China uses all soft power options available, including pressuring the major world powers to re-affirm their commitment to the One China policy. Since US increasingly needs China not only for financing, but for help with NK and Iran, it’s reasonable to expect US will continue to support the One China policy and this will be the litmus test of that support. Not only would Taiwan see the market impact, but the full impact of China’s punitive soft power. I will stay away from hard power options since I’m not a warmonger and don’t want to fathom the consequences to all parties. Barrier 5 World recognition of Taiwan as an independence state: Even if CSB declare formal independence, it doesn’t mean anything if he doesn’t have the political, financial, and realistic leverage to gain world recognition for that claim. Self-proclaimed formal independence without world support politically, financially, and realistically, is an act of political desperation, instead of rational sound judgment for what is good for Taiwan. Political rhetoric to differentiate your party and further define your platform is one thing. Continuing the rhetoric to harm Taiwan financially and politically is quite a different thing. Summary: I see these barriers as progressive hurdles against CSB’s ultimate goal for formal independence. Notwithstanding the Chinese translation, and CSB’s clever parsing, it’s reasonably debatable whether he got anything substantive in terms of establishing the legal basis for changing the Constitution. But I will give him credit for making a Pyrrhic political point to differentiate his party and rally his party.