Sunday, June 7, 2009

Evaluation of Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou

Taiwan's president, Ma Ying-jeou, has been in office for one year. After his first hundred days, he was criticized for not immediately turning Taiwan's economy around, as he had promised during the presidential campaign.

When Ma orchestrated a warming of cross strait relationship that led to signing a number of economic cooperation including the direct flight from the mainland to bring in tourists, he was immediately criticized for failing to attract 3000 tourists per day to Taiwan. This year, Taiwan is receiving the full daily quota of tourists from the mainland, the local economy is beginning to warm and discussion is now directed toward possible direct investment from the mainland.

Rather than giving any credit for the positive outcome by his administration, extreme pan green supporters are accusing Ma of prosecutorial persecution of Chen Shui Bian. Even though he has steadfastly stayed away from interfering with the judiciary process underway to examine the full extent of Chen's economic crime against the people of Taiwan, Chen's supporters accused him for doing so anyway.

Recently, I attended a conference at Stanford on state of the cross strait relations. The presenters and discussants were uniformedly courteous and genteel. None saw fit to point out Chen's singularly pivotal role in destroying Taiwan's economy during his eight year reign.

"It's the economy, stupid" has been the mantra that governed the success or failure of the last three U.S. president, including the current Obama Administration, but somehow this measure of a leader's effectiveness never applied to Chen.

Since the beginning of 2009, the Taiwan stock market has bounced back by 50%, the strongest recovery in Asia. The Stanford conference took little note and did not even speculate on whether Taiwan's economic recovery and its dependence on cooperation with the mainland will alter the dynamics of the question of independence vs. reunification vs. status quo.

For more information, a recent review of Ma's first year as president published by a major daily in Taiwan and is available in English.

1 comment:

bink said...

The U.S. will never allow reunification and will try to derail any government, even if democratically elected, that challenges its complete hegemony. Failing that, it will simply destabilize the country any way it can.