The old Japanese agricultural research station in Tainan, in use until recently.

There’s nothing like the yawning political abyss that the KMT is dropping Taiwan into accompanied by gray skies and the pitt-pitt-pitt of steadily falling rain every day. It’s more demoralizing than being called stupid by Sharon Stone.

The Taipei Times had an excellent editorial today about the ridiculous comments of Wu Po-hsiung and the increasing perception that the party-to-party negotiations between the two Leninist Chinese parties over the fate of Taiwan have made a puppet of newly-minted President Ma Ying-jeou:

As the Democratic Progressive Party has rightly pointed out, the KMT has shown impatience in starting negotiations with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and done so in a manner that could compromise this country’s sovereignty. The lack of accountability inherent in party-to-party talks, furthermore, threatens to bypass the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), lending credence to fears that real diplomatic work will be conducted in backrooms by individuals who were not democratically elected into office — a system with which Beijing is, by design, fully comfortable, but one that does not represent how a democratic country should conduct diplomacy.

Wu’s optimism about a possible reduction in missiles, meanwhile, is gullibility at its most extreme. For one, even if China were to dismantle or redirect some of its missiles, the fact remains that hundreds would still be aimed this way. One missile — and the threat to use it — is one too many. Furthermore, quantitative cuts mean very little when they could easily be offset by the increasing precision of those still active. In other words, as long as the intent to use missiles against Taiwan exists, talk of cuts is meaningless.

A few years ago, during the KMT Chairmanship election, veteran Taiwan watcher Lawrence Eyton opined:

Ma was widely touted by the media as the favorite, but he was certainly a very odd favorite. When the vote took place, three quarters of the party’s legislators, many high-level party officials such as central executive committee head Chang Che-shen and more than 100 retired generals - the KMT is traditionally strong in the military - had thrown their support behind Wang.

Ma may be popular with the locals, but party elites detest him. Now it looks like the Old Guard is simply going to bypass him, leaving Ma to take the hit. Or win the Nobel Peace Prize, as a scholar suggested a few days ago.

Strange to think about it. Voters declined twice, in 2000 and in 2004, to award the Presidency to Lien Chan, Honorary Chairman of the KMT and probably the one calling the shots behind the scene (although there are some net-rumors that Wu is trying to carve out a position for himself as puppeteer to the President along with other KMT heavyweights). To the extent that voters approved of the KMT ticket in 2004, it was more likely support for the able and popular James Soong, the wily populist Caesar to Lien Chan’s inestimably wealthy Crassus. The irony is that having twice declined to give the crown to Lien, they have nevertheless handed him the keys to the kingdom by putting the weak Ma in power with a KMT legislature at his back.

And the US thinks cross-strait relations are moving in the right direction. I think I’ll go outside now and contemplate the angry gray skies…