Remember when Chen Shui-bian was Mad Chen, and war was just around the corner? Luckily we have the more rational Ma Ying-jeou Administration in power, eh? The Taipei Times reports on our nutcase legislators and their naive Premier:

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said yesterday he would not rule out going to war with Japan if Taipei and Tokyo fail to resolve the dispute over the Diaoyutai (釣魚台) islands triggered by Tuesday’s collision between a Taiwanese fishing boat and a Japanese patrol vessel. “I believe declaration of war is the last option to resolve controversies between two nations,” Liu said when fielding repeated questions from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Ken-te (陳根德) on the floor of the legislature about whether the Cabinet was ready for a war with Japan.

Liu made the comment after being repeatedly asked if he had not ruled out war as an option in the dispute.

Later in an interpellation session with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅), the premier elaborated on his remark, saying that war would be the last choice if all peaceful means were in vain.

The premier knows that idea of war is ridiculous, but that word should never have crossed his lips. Yet can you imagine what the reaction would have been if a premier in the DPP government had made similar remarks?

People claimed the DPP is “ideological” and the KMT “pragmatic.” Sorry, but the evidence so far is clear that in its foreign policy the KMT is more bombastic, more rigid, and more provincial than the DPP ever was. If Ma really wants to bargain with China from a position of strength, he’ll need the support of Japan. Yet so far within a month of swearing in, Ma’s Administration has twice been offensive toward Japan. heck, if they were really clever, they’d hand the Diaoyutai over the Japanese, leaving a permanent irritant in the Japan-China relationship….

The Japanese behaved with forebearance, but an interesting tidbit is that a lower-ranking official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave an order to the Coast Guard to keep its vessels out of the islands — without having any authority to do so.