As Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you
It’s hard to tell whether President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration is being naive, cynical or deceitful when it rationalizes ever-increasing engagement with China as part of a strategy to “change” its giant neighbor’s behavior.
Ever since it launched its policy of loosening up restrictions on all things Chinese nearly three years ago, the Ma administration has argued that closer ties between democratic Taiwan and authoritarian China could help foster reform in the latter.
From utterances of “Taiwan’s experience can serve as a reference for the future development of mainland China” during his New Year address on Jan. 1 to “We must continue to carry out exchanges with mainland China in order to have any influence over them ... otherwise, we will not be able to convey to them the meaning behind the values ... of freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law that we have in Taiwan” during an interview with Der Spiegel published on Thursday last week, Ma has sold a policy that from the time China first “opened” to the West has failed miserably.
There is no reason to believe that Ma will succeed where countless others have floundered.
My op-ed, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.