Friday, April 29, 2005

With friends like this... 

Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naci Otri celebrated the appointment of Ibrahim Jaafari as the Prime Minister in Iraq, and announced that they are ready to assist the new Iraqi government in every area.

Otri sent a congratulatory message to Jaafari and wished him success in his office to realize the hopes of Iraqi people. The Syrian Prime Minister also expressed: "Syria is ready to offer any type of help necessary to their brother Iraqi people in all areas."

How about closing the farookin' borders?

Meanwhile, the Kuomintang (KMT) have finally "ended" the Chinese civil war.
Taiwan opposition leader Lien Chan and Chinese President Hu Jintao closed the book on decades of hostility on Friday with a simple handshake in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

The civil war enemies agreed in a two-hour meeting that they described as frank and friendly to work to end enmity between the Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist Party, and the Chinese Communist Party and avoid military conflict in the Taiwan Strait, one of Asia's most dangerous flashpoints.

This would have been a useful gesture from the KMT a few years ago, when it was in power in Taiwan. Now the KMT is in opposition to Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has been pushing at the boundaries of full-fledged independence (at no small risk to the United States, I might add).

With the minor qualification that I know next to nothing about Taiwanese politics, today's handshake seems like a transparent attempt to suck up to Taiwanese voters and other actors who are worried about recent sabre-rattling with China. The message from both China and the KMT is clear: only the KMT can restore the status quo ante, which is a tacit understanding that Taiwan will remain unmolested by the PRC and free to get rich only so long as it does not represent itself as either China or an independent country.

Is it not astonishing that the KMT, which overthrew the emperor of China and governed that massive country for more than thirty years between 1911 and the rise of Mao, is now the party to "make peace" with the Communists in a bid to win votes in a democratic Taiwan?


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