In a recent statement, Raymond Burghardt took issue with a proposed referendum that would call for Taiwan to seek a United Nations seat as Taiwan (not the Republic of China). Now, Taiwan has been looking to gain admission into the UN for years, only to be turned down every time. The only difference now would be the label on future (and, sadly, sure to be unsuccessful) efforts.
That was still too much for America's voice in Taiwan (Asia-Pacific News via Monsters and Critics):
The referendum will - just the process of having the referendum - will make it harder for a new president of Taiwan to develop better relations across the Taiwan Strait.
This is breathtaking arrogance on Burghardt's part for two reasons. First, to criticize the island democracy for "just the process of having the referendum" is a slap in the face to every single Taiwanese voter. The U.S. may hint as to its preference for a particular vote (and does in other democracies), but only Taiwan gets the humiliation of being told the vote itself is a mistake.
Secondly, Burghardt makes pretty clear who he wants to win with this missive. The referendum's greatest support comes from the "pan-green" coalition led by outgoing President Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party, while its opponents largely come from the "pan-blue" faction (or as I've taken to call it, "pan-red"), led by the Kuomintang (Nationalist) Party.
Taiwan is facing both legislative and presidential elections early next year. Burghardt is, in effect, telling voters the U.S. prefers the Communist-friendly "blues" over the anti-Communist "greens." This is outrageous and wrong-headed.
Three years ago, when Therese Shaheen similarly dropped hints of support for the DPP, President Bush fired her. The President must follow that precedent if he is truly impartial. Ray Burghardt must be fired - ASAP.