Is Ma Ying-jeou Becoming the Kiss of Death?

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Sunday July 05, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

The latest word and joke about Taipei is that Ma Ying-jeou is fast becoming the kiss of death to anyone that has anything to do with him. What started this rumor? Well first Ma shook the hand of Yankee's pitcher Wang Chien-ming. Wang had previously been a 19 game winner in several seasons but after shaking hands with Ma, Wang is struggling. He has won only one game this year. Then there is Hilary Clinton; Ma shook her hand and she shortly afterwards fell and broke her arm. Next, Ma was scheduled to meet Managua Mayor Arguello, but he went out and committed suicide. Also on Ma's list for meetings was President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras. Ma had met him in the past and was scheduled for a two day visit on Ma's current trip to Latin America. But before Ma arrived a military coup was staged in Honduras and Zelaya had to flee.

So now everyone is watching Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. Ortega seemed to have gotten wind of his danger and he had subsequently avoided meeting Ma five times. The local way of saying it is that he "set the pigeon free." Finally, however, under threat of Taiwan breaking diplomatic ties, Ortega had to acquiesce and did meet and embrace Ma. The kiss of death? Everyone is watching closely to see what happens. But there may be a silver lining to all this. If disaster does strike Ortega then Taiwanese will immediately call for and arrange a meeting between Ma and Hu Jintao of China. This may be a blessing in disguise.