Thursday, September 27, 2007


“As a neighbor, China is extremely concerned about the situation in Myanmar,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said at a news briefing in Beijing. “China hopes that all parties in Myanmar exercise restraint and properly handle the current issue so as to ensure the situation there does not escalate and get complicated.”

From the New York Times which, in a upwelling of common sense that seems so out of touch with our current epoch, has opened almost its entire archives for free viewing.

So, two points here ... ah, the joys of the "Chinese century" ... lest things "get complicated" indeed. The lovely thing about debased totalitarianists is that they blithely operate under the pretense, as if no one could possibly contradict them, that nothing has to make sense because all sense is nothing more than the debased totalitarianism itself. We ex-leftoid neo-liberal/humanist/seculars increasingly have no difficulty in noting that China is truly the most nightmarish place on the face of the planet. Certainly the good ole USA continues to suck down the earthly patrimony with a level of greed unmatched by any civilization ever. But for sheer self-destructive nihilistic depradation, nothing matches China today. There was a piece in the Times today about how the water table in more or less the entire north of China (that covers a lot of territory, folks) is more or less depleted. Their cities are sewers, the country is surrounded by dead oceans, the air that they not only breathe but pass on to the rest of us is more toxic than anything ever experienced in LA. And they court any thug in a presidential palace who has a quart of oil to his name, be that name Kabila or Ahmadinejad or the tinpots of the Burmese junta whose names are completely irrelevant and will not long be remembered once they are trash-binned, to use a little Marxian poetics.

So why, for gawds' sakes, does the Chinese junta give a flying crap about propping up a tiny coterie of desperate tin men in Burma who don't even have the elementary cojones to show their faces in what used to be and still is in fact their own capital, Rangoon. [BTW, I am not much into this crypto-PC changing of the English name of places ... it's Burma, it's Rangoon ... call me cranky, see if I care.] But the habit of committee-crats, the collective form of autocrats if you will, means that their scrawny knees jerk long before any latent brainpower kicks in. See a committee, love a committee, even if it is a bunch of Burmese generals whose passage from the world stage will elicit not one single tear anywhere.

The second point, if I can be an ex-leftoid for a moment, derives from Lenin and Trotsky. The key to a revolution in Burma is to turn the troops. Not the cops, but rather the rank and file troops. The soldiers, as the old Bolsheviks pointed out, are cut from the same cloth as the protesters. They just have to come to consciousness that by switching sides the situation will flip. In this regard, the abbots of the assorted monasteries have played a truly reactionary role ... surprise, surprise, the high mucky-mucks of religion jerk their knees to the current order no matter what that order may be. When the abbots call on the troops to flip, the generals will be cooked.

As in so many affairs in history, it comes down to a couple of religious figures actually following their own rhetoric. Trotsky famously averred something to the effect that the crisis in world history came down to a crisis in the leadership of the proletariat. Can't quite agree with that. But the crisis in Burmese history right now does come down to a crisis in the leadership of the sangha, the monkhood. Once they rise to their duty, the Chinese committee-crats can be damned ... though you can be sure they will adjust quickly and lose nothing they care about in the bargain.

The Chinese century. Beware what you ask for, post-post-colonialist brethren and sistern ... you just might get it.

Photo by Arod of a window on Grant Street, North Beach, San Francisco.

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