Notes On The News
By Gwydion M. Williams
The current China-India detente makes sense. Their only real argument was about some border territories which are of no particular use to anyone. India holds some mountain lands that probably do belong to China, but are useless anyway. China holds the ‘Aksai Chin’, which is useless except for a road they built through it, which the Republic of India only found out about from some journalists reading a Chinese magazine featuring the road. A pointless and damaging border war followed, which the Chinese won decisively.
With the USA intent on imposing McLunatic Globalisation, it makes sense for the two big Asian powers to stop being rivals. Their long common border means little, it is almost impassable and neither China nor India were ever invaded by that route.
The Republic of India has officially agreed that the Tibetan Autonomous Region is just that. Given that the Dalai Lama’s ‘government’ claims a much vaster territory that was mostly never ruled from Lhasa, it is an absurd claim and will perish when the current Dalai Lama dies.
Meantime China has implicitly accepted India’s absorption of Sikkim, which was the last survival of British-India’s system of autonomous princely state,. Unlike Nepal and Bhutan—but very much like Tibet—it was never officially sovereign. When there was internal unrest during the 1970s, India sent in troops and incorporated it as a regular state within the Republic of India.
China and Republic of India are both growing faster than either the USA or Europe, and both are undergoing a controlled opening up to world trade, taking what they need and ignoring the rest. New Right economists preach that they would do even better if they opened up more, but those third-world countries that did obediently open up have been fucked over and didn’t even get paid for it.
With mounting violence in Iraq, and no prospect of a democratic government that wouldn’t at once order the US to quit, President Bush has promised to stay on the offensive. That’s one promise he’ll keep, offensiveness is his prime characteristic.
He is however following the line of all US presidents since World War Two, seeking to make all foreign countries into crude copies of US culture. Democracy is part of the package, but it’s not the main aim. Parliamentary democracy is permitted where it proves harmless, encouraged as a way of breaking up effective authoritarian states. But under no circumstances will it ever be allowed to impede the process of turning foreign countries into crude copies of US culture. When the left was scoring electoral successes in the 1960s and 1970s, it was the US that was the prime creator of dictatorships. Indonesia, Greece, Brazil, Chile etc.
Any sort of democracy for the unrelated mix of peoples in Mesopotamia and the Kurdish highlands is likely to mean domination by the Iraqi Shiites. Unlike Iran, the clergy may mostly stay out of a direct role. But they represent their community, and only the Communists and the Baathists had been able to win over significant numbers for a secular viewpoint.
Bizarrely, the USA is now trying to revive the Iraqi left, the same people that they once paid the Baath to kill. But how long can it last?
No one now doubts the broad untruthfulness of the US/British case for war. Specifics of who first dreamt up the 45-minute danger count for little. They fed us garbage, and the people who swallowed it at the time are now feeling queasy.
Despite which, there were many more rebels when it came to stamping out bloodsports.
Meanwhile in Iraq, the ‘sensitive’ British methods in a region which hated Saddam produced much the same results as Northern Ireland, but much more quickly. Only by comparison with the US troops could British troopers be described as sensitive. (US troops and rhinoceroses, to be more precise, but there are currently no rhinoceroses wandering the streets of Baghdad.)
The army are mostly thugs, which is the proper qualification for joining a peace-time army. If they are not thugs seeking to join the best-respected gang they can find, then just what are they joining up for? And whereas they knew just how rude they were being when they provoked war in Northern Ireland, it emerges that they were bringing dogs into Islamic homes, as offensive as if sniffer pigs were used in a British context.
Those who saw Saddam’s government as a senseless evil are now discovering why Iraq has normally been governed as a dictatorship. It’s not been through the West European experience of being hammered into a standardised herd of The Individual who will opt for Western standards with a minimum of coercion. Saddam in his own way was trying it, but too slowly and independently for the ignorant New Right crowd who dominate the Bush administration.
Britain and the USA are using a mix of methods to coerce as many countries as possible into an economic system that they dominate and which channels money from the poor to the rich. Dirty money of all sorts finds its way to obscure banks in London, while British troops make no pretence of ‘defence’, but are sent as functional mercenaries wherever the Old Order needs defending.
Britain had lost an Empire and found a Swiss role.
If one racial group in the US are getting less, then either they merit less or they are being discriminated against
Or both. A majority of Afro-Americans have a self-destructive and anti-intellectual culture. The two processes feed off each other, and ‘affirmative action’ has been the functional means of breaking the vicious circle.
The New Right sees viciousness as part of the Natural Order, and hates the idea of state power curing anything. Integration in the USA has happened where it was effectively enforced, in the military and in some of the police forces. Where it was left to individual choice, a functional system of apartheid has grown up.
The Supreme Court has not so far been captured by the New Right. But the hold-outs are Old Liberals, who feel obliged to uphold the fundamental truth that all of us are an undifferentiated herd of The Individual. They also allow some work-rounds that restore common sense and make the system functional
The actual judgement is less favourable than it seemed. Schemes for ‘affirmative action’ are both allowed and forbidden, with two contradictory judgements passed on the basic of esoteric legal gibberish. And the suggestion is made that the job has been done and that ‘affirmative action’ can soon be wound up, despite the fact that a majority of blacks are shut out by a system of informal but highly effective discrimination.
This is the same institution that upheld the notion of Afro-Americans as ‘separate but equal’ up until the 1960s.
While British literati cherish elaborate books about nothing very much, the literate public ignores them and insists that world does have some sort of meaning. So it’s not hugely surprising that Tolkien won several polls among English-speakers for ‘author of the 20th century’. Or that the latest
There are many differences, but also points in common. Both reject the sleazing-up and dumbing-down of the society, and its massive spread of commerce. Limited commerce in a social context is fine, but only limited. And the Potter saga, at least, is not really about old values, and quite relaxed on sexual matters.
People who talk glibly about ‘1000 years of British history’ clearly haven’t checked who it was who was then was ruling. It was in fact Ethelred the Unready, 978-1016, apparently a blunderer who wasted the heritage built in the previous century by Alfred the Great and his immediate successors.
History is tricky, of course. We get a favourable impression of Alfred from a biographer who wrote for his heirs. Our highly negative view of Ethelred is based on just one source who was partisan. Still, he did preside over a declining kingdom, and after the brief reign of Edmund Ironside, we had King Canute, the Danish-born conqueror of Anglo-Saxon England. Which recovered a precarious independence under Edward the Confessor, but was conquered again by the Normans.
When I was at school, we were taught to identify with those conquerors. Many people still do, but not all of us.
Englishness has been improved by Continental influence over the last half century, and I am all in favour of it continuing.