Sunday, July 02, 2006
Trains, Planes, and Dalai Lamas
Well, thanks to China Tibet now has two of the three. Maybe they will get the third someday, but I digress. The completion of the Qinghai-Tibet railroad and the Chinese reaction to it causes a few thoughts about history and its misuse. The Chinese are excited about this railroad and how it shows that Tibet is better under China than by itself. First off I should say I am no Free Tibet-er. One of the basic rules of geopolitics is that might makes right. China is more powerful than Tibet, so if they want to occupy it, develop it, and move in ethnic Hans, that’s their right. So long as it does not conflict with any of our interests, or the interests of any other Great Powers at least. What I find interesting is that the Chinese reaction when they are doing the colonizing, developing, and modifying of another peoples is quite a bit different than their reaction to others attempting to do the same in China. It should just be remembered that it was equally their right for the British or Japanese to attempt to do the same in China when they were more powerful. After all, the Japanese and British made many of the same arguments about helping a poor backward people that China does today about helping Tibet. Indeed, until recently many of China's best factories were the ones the Japanese built in Manchuria in the 1930's. There is no point criticizing the Chinese today for their current behavior, much less the Europeans and Japanese for their behavior a century ago (though the Chinese do that non-stop). Of course the Chinese can carry as many chips on their shoulders as they want, but it doesn’t mean we have to indulge them.