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» One Touch Football - Archive » World » Anti-Imperialists Doing My Head in on Tibet (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Anti-Imperialists Doing My Head in on Tibet
Antonio Gramsci
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Left-right-good-bad-ometer spinning wildly today.

As I understand the right-on position on Tibet, it is more or less "whatever the Dalai Lama says, goes". Which is probably OK, because the whole "remain within China but with greater autonomy" position makes a certain sense is not overly-applecart upsetting. But also makes less sense in that the right-on crowd aren't generally in the habit of genuflecting towards major religious figures (few, if any, would so blindly follow the pope, the grand Mufti, or what have you).

Now, generally, the right-on crowd is sulphurous about the role of the US with respect to China. Toadying, cow-towing, insufficient vigour in promoting human rights, you know the story.

So what do we make of the charge, promoted over the past couple of days both by the Chinese government and other such right-on figures as Hugo Chavez, that the US is funding Tibetan protestors in order to destabilize the Chinese government?

It seems to me that there are two possibilities here:

1) Hugo Chavez is correct. In which case, in fact, the US would be acting correctly from the perspective of the right-on crowd by supporting oppressed peoples.

2) Hugo Chavez is full of shit. In which case the US is in the wrong (or at least not in the right), but evidently, so is Chavez. Much more so since he is not only justifying a brutal crackdown, but using some rather transparent lies in order to do so.

Personally, I wouldn't totally rule out the first possibility. After all, they have form: even into the 60s, Washington was training Tibetan guerillas in the US and parachuting them into China (where they were almost uniformly caught, tortured and killed). But on balance I have a hard time seeing Washington's influence in recent events.

What does eveyone else think? Is the US involved? And if so, is that a bad thing?

[ 25.03.2008, 08:35: Message edited by: Antonio Gramsci ]

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Spearmint Rhino
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I found it really telling that of all the foreign conflicts that American alt-rock stars could unite to make a fuss about in the late 90s, it was fucking Tibet that actually got them off their arses to play a concert.

Which just happened to be a cause which chimed with US foreign policy, by whipping up animosity towards the world's largest remaining communist power. I put it to Mike D in an interview that he was effectively doing the CIA's dirty work. I can't remember what he said but it was an uncomfortable moment for us both.

Don't get me wrong, it's a shame how the monks are getting treated an' all, but when I look at all the things in the world that need sorting out, restoring the power of a mediaevalist theocracy is pretty low down my list.

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Ginger Yellow
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I wouldn't be at all surprised if the US were funding protestors - as you say, they do it all the time. It wouldn't necessarily be the right thing, however. They did a similar thing in Iran, which only prompted a backlash when it came out, and weakened the position of reformers by making it easy to label them as US puppets. All that said, until I see some evidence it's just Chavez mouthing off.

It's a very tricky thing to finesse, supporting dissidents in totalitarian country, and it's safe to say that US foreign policy has not been particularly delicate in recent years (or ever, for that matter).

[ 25.03.2008, 09:07: Message edited by: Ginger Yellow ]

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Antonio Gramsci
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Good point GY. Brings up another question: is there a moral difference between the US funding dissidents in totalitarian countries and someone like Soros doing it "freelance" (as he did in Serbia, Georgia, etc.)?

[ 25.03.2008, 09:11: Message edited by: Antonio Gramsci ]

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Spearmint Rhino
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quote:
Good point GY. Brings up another question: is there a moral difference between the US funding dissidents in totalitarian countries and someone like Soros doing it "freelance" (as he did in Serbia, Geordia, etc.)?
Tommy Sunderland to thread...
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Spearmint Rhino
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Damn.
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Antonio Gramsci
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Heh. yeah, caught that.
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Ginger Yellow
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Moral difference? Not really, as far as I can see. Practical difference, definitely.
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ad hoc
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I think there's a difference in supporting the actions of a major religious figure because they are a major religious figure and supporting the actions of a major religious figure because they strike a chord of non-violent resistence. I mean there are a whole bunch of "religious" figures who have promoted this line and been supported by the "right on" crowd (whoever they are) but their religion doesn't really come into it (Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, etc)

Doesn't the US need China to carry on as it is doing? Destabilising China would appear to run contrary to US interests. Or have i got the wrong end of the stick?

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Spearmint Rhino
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Hmmm, go on, how does destabilising China run contrary to US interests?
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ad hoc
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China is propping up the US economy, and could easily pull the plug (though they'd rather not, because it would have a knock on effect on their own economy). Plus of course there's the devil you know argument - as China is to all intents and purposes the most powerful country in the world, destabilising it could have many unforeseen consequences (though admittedly that logic has never bothered the US before, so why it would now, I'm not sure)
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You Are The Ref
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Because China under its neo-liberal totalitarian regime provides corporate America with a huge and valuable source of cheap labour, at the same time as a rapidly expanding market for its goods. All of which it'll be less inclined to jeopardise than ever these days.

You're surely not one of those people who imagines that 'Communist' in Chinese Communist Party actually means anything these days?

[ 25.03.2008, 09:56: Message edited by: You Are The Ref ]

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wingco
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All of this may be so but America has actually thrown in its lot with India, with whom they struck a nuclear deal a few years back, specifically to piss off the Chinese, or at least as an act of global "rebalancing".
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You Are The Ref
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Good point about India wingco. As an aside, it's really sad to see a huge and influential country as India, which has an honourable tradition of independence in foreign policy and resistance to superpower interference, sucking up to George Bush's America.
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You Are The Ref
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But anyway, no doubt the US is funding the Dalai Lama Tibetans to a small degree, but only to a small degree- they send token amounts of funding to all sorts of movements for various reasons, in this case I suspect it's to maintain some contact and leverage with the Tibetan independence movement just in case the situation were to change rapidly and unexpectedly. However everyone is surely aware by now that the US will never go to the mat for an independence/liberation movement with widespread international legitimacy- I think Burma and, further back, Bosnia are other good examples here. The White House prefers to put its serious money and/or force behind its own placemen, like Chalabi or Karzai, and the assortment of opportunist crooks behind the various 'colour revolutions'.
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