Monday, July 18, 2005

You Win Again, History

I forget - was Peter Pan trying to escape his shadow? I find myself reading stories like this and devoutly wishing we could all wake up tomorrow not care about the past:

Row over offer to Sudeten Germans
Czech President Vaclav Klaus has condemned the country's prime minister for offering to compensate Germans expelled after World War II.

Jiri Paroubek said the Sudetenland Germans of the former Czechoslovakia would receive compensation if they could prove they opposed the Nazis.

Mr Klaus said he thought Mr Paroubek had gone "completely mad".

Mr Paroubek made the offer during a one-day visit to Austria on Thursday.

Both Austria and Germany want the Czech Republic and Slovakia to repeal the 194 decrees ordering the expulsion of some three million Sudetenland Germans from border regions of Moravia and Bohemia.
Admittedly, the idea of the Czechs compensating the Germans strikes me as a bit addled, but hey - it's not my country. We now move on to the news that a Japanese town has actually adopted the "nationalist" textbook which almost totally ignores Japan's wartime atrocities:
TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese city on Wednesday adopted for use in its schools a history textbook that critics say whitewashes Tokyo's militaristic past, a decision likely to further chill ties with China and South Korea.

The education board of the city of Otawara in Tochigi Prefecture, 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Tokyo, became the first municipal government to adopt "The New History Textbook," written by nationalistic scholars for junior high schools....

Critics say the textbook, sponsored by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform (Tsukurukai), plays down the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China, ignores the sexual enslavement of women for Japanese soldiers and depicts Japanese wartime actions as aimed at liberating other Asian countries.
The Japanese have been trying to sell that "liberation" line since before the war. It's kind of funny - I guess the most blatant lies never die, they just keep coming back. Of course, Japan's relations with China are being further tested by Japan's recent decision to allow Japanese oil drilling to begin in contested waters. Of course, Japan has border disputes with every single one of it's neighbours, so any oil exploration was likely to anger somebody, but this is still bad news, and the combination of textbook-drilling is hurting Sino-Japanese relations, again.

The only good news is that China is very quickly backing down from comments made by one Major-General that China would use its nuclear weapons in the event of a conflict over Taiwan. China remains comitted to "peaceful reunification" with Taiwan, which might be why the Communists are backing down from their historical claim that it was they alone who liberated China - the new party line is that "the entire nation" (presumably including the Nationalists) liberated China. This is a pretty major change - and it looks to me like an olive branch being offered to Taipei.

The US government, for it's part, is doing it's best to look like the arrogant bully in Asia. Whether it's refusing to back India's seat on the Security Council, or screaming about the Chinese attempt to buy Unocal, the US seems intent on annoying almost 3 billion people. On the other hand, it's nice to see Congressmen at least being more honest about their concerns over UNOCAL:
As an example of where China could deny the United States access to oil sources, Hunter cited investments by Unocal in pipelines running from Caspian Sea oil fields through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

"China's purchase of Unocal would dramatically increase its leverage over these countries, and therefore its leverage over U.S. interests in those regions," the California Republican said. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing on CNOOC's bid for July 19.
I see. So this isn't about "national energy security" or any BS like that. It's about America's neocolonial foothold in Central Asia. Thanks for clearing that up, Rep. Hunter. It's funny when they stop trying to put naked avarice in the burlesque of "spreading democracy" or crap like that.

Oof. Too many links for one post. Got to stop taking weekends off.

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