Sunday, April 6, 2008

Laos Feeling Pressure From China

Add Laos to the list of countries feeling feeling heat from China. Heavy investment opens the window to political pressure. Add to this the Southeast Asian highway that was just completed - do you see a plan? Imperial powers rarely show up on your doorstep with a surrender treaty. They find who's in charge and make them deals they can't refuse. This is how it starts. The stages aren't necessarily sequential:

Stage 1. The sphere of influence starts gradually expanding through economic and political pressure - and implied military force. (And Sudan. Does that one scare you? China's military sphere is no longer limited to Asia.)

Stage 2. Maoist rebels magically appear in rural areas. After a long enough period, they magically become politicians. This is the stage Nepal is in right now.

Stage 3. The government becomes a puppet dictatorship that, because it has carte blanche from Beijing to do whatever it needs to for stability, becomes an Orwellian nightmare of a dictatorship. North Korea and Myanmar are in this stage right now.

Stage 4. The country is absorbed completely within China, and the Chinese government begins propagandizing that it always really was a part of China anyway. Tibet is in this stage right now.

The fact that these articles are making their way into Western media is encouraging. Let's hope that the awakening of Laos will be a call to the West to begin some efforts to containing the Chinese threat. The article I linked to above quotes an expat resident of Laos as saying he "can't recall the middle class ever being so angry."


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