Tuesday 13 December 2022

Eastern Promise?

In China, today is the National Memorial Day for the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre. Japan, by contrast, is run by people who believe, “that Japan should be applauded for liberating much of East Asia from Western colonial powers; that the 1946–1948 Tokyo War Crimes tribunals were illegitimate; and that killings by Imperial Japanese troops during the 1937 Nanjing Massacre were exaggerated or fabricated,” as well as that the comfort women were not coerced.

The first of those, at least, has been a widespread view in several of those countries at the time and since. Indonesia, as such, is a direct product of it, since the Japanese-backed rulers of the Dutch East Indies simply declared independence under that name at the end of the War. See also Park Chung-hee, and the Lee Teng-hui whose heirs the Taiwanese electorate has just ejected.

What is Taiwanese nationalism? Just as everyone knows how bad Vladimir Putin is, but that does not alter the Nazi roots and character of Ukrainian nationalism, so the wickedness of Xi Jinping, or indeed the heavy baggage that the Koumintang brings with it, does not alter the fact that Lee Teng-hui always regarded Japanese as his first language and Tokyo as the cultural capital of his wider civilisation.

A volunteer second lieutenant in the Imperial Japanese Army until the very end of the Second World War, Lee stood in the same tradition as Park Chung-hee, the dictator of South Korea from 1961 to 1979, who had been an officer in the Japanese Manchukuo Army that had occupied Manchuria. These are the heroic Asian Tigers of successive generations of the same neoliberals who have always lionised Augusto Pinochet. To put it mildly, their economic system neither requires democracy, nor necessarily upholds it.

The India to which both main parties in Britain are so keen to cosy up is run by the heirs of Mahatma Gandhi’s Nazi-linked assassins, and it has always recognised among the fathers of the nation the likes of Subhas Chandra Bose, who raised an army in support of Japan. He has featured on stamps six times, and on coins three times. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is the aviation hub for the whole of eastern and northeastern India. There is also a Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island. Yes, an island. Up to a point, it is understandable that Rishi Sunak might feel some affinity with Narendra Modi. But Keir Starmer has no excuse.

We are heading for a hung Parliament. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.