Tear Down This Wall

This week is one of those time when one hopes that the people of Hong Kong know what Lech Wałęsa knew, and our “elites”, then as now, didn’t:

he Hong Kong pro-democracy movement achieved a stunning victory in Sunday’s district-council elections. With turnout exceeding 70 percent, close to 90 percent of the seats went to pro-democracy candidates, who took 17 of the 18 district councils. As the first electoral barometer of public sentiment since protests began in June, the results are a turning point in the conflict that has wracked Hong Kong for the last six months.
Though the district councils’ authority is mostly local, they appoint 117 of the 1,200 members of Hong Kong’s Election Committee. Coupled with the roughly 400 opposition members already sitting on the election committee, the additional seats will give the pro-democracy camp much greater sway when the next chief executive of Hong Kong is selected in 2022. The current chief executive, Carrie Lam, has denounced this year’s protests and remained staunchly on the side of Beijing.

Watching how squarely our “elites” have come down , not so much “on Beijing’s side” as “trying not to cheese off the benevolent dictors” reminds me of life in the late seventies, when “detente” so frequently overrode any desire to call out the Soviets for what they actually were. It remained up to the locals – the Poles, Estonians, Czechs – and dissidents here at home, the “crazies” and “McCarthyite Cold Warriors”, to remind the world.

And the idea that the world would go from the squashing of Solidarity in 1980 to the fall of the Wall within ten years was almost as unthinkable as the idea of calling for a landing on the moon by 1970 in 1960.

As it seems today.

Keep your fingers crossed.

6 thoughts on “Tear Down This Wall

  1. dissidents here at home, the “crazies” and “McCarthyite Cold Warriors”

    But Mitch, we have it on good authority from one of the commenters of this here very blog, that the lefties and proggies knew way back in the 80s that the Soviets were going down. Soon even. Those dissidents were simply unnecessary, as well as being crazy and MCWs. The Democrats had it all under control.

  2. How do authoritarian states collapse?
    We don’t have a lot of data, but the data we do have shows that authoritarian states look rock solid up until a crisis occurs (maybe a crisis similar to those that have been weathered in the past), then — splinters. Central political authority vanishes. In retrospect, the collapse appears to have been inevitable.
    What does it look like when an authoritarian state collapses? New states, based on religion or ethnicity, occupy the territory of the old uni-state. The uni-state’s territory is not gobbled up by neighboring states.
    The last time central authority collapsed in China was in 1912. China fractured and rule was by local warlords until the Japs began to occupy China, piece meal, in 1931. China has no history of being a stable republic, rule by the communists notwithstanding.

  3. I’m not a fan of Trump — but I will say:

    It takes a meglomaniac to stand-up against one.

    And for that, I’m grateful.

    My greatest fear about Trump’s move is that it encourages the people of Hong Kong to believe that we have their backs, should things really hit the fan. We don’t. Just ask the Kurds.

  4. I have friends in Taiwan, we’re going to visit next year, matter of fact. They work and travel in the mainland often, and say the biggest worry the Chinese people have about democracy is the degeneracy they see the West has fallen in to.

    It’s hard to argue against that; they do have a point.

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