It is well known that the Bangkok Post only does irony, and never does satire. Otherwise, it would be worth wondering if the Great White Dope column in today’s Perspective section is an early, cruel April 1 spoof against the Dying Continent.
To summarise, Flemming Winther Nielsen PhD of Denmark argues that Thailand is a horrible mess and Europe is so moral and principled that it is going to come in and fix the country, by soft force if necessary. The Post tells us that Nielsen “is a retired Danish lecturer now living in Bangkok,” which seems obviously stolen from some Monty Python skit, except for the part that he is old and without influence like the once important continent that he represents.
Nielsen and his Europe are about as qualified to talk about human rights and peace in any Asian country as Japan is likely to lecture the Philippines on administering a humane prison system. And for the same reason.
The world doesn’t discuss the worst human rights violator of the 20th century. It asks, “So Who’s Worse: Hitler or Stalin?” (And yes, I consider Mao and Pol Pot up there or above, but the world in general does not. That’s the reputation of Europe.)
The pie chart shows the source of recent wars and murders around the world, but it doesn’t even show the 200,000 deaths in the Spanish Civil War, the 160,000 dead by the French in Algeria. It does not reflect the craven flight of the European “peacekeepers” in Rwanda, the murderous retreat of Portugal in Asia and Africa, the cowardly “discussions” while thousands died at Srebrenica… No need to continue.
When they weren’t making outright war around the world in the 20th century – which they often were – the Europeans were still at war against people, culture, traditions. Does the word colonialism ring a bell?
Getting a lecture from a European on peace and civilised behaviour is like attending a seminar on good sportsmanship from the England-Italy Football Fans Association.
Even the thought of Europe rebuking the world on sophisticated use of power is sickening. These are the people who invented the gas ovens, put the word quisling into worldwide use and whose idea of free trade was enslaving half of China and its southern neighbours to opium.
No, the EU will definitely not “send in the marines” (Mr Nielsen PhD writes). The difference between raw and bullying power, and the sophistication of silent tools of power, has been known to Europeans since Machiavelli and Talleyrand.
Oh, please. No one is worried about Europe’s marines or army or any other military force. Britain excluded, they haven’t got much that can’t be flicked off by any ragtag defenders, as the Taliban have been showing for the past six months in southern Afghanistan, where Canada and Britain are trying to save the day, and Europe’s bacon. Continental Europe didn’t have the power to halt the Serbian and Kosovo massacres, let alone attend to an actual crisis.
But no one is worried about old Europeans staggering into Asia bearing the tricks of Machiavelli and Talleyrand, either. What are they going to do? Will they stab the prime minister in the back in the European manner? Poison the cabinet like sophisticated Europe teaches in its history? Or will they update tactics, perhaps hire Thai labourers to build a biological warfare production facility, as Europeans did in Libya?
Here is precisely what Europe is going to do in Thailand about the violence, the chaos, the lack of democracy, the military abuses, the corruption, the unbalanced justice, the rape of the environment:
Europe is going to do this because that is what Europe does. Europe is old, it is fat, it is cross. Sure it’s rich, but so is my Uncle Somchai, and the family just sits around waiting for him to die. Oh, they tend to his tantrums once in a while. When Somchai screams at the kids to shut up, they turn down the radio for a few minutes, while they get on the computers and start a new game. Somchai is happy, but he has done nothing to change anything around him.
And that’s what Thailand is going to do, and for the same reason. Because Europe is old and rich and still has lots of money to spend on the country, Thailand will throw Nielsen a bone.
Thailand will look after the increasing numbers of tourists, set up more companies to suck up to, and make profits for European investors. The rich European investors of course have the morals of Europe deeply instilled into them and thus crave profits, stability and success no matter what happens to the people of the country where they are doing business.