Dogs of Western resentment bark as Chinese WWII parade passes

Pepe Escobar
Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia Times Online. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of "Globalistan" (2007), "Red Zone Blues" (2007), "Obama does Globalistan" (2009) and "Empire of Chaos" (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book is "2030", also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015.
Officers and soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army hold a flag and weapons during a training session for a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War Two, at a military base in Beijing, China, August 22, 2015. © Damir Sagolj
The importance for China of this coming Thursday’s parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in the Asia-Pacific cannot be overstated enough.

The Japanese surrender was formally signed on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2.

Yet in China, the key date was actually September 9 in Nanjing at 9am. As this China Daily piece stresses, Beijing’s choice for 9-9-9 was immensely symbolic, as the words ‘nine’ and ‘enduring’, in Mandarin, sound practically the same.

And to think that China at the time was led by nationalist Chiang Kai-shek, comprehensively defeated four years later by the Communists. The initial impulse of China’s leadership was focused on counterpunching aggression with generosity and reconciliation.

From the start, it would be an extremely steep mountain to climb. Here is a detailed portrait of how the war trauma lingered in Hong Kong.

The parade rolling past Tiananmen Square officially celebrates the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. This is an extremely serious – and sensitive – business for 1.4 billion Chinese and the Chinese diaspora all across the world.

And once again, the West - displaying trademark cultural/historical insensitivity - has blown it. Beijing is carefully scrutinizing the diplomatic ramifications of shows and no-shows. Symbolically, absences speak volumes.

President Vladimir Putin will be in Beijing, as well as leaders of the four Central Asian ‘stans’ that are part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). South Korean President Park Geun-hye, South African President Jacob Zuma and Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain will also be present.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan won’t (he was officially invited, and declined). The US, Germany and Canada will send only embassy functionaries. France and Italy at least will send their foreign ministers. The only head of state or government from the all-sorts-of-plague-ravaged EU will be Czech President Milos Zeman.

Whatever the spin, the fact is the US State Department proverbially resorted to mob tactics pressuring South Korean Geun-hye not to go.

Aircraft perform during a rehearsal for a military parade in Beijing August 23, 2015. © Stringer

The bottom line: neither the US nor the EU – the once hegemonic West – along with Japan, are sending their top political leaders.

And that highlights yet another graphic sign of the strength of the Russia-China strategic partnership. And coming right after the Russian and Chinese navies completed a nine-day joint exercise – their fifth since 2005 - in Peter the Great Gulf, waters off the Clerk Cape and the Sea of Japan.

Significantly Aleksandr Fedotenkov, deputy commander of the Russian navy and also the Russian director of the drill, said both navies aim at keeping the world’s seas “safe and stable.” It’s easy to picture waves of paranoia engulfing US Navy planners as they registered the message.

The diplomatic stupidity stakes

The West’s so-called political “elites” are trying hard to exercise a monopoly on diplomatic stupidity. Thus the Tiananmen parade being compared across US corporate media to the recent Red Square parade that celebrated the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany. Not a mention of the over-20 million dead in the Soviet Union and the up-to-20 million Chinese dead during a war that every Chinese person knows very well started in September 1931, when the Japanese invaded Manchuria.

The City of London, via the non-stop downward spiraling the Economist, penned an editorial stressing the parade will “unsettle” China’s neighbors while the country “plays up themes of historical victimhood and the need to correct [them].”

Blaming China for “historical victimhood” is pathetic. Especially because the key aim of the parade, as this Xinhua pieces illustrates, relates to people; to remember the millions of Chinese WWII veterans, “many of whom already perished without due recognition,” and the part they played fighting against fascism in the 1930s and 1940s.

Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) march during a rehearsal for a military parade in Beijing, August 23, 2015. © Stringer

The West does this virtually every year – as if the West alone fought and won against fascism. When Russia or China does it, they are playing ‘victim’. Oh please, go back to boarding school.

Qu Rui, the parade’s chief People’s Liberation Army (PLA) organizer, insists China respects “countries’ choices over whether to come or not.”

That’s fine diplomacy in action. Realpolitik in China though harbors very long memories.

Yes, this is a major turning point for rising China after the much-analyzed “century of humiliation” by foreign powers.

And the mediocre puppets who now “lead” these “foreign powers” seem to be bent on a little more humiliation.

Russia, on the other hand - from the government to a wealth of social organizations – did not forget all of China’s sacrifices in the struggle against fascism. Most Russian analyses center on the need for a unified Russia-China front against a blatant, Western-concocted falsification of what really happened during WWII.

So expect the usual garbage from the usual Western corporate media suspects, insisting this is a horror show, mostly anti-Japanese, designed to boost “nationalistic propaganda” and not interested at all in reconciliation.

The dogs of Western resentment bark and the Chinese military parade passes. On show in Beijing there may be new intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach hypersonic speeds up to over 5-6,000 mph, as well as mid-range missiles for up to 5,000 miles (8046km), apart from a wealth of other military gadgets such as China’s newly unveiled super-drone.

And then it’s back to business, as Chinese planners have already read the geopolitical tea leaves for what they are; NATO plus vassal Japan v Russia/China.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.