Monday, November 15, 2010

Rehearsals of History

Regarding the history of Asia, one finds many occasions where later events of global history seem almost to have been rehearsed on a smaller scale. A prime example is that of World War II. Freed from a euro-centric view, it had an early start in China. The events of Shanghai here seemingly a small scale representation of what soon after was to cover almost the whole word, with mostly all later participants already present (in form of Shanghai’s concessions).

From a certain point of view, might not the ominous Great Game be regarded similarly as a rehearsal for a Cold War, here played out mostly between Britain, Russia and China on the grounds and interests in and of Tibet? A chain reaction of open and (much more) secret missions and spies throughout the Himalayan region, where finally Russian actions spurred British reaction, which in turn led to Chinese re-assertive demonstrations of power.

All of this, naturally, played out much different than the real Cold War. Czarist Russia left the scene crumbling away, the Qing followed not much later, and finally Britain left the scene of India and (most of) Asia; leaving Tibet, which had seemed little more than a plaything tossed between the larger powers, to finally deny the race to become a nation-state like all else around it and be gobbled up by the interests of the only powerful ones left (or having re-entered) on the scene: (communist) China.