Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The myth of “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”

"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun," (槍桿子裡出政權) said Mao Zedong, former chairman of Chinese Communist Party in 1927 when he was fighting Chiang Kai-shek to gain the control of China. His words, though arguable, did tell a partial truth in terms of the revolution, for armed forces would guarantee desired victory. By overwhelming military victories Mao succeeded in driving Chiang's regime out of the Chinese mainland and founded a new republic in 1949. However, would rifles and bullets be a promise to the long lasting existence of a regime? The pages of any history books tell otherwise, yet few rulers would take the lesson.

For the past week the media worldwide revealed horrible stories about the bloody suppression ordered by Colonel Gaddafi, the dictator of Libya, who sent troops and even fighter planes to bomb Libyan demonstrators seeking for democracy. He even threatened that he would quell the revolt to sabotage oil facilities by blowing up pipelines to cut off flow to Mediterranean ports. The sabotage, according to Time, is meant to serve as a message to Libya's rebellious tribes: It's either me or chaos. What kind of ruler would try to maintain his own regime by destroying valuable national assets of his own country? No wonder the colonel was labeled "madman" in the past by the media of the West.

Can using excessive force or violence be able to maintain a regime? Nicholas II, the late czar of Russian empire, was liable to deploying Cossack cavalry against Bolsheviki demonstrators who demanded bread and social justice from him. See what happened to the czar?

Though army tanks were called to crush the people gathering at Tiananmen Square asking for democracy on June 4, 1989, the Chinese Communist Party at least had a sense to open her market and let her people become richer than before. When people have food to eat and will not starve to death, they are more willing to be obedient subjects. The Colonel's power will not last long if his only dependency to stay in his seat is the elite army troops commanded by officers handpicked by him.

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