Death By a Thousand Cuts
Vol: 110 Issue: 24 Wednesday, November 24, 2010
One of the most horrifying forms of torture and execution one can imagine is the Chinese lingchi, literally translated as “the slow process” or the “death by a thousand cuts”.
It was an indescribably horrific process in which the condemned was executed over a matter of days by slowly slicing away body parts until the victim bled to death. By the time of his death, the victim had been literally sliced into pieces.
Lingchi was practiced in China for almost a thousand years before being abolished in 1905. But there is documented evidence of its application well into the twentieth century by Communist Chinese officials.
In the West, the “Death by a Thousand Cuts” became a metaphor for creeping incrementalism. That is the process by which major (and negative) changes come into existence — slowly, in unnoticed or seemingly benign increments.
One excellent Western example of how it works in practice would be the incremental erosion of individual liberty by the introduction of Political Correctness into the public discourse.
It began as a kind of socially-enforced politeness – something was considered ‘politically incorrect’ if it caused offense.
Political correctness began as an effort to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, disability, and age-related contexts.
But in increments over time, PC morphed into a kind of ‘cultural Marxism’ used to curtail free speech, foster intolerance, punish dissent and stigmatize ‘wrong’ thinking’.
But in increments, it began to overtake the culture. It was once reported that a school altered the nursery rhyme “Baa, Baa Black Sheep” to read “Baa, Baa, Rainbow Sheep” so it wouldn’t offend black, umm . . . . sheep?
I’ve never seen a rainbow sheep – or rainbow person, for that matter. But it has cut our culture to pieces.
And Lingchi is proved equally useful against nations.
Yesterday, North Korea shelled the tiny South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in the Yellow Sea in what the US government called an ‘outrageous and unprovoked attack’.
The UK Telegraph called it the worst attack against civilians in twenty years.
The attack, coupled with the unveiling over the weekend of a new light water nuclear reactor, equipped with a startlingly accomplished array of centrifuges, underlines North Korea’s continuing intransigence in the face of international pressure on it to disarm and cooperate in a peace process.
Eight years ago, the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong saw 13 North Korean sailors and four South Korean sailors killed as gunboats traded fire across the Northern Limit Line. The 85mm guns fired by the North Korean ships were loud enough to rattle the windows of residents on the island, according to news reports. Three years before that, a further 30 sailors died in the first battle of Yeonpyeong.
(The Telegraph also shared this North Korean propaganda video.)
Despite its status as the world’s poorest and most reclusive state, where millions of its citizens die of starvation each year, North Korea has managed to develop two advanced nuclear programs fueled by plutonium — and now enriched uranium — and export its technologies to Iran and Syria.
Yesterday, Obama told ABC News that China must “make clear to North Korea that there are a set of international rules that they need to abide by.”
International rules? What international rules? The rules against firing artillery shells at targets in another country? Or the rules against torpedoing South Korean naval vessels?
China has little interest in promoting harmony between the two Koreas. Reunification means absorption of the poverty-stricken North by the wealthy US ally in the South.
South Korea is the world’s 15th largest economy and has a lot of trading partners; Japan, Canada, the EU, Russia, and so on.
China can do without a US-backed competing market economy on its borders.
Beijing has even less interest in taking orders from Barack Obama. But neither does it want to risk an open conflict with the United States. Beijing doesn’t want war with its best customer as long as it is more profitable to maintain some illusion of peace.
China much prefers the death by one thousand cuts method. Traditional ways work the best. (And it also provides the opportunity to stop periodically for a little profit-taking along the way.)
To that end, Beijing has been developing North Korea as the hub of a Chinese-backed triumvirate of ‘rogue’ nuclear powers consisting of Pyongyang, Damascus and Tehran to bedevil the West:
Beijing has run Obama’s drive to halt nuclear proliferation into the sand, while building up strategic interests in Tehran to a level comparable to its stake in Pyongyang.
According to OPEC figures, Iran’s oil sales to China jumped in recent months by 30 percent to 597,800 barrels a day. Aggressive in its quest for energy, Beijing will do whatever it takes to protect its energy sources and supply routes.
On Nov. 10, the high-ranking Chinese official Tong Xiaoling said his government would expand its investments in developing Iran’s oil and gas fields and building refineries. Those investments have already passed the $40 billion mark.
At this time, therefore, given China’s calculations, North Korea’s interest in selling nuclear technologies for hard foreign currency and Iran’s relentless pursuit of a nuclear weapon, it should not be hard to anticipate Tehran following Pyongyang’s brazen example before long.
The US is bogged down in Afghanistan, situated between nuclear wannabe Iran to the West and nuclear Pakistan to the east. Pakistan owes its nuclear program entirely to China, whereas India obtained its nuclear know-how from Beijing.
Pinprick attacks like the failed cargo plane bombs disguised as printers have virtually shut down cargo service to high-risk countries.
They’ve also spawned ridiculous knee-jerk responses like banning printers and printer cartridges from air transport.
Grannies are now routinely groped at airports as irrational fear of terror attacks replace common sense measures. Billions are expended in vain counter-measures — hoping to defeat the minions of a handful of sixth-century Islamic warlords.
It is surreal. . .
The Bible divides the world into four discernible spheres of power during the final hours of human history. There is revived Rome, the Kings of the South, the Kings of the East and the Gog-Magog Alliance.
The Bible makes no reference to any fifth, standalone superpower resembling the United States in the last days. Just the four global alliances — and of course, Israel.
All are in some stage of development of their predicted end-times alliances. Nations that formerly leaned in one direction, (like Turkey, who formerly leaned West) are suddenly re-evaluating and re-aligning according to their predicted courses.
Each predicted end-times’ alliance is growing in power and influence as it develops. But on the other side of the world, the planet’s only remaining superpower is reeling with each new cut.
It isn’t pretty. But it IS what the Bible said to expect in the last days.
And it’s here.