Fighting the Dragon

The ongoing protests in Hong Kong might be the decade’s most important development says George F. Will in the Washington Post:

The Economist recently editorialized: “The West’s 25-year bet on China has failed.” The wager was that “market totalitarianism” is an oxymoron. Embedding China in the global economy supposedly would open it to the softening effects of commerce, which would be solvents of authoritarianism. The West’s tardy but welcome disenchantment is, as the Economist says, “the starkest reversal in modern geopolitics.” If Hong Kong’s heroic refusal to go gentle into Beijing’s dark night is accelerating this disenchantment, the summer of dissent has been this decade’s grandest and most important development.

A must read piece by Maciej Cegłowski on his Idle Words blog (which has the best blog tagline ever: brevity is for the weak) describes his first hand experience at a protest in Hong Kong. He carefully outlines the tension between the various factions of protesters, and how their overarching sense of general responsibility and social order keeps 7.5 million Hong Kongers united against a totalitarian regime which controls 1.3 billion people. At the end of a peaceful weekend of protests, some of the frontliners (protesters who are willing to engage in violence) are circling the police station on Harcourt Road, itching for a fight. However:

Some combination of social media, personal pleading, sense of duty, and whatever alchemy keeps these protests going convinced the angry fighters to do the hardest thing a young person can do in such a conflict-go home.

And that’s when I understood the Hong Kongers may actually win.