James Fallows*1 “The Improbably Bright Future of Myanmar” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/books/review/where-china-meets-india-by-thant-myint-u-book-review.html

Thant Myint-U Where China and India Meets: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asiaの書評。紐育生まれのThant Myint-U氏はかつて国連事務総長を務めたウ・タントの孫。
この書評は”As economies and societies all around them have flourished, two countries have been strikingly left out of the East Asian boom of the past generation: North Korea and Myanmar.”という文から始まるが、Thant Myint-U氏の本の主旨は”Myanmar both deserves and is destined to play a much more crucial role in world economic, political and even military events.”ということであり、

What’s not yet clear, the author argues, are the likely consequences of Myanmar’s impending reintegration into the world ― for its own people, for the nearby powers of India and China, and for other nations, notably the United States. “Where China Meets India” is not mainly a political book, but it ends with a sharp argument that American policy toward Myanmar is flawed in a way that is about to become more costly for all parties involved, except the Chinese.

Now and for the immediate future, that influence comes overwhelmingly from China ― because of its high-speed growth, because of its trade across its rugged land border with Myanmar, because of its demand for that country’s raw materials and for commodities that can come in by sea to Myanmar’s ports. China has roughly America’s geographic scale and layout, with a dry and mountainous interior. “What China is lacking is its California,” Thant points out, “another coast that would provide its remote interior provinces with an outlet to the sea.” He quotes Chinese strategists who see Myanmar not exactly as a new California but “as the bridge to the Bay of Bengal and the waters beyond.”

Thant’s book is an engaging combination of history, contemporary travelogue and personal and family recollections, along with a certain amount of policy analysis. Western readers are likely to be especially drawn to its rich, loving, but tragic portrayal of Myanmar. As he did in his previous book, Thant explains its colonial legacies, its repressive and erratic government, its deep ethnic divisions, drug trade and civil wars, as well as the look and feel of its cities and landscape.


What may come as news to many Western readers (and would be unacceptable to many in China) is Thant’s exhaustive account of how very separate were the kingdoms, tribal areas and small independent states that are now amalgamated into the modern nations of the region. “For much of its early history,” he notes, “Burma’s neighbor to the northeast was not China, but the independent kingdom of Yunnan” ― now a Chinese province ― “with Dali as its capital.” Thant’s description of the historic variety of China’s component parts is convincing and fair-minded. Yet this is a loaded, even dangerous, theme within China, because of the government’s hypersensitivity about what it calls “splittism” in any form ― the concept that China’s extent might ever have differed from its current borders, including those in Tibet and Xinjiang.
雲南」という王権はなかった。「大理」*2は「首都」ではなく国号。また、白族の大理だけでなく、麗江には納西族の王権があり、西双版納には傣族の王権があったわけだ。雲南の大理や麗江では長らくキャラヴァンを組んで、チベットビルマ、さらには印度方面と茶や塩を中心とした交易を行うことで経済を組み立ててきたが、1949年以降国境がタイトになって(以前のように)交易ができなくなったことの影響は大きい。また、最近雲南人にとってビルマラオスは再び身近な場所になりつつあるが、それはモータリゼーション(自家用車の普及)故である。それから(Thant Myint-U氏が指摘しているように)西側諸国の経済制裁のために中国はビルマ貿易をほぼ独占している状態である。
さて、Fallows氏はThant Myint-U氏の中国関係の事実誤認が多いことに突っ込みを入れている。例えば「北京(Beijing)」はNorthern Peaceという意味だと書かれているとか。これは北京はかつて「北平」呼ばれていたことがあり*3、それと混同されているのではないか。
ところで、この書評で残念なのは、折角Where China and India Meetsなのに、ビルマと印度との関係について全く言及されていないということだ。印度とビルマの国境というのは(外国メディアで紹介されることが殆どない)世界で最も謎に満ちた国境のひとつなのではないだろうか。沢木耕太郎も猿岩石もビルマから印度へは越えられなかった筈だ。また、ビルマ雲南だけでなくチベットとも国境を接しているが、このビルマチベット国境も(中国内外の)メディアで紹介されることは殆どない。