With all the major powers scratching their heads over Iran, North Korea, Syria and whoever’s next, I am appalled at the signal lack of imagination from today’s leaders. It’s either meaningless sanctions or war. Am I the only person who remembers the great Sino-Soviet border dispute back in the late sixties? The greatest and most imaginative international dispute ever witnessed.
For those too young to remember here’s an account:
The Russians and Chinese were glaring at each other across a river that marked their disputed border. The Chinese brought in reinforcements – a massive deployment – and marched them right up to the shoreline.
The world waited. Would they push on, dig in? Not quite. The Chinese officers lined their men up along the riverbank in single file, ordered them to turn around, bend over, and … drop their trousers.
I kid you not. This was the ultimate definition of the term ‘shock troops.’
The Russians were beside themselves, riffling through their army manuals. Where’s the chapter on countermeasures? Where’s the entry under ‘bum?’
Chaos ensued. The Russian economy came close to collapse. How can you work with all those rear ends pointing at you day and night? For indeed it was a day and night operation with powerful arc lights adding a frightening Blair Witch effect to the night time riverbank. And when cramp set in, the Chinese sent their crack troops home and called in fresh reserves from the rear guard. With a population of 1.2 billion there was indeed a lot of Chinese cheek to spare.
The West watched in horror – from a distance. What if it escalated? What if the Soviets retaliated? They’d already put their formidable women’s shot put team on standby. The Press sisters were coming out of retirement. And the Warsaw Pact was handing out extra steroids to East Germany’s even more cellulite-enhanced field eventers.
The Chinese weren’t sitting down on the job either. Secret negotiations were underway with their former enemies across the sea – the Japanese. Do I have to say the word, Sumo?
The Security Council met behind closed doors. The CIA handed out aerial photos of Sumo wrestlers’ backsides to stunned delegates. Extra large photographic paper had to be commissioned. The World was teetering on the brink of all out mooning.
And then, and this shows why today’s leaders are minnows compared to the giants of yesteryear, the Russians came up with the ultimate countermeasure. And look – no bombs, no threats, no meaningless sanctions – they covered the northern bank of the disputed river border with posters of the Chinese Premier, Chairman Mao.
Across the river, trousers were hoisted in an instant. Buttocks were covered, the troops stood down and Sumo wrestlers threw their salt back into their buckets.
The world had stared into a mighty crack of an abyss … and stepped back.
Chris Dolley is an English author living in France with a frightening number of animals. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf.
** SALE ** Resonance will be on sale this week $2.99 $0.99
Resonance – “The Best Many-Worlds Novel Ever Written” according to a B&N reviewer this week, who went on to say:
” I read this when it first came out and was utterly enthralled. It grabbed me from the first page … Superb plot, wonderful characterization and an involving story all turned into a thrilling race to the (hopefully not) end of the world(s). This is a book that is an absolute cannot-put-down, and is worth every bit of the time put into reading it.”
An Unsafe Pair of Hands – a quirky murder mystery set in rural England charting the descent and rise of a detective on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Which will break first? The case, or DCI Shand?