Maybe a Revolution Is a Dinner Party After All
The Nepalese Maoists are inching closer to their goal of winning state power.
The United Communist Party Nepal--Maoist controls something like 65 to 75% of the countryside.
I haven't been able to find a map showing the territory controlled by or under the military shadow of the UCPN-M.
Maybe a map that would be a gigantic red blob except for the ethnicly Indian Terai districts bordering India and the capital region is just too depressing.
It's one thing to establish a Maoist government in remote, impoverished, and underpopulated districts where government control, services, and security are non-existent.
Going into the populous Khatmandu Valley and cracking the urban insurrectionary nut while surrounded by suspicious, relatively prosperous city dwellers and the openly hostile Nepalese Army is another matter entirely.
For the time being, it appears that the Maoists have decided to maneuver themselves into the central government as an intermediate as opposed to final stage in their political struggle.
As a result, they have supplemented their usual street muscle with a round of dinner parties seeking to split their enemies and enlist domestic and international allies.
They are getting some love from the United States, the EU, and China. The Western powers don't particularly like the Maoists, but see little upside in continuing the existence of the current government, an ineffectual rump organization supported largely by India.
India appears to be on the outside looking in, while China has managed to boost its profile inside Nepal by canny political maneuvering with local and foreign actors.
I cover the current situation in an Asia Times article entitled China and the West step into Nepal crisis.