by Sean Stinson
China’s Belt and Road Initiative portends a monumental transformation of the global economic order; one which poses an existential threat to the Pax Americana which has existed since the end of the Cold War. Understanding this context is critical to making sense of the current hysteria gushing from the NGO-Industrial complex and being fuelled by Western liberal punditry.
As I’ve argued previously, decisions taken by the Trump administration since January indicate a shift in US foreign policy. No longer concerned with waging petty wars on behalf of the Israel lobby and the billionaire class, attention has been focused acutely on Asia, and in particular China. Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon was quite forthright about this in his August 16 interview with American Prospect magazine in which he stated unequivocally “To me, the economic war with China is everything. We have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we’re five years away, I think, 10 years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover.” Without a hint of irony, Mr. Bannon later said “China right now is Germany in 1930. It’s on the cusp. It could go one way or the other.” “A hundred years from now, this is what they’ll remember — what we did to confront China on its rise to world domination.” “We have to reassert ourselves as the real Asian power: economically, militarily, culturally, politically.”
China’s BRI is an $8 trillion infrastructure project which aims to rebuild the old Silk Road, integrating the Eurasian continent in a vast network of road, rail and sea routes across 60 plus countries, and absorbing much of China’s current overcapacity in what President Xi Jinping describes as an open, innovative path to win-win cooperation. It also signals the end of permenant US global hegemony.
Significant foreign policy decisions taken so far under the Trump administration include strategic retreat from Syria, increased hostilities toward Iran, dropping the 11-ton mother-of-all-bombs on eastern Afghanistan, and a doubling down on troop deployment in America’s longest war. All of these are signs of a single-minded approach focused on disrupting China’s growing regional influence by any and all means possible.
One of six economic corridors making up the BRI, the 2800 km Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor will link Kolkata in India with Kunming in China’s Yunnan province, via Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Mandalay (Myanmar). The central hub of this corridor is the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (KSEZ), which includes an express railway and deep water port, and has the potential to turn Myanmar into a regional logistics hub drawing in trade from neighbouring Thailand and Laos.
But rather than a great opportunity for regional development, the generals at the Pentagon see the BCIM as an enemy supply line. With the US flexing its military muscle in the South China Sea and eyeing off the Strait of Malacca – a potential choke point for the supply of oil into China – the $10bn Sino-Myanmar pipeline running from the Bay of Bengal to China’s Yunnan province is now critical to China’s energy security. In order to sabotage this project, Myanmar’s Rakhine state is about to become the next Kosovo.
Like the Uighur of China’s Xingxang province, Myanmar’s Rakhine Muslim minority, known more widely as ‘Rohingya’, include insurgents backed by Western political interests, who receive arms and training from the usual sources. Playing the role of agents provocateur in the latest round of psy-ops, their violent crimes against the local Buddhist population have provoked brutal counter attacks against ethnic Muslims across the country – violence which the “international community” blames on the Burmese authorities.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been the darling of the liberal ‘free press’ for two decades. The poster child for Burmese independence, her opposition to Myanmar’s military Junta earned her a Nobel Peace Prize and 15 years under house arrest before her National League for Democracy finally won a landslide victory in 2015. Suu Kyi now finds herself in the illustrious company of Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega and Ngo Dinh Diem – a rogue asset whose lease has expired and who is about to be thrown under the proverbial bus.
So far the Russian foreign ministry is not buying the imperial line on Myanmar, and should the US or NATO seek to place Rakhine State under its protection, China is likely to respond with force.
Turkey has been most vocal in its calls for humanitarian intervention so far. This comes as no surprise given its role within the NATO alliance. It was Turkey after all which led the call to arms on behalf of Libyan Muslims, allegedly the victims of rape and genocide under the brutal dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. Embarrassingly Amnesty International would later be forced to admit that these claims weren’t based on any actual evidence. Turkey was also an important player in the six year effort to topple Syria’s secular democracy and replace it with a Wahhabist theocracy favourable to Western oil interests. Unlike Libya, which was completely destroyed and handed over to terrorists within six months, Syria survived, thanks to the dedication and determination of its army and its allies, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
Before we allow our emotions to be manipulated into supporting more humanitarian violence, we should have no illusions about what comes next. Responsibility to Protect is almost always a precursor to genocide. One of the principal advocates for Libyan war was French public intellectual and media personality Bernard-Henri Lévy. When asked by BBC Hard Talk’s Stephen Sackur “Would you agree that the military intervention in Libya is not going the way you hoped it would?”, Lévy replied “No (laughs) No no, I never doubted it would go this way.”
Author’s Note: This is a revised and abridged version of a piece which originally appeared on Counterpunch
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Worthwhile reading also here: https://21stcenturywire.com/2017/10/08/myanmar-confrontation-china-political-islam/ and here: https://21stcenturywire.com/2017/09/30/china-russia-urge-diplomatic-media-objectivity-myanmar/
Interesting interview with Gearóid Ó Colmáin on 21 Century Wire Sunday wire show yesterday on events in Myanmar and associated geo politics.
@ 32.35 http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/09/17/episode-202-sunday-wire-burmese-days-guests-gearoid-o-colmain-vanessa-beeley/
Also RT Sputnik interview with Shafiur Rahman, who has just returned from Babgladesh,on Myanmar.
I’m going to listen to the 21st Century podcast later. It looks like it’s going to be lengthy. Patrick Henningsen is a straight shooter. The 21st Century Wire website is a disaster, however, at least for my Toshiba Satellite operating on windows 7. As for the Sputnik show, I thought George Galloway’s questions were right on. But I found that the filmaker’s responses were sometimes vague. As a religious person, who has zero use for organized religion, I found the idea of Buddhist monks killing interesting. Galloway had to ask his guest a couple of times about that.
“I’m going to listen to the 21st Century podcast later. It looks like it’s going to be lengthy.”
It is, I should have mentioned that. UK Column News interviewed Gearóid Ó Colmáin today which is a concise version of his longer interview on 21C wire.
I just watched the show with Gearoid et al. I’m beginning to get a handle on this; the main outline, not all the numerous details. The US-led Corporatocracy is attempting to do a Kosovo to Rakhine. Create criminals (jihadists) in the state (who can be used to provoke the government) and add jihadists from abroad, destabilize and create chaos while accusing the government of doing the things that your tools are doing, all as an excuse to do humanitarian intervention. (Which might work, since the Burmese army, rightly to my knowledge, does not have a good reputation.) Which will end in the severing of the geopolitically important state (or is that province?) of Rakhine. It will be ripped away from the Burmese government and whatever happens to it afterward, it will involve coming under the control of the US. And with that accomplished, the encirclement of China and Russia has advanced a little further.
Uncle Sam can’t get enough suffering and terror.
Isn’t that the same as what the US government was trying to do in the Philippines before Duterte quashed the infidels. How many times were Bangladesh struggling with so called IS before this Cambodian problem occurred. Any connection there?
“We have to reassert ourselves as the real Asian power: economically, militarily, culturally, politically.”
That single sentence succinctly encapsulates the whole approach of US, Western and in particular Anglo-Saxon policy on everything, including this issue. The Rahkine Muslims are merely another means to an end and like many other people’s before them they will be discarded and wiped from the front pages of a fifth column corporate media when they are no longer deemed convenient.
This is not about humanitarianism it is, as has consistently been the case for generations, about one particular group of people being the biggest, baddest and bestest in what they consider “their” planet, “their” school playground. There is only one member state of the UN which has over seven hundred overseas military bases in around a hundred and fifty countries across the globe. And it is not China, or Russia, or North Korea, or Iran. Neither is it Venezuela, or Cuba, or Syria or any other official “enemy” of choice.
Once again groups of vulnerable civilians are conveniently being used as mere pawns to manipulate populist opinion in another peurile, cynical and dangerous geo political game of full spectrum dominance because the elites of one particular group of the diverse people’s on the planet cannot psychologically cope with not being the dominant and self styled superior group.
An important piece portending the emerging liberal assault on Aung San Suu Kyi to justify another spoke of US interference/disruprion in the Chinese BRI.
No surprise it’s being led by the Guardian’s “Monbot” then…
@TTIC: actually, as Monbot articles go, this one is not too egregious. He’s not lying, nor is he telling the whole truth: he’s obfuscating by omission. The elephant in his article is the complete ignoring of the Western sponsored Kosovisation agenda: that Aung San Suu Kyi is a Soros-NED-CIA implant: and that the violence is being provoked and fomented by Imperial proxies (Saudi-Wahhabi-ARSA versus Arshin Wirathu’s 969 movement-CIA monks… Soros’ foot soldiers – formerly ultra-liberal pro-freedom fighters for democracy – heroes of the Saffron Revolution). In fact, Monbot touches on an important point, often glibbed over – but he fails to develop it himself. Aung San Suu Kyi is the titular head of state, but the real power is retained by the military (Tatmadaw) – who are the real short term winners here, consolidating their grip on power by murder. In fact, I believe this may be the crux of the matter: Soros did not get the democracy (read mineral rights) he paid for (on behalf of US/UK Western interests): now he wants his return on investment. That, and the denial of strategic assets to China. [NB Soros was in Myanmar for a face-to-face with Aung San Suu Kyi in January]. Whether that will be by regime change; reinstating the Tatmadaw (a real progressive step for democracy that would be); or the forming of an Arakan US-UN protectorate state (incorporating Bangladeshi territory?) – I’m sure will shortly become apparent?
„Geo-Politics: The Core of Crisis and Chaos and the Nightmares of the US Power Elite“ https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/geo-politics-the-core-of-crisis-and-chaos-the-nightmares-of-the-us-power-elite/
Those who use the policy of Responsibility to Protect are liars, cheats and grossly hypocritical. The US is foremost in this regard but it has lots of company.
Wow, Wow ….. “China is Germany in 1930”!! Who could be so stupid other than Steve Bannon, the pro-Israel White supremacist.
Chinese government doesn’t persecute Jews like the Nazis. But it does have very friendly relations with some of countries which Israel considers its enemies such as Iran, Pakistan, Syria and Sudan.
Myanmar and Israel are bonded through their hatred of Islam. Israel is selling arms to Myanmar army which has been carrying-out genocide of country’s Muslim communities.
“Rohingyas is the single biggest stateless community in the world,” says Ban Ki Moon, former secretary general United Nations.
The claim that Burma is carrying out a genocide against its Muslim communities is absolutely baseless. There are several other Muslim communities in Myanmar, not one of which has ever had any problems with their Buddhist neighbours or the state. The Rakhine Bengalis are the only exception. In the 1940s, they slaughtered some 50,000 Buddhists and, calling themselves the mujaheddin, carried out a low-level guerrilla war against the state during the 1950s and 1960s. The intention is to grab that part of Myanmar to themselves, an aspiration not shared by any of Burma’s other Muslim populations.
…to grab it for themselves: or for the US???
Indeed. Since they’re being financed by Saudi Arabia and supported by Pakistan, too, as well as their expatriates in the USA, we know who would be the ultimate beneficiary of militantly Sunni Rakhine.
Indeed. Camp Bondsteel in the Bay of Bengal. 😉
Nyeth dear – Neither Saudi Arabia financed them or Pakistan support them. The only financial aid they received so far is 40-ton foodstuff from Iran last week. Turkey on the other hand has offered Bangladesh cash if the country take the Muslim refugees from Arakan.
Your “militantly Sunni” would only serve the western colonists like the rest of the 55 Sunni-majority Muslim countries now – in spite of their hatred towards the Zionist entity.
Wake-up from your bigotry by studying some objective history book.
Is it just me, but notice the two differences in the refugees from Burma [refugees mostly families]
Refugees from Syria [mostly men of military age]
Two thoughts, 1] extra labour for the EU and to keep down wages within EU? or maybe 2] destabilise the EU by any means to encourage the EU Jewish population to flee to Israel and help redress the Jewish Muslim balance?
Maybe I am becoming old and cynical.
I’m pretty sure that Gearoid mentioned other Muslim communities (or maybe he didn’t specifically state that they were Muslim; I forget) where worse conflicts with the government were happening, which we aren’t hearing about. And the reason is that Rakhine is where the geopolitical action is. That’s the province that the West wants to Kosovize. Attention on bigger conflicts elsewhere in the country would make people ask “Why all the attention on Rakhine and none on those other conflict areas?”
Going over the show again, I see that Gearoid made two separate comments on conflicts elsewhere in Myanmar. He noted that other Muslim communties were having no problems with the government. And he noted that there were other, big (bigger than Rakhine state) ethnic conflicts that no one’s talking about.