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US Still Seeks Regime Change Across Asia

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook – 26.11.2016

While the US could accurately be described as a global power in decline, the ambitions of prominent special interests at the center of its economic and political power still pose a potent threat to global stability and national sovereignty worldwide. In Asia particularly, despite a clear shift in a regional balance of power that has persisted for nearly a century, the US is still actively involved in attempting to dictate which governments come to power in respective nation-states and how they rule and all in an attempt to create a balance of power in Asia that serves US interests.

From Myanmar to Vietnam, US Ambitions Still a Clear and Present Danger 

US ambition to transform Asia manifests itself in a number of ways. In Malaysia, it has been fueling for years the so-called Bersih movement and its campaign for “clean and fair elections.” While the movement attempted to appear spontaneous and independent of any political party, it was quickly revealed that its core leadership was funded by the US State Department via the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Open Society. It was also revealed that Bersih was in fact an auxiliary front of a political coalition headed by US-backed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who quite literally led the protests in the streets himself.

Extensive US support has been provided to the now ruling government of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, including the creation of Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy’s (NLD) entire media capabilities. Pro-NLD media platforms created and funded annually by the US government include the New Era Journal, the Irrawaddy, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). It was also revealed that Suu Kyi’s Minister of Information, Pe Myint, was quite literally trained in Bangkok by the US government-funded Indochina Media Memorial Foundation, which now co-occupies the Western media’s Foreign Correspondents Club (FCCT) office in Bangkok.

In Thailand, in addition to the substantial lobbying support the above mentioned FCCT provides the ousted US-backed regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his also-ousted sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, the US government funds a large number of supposed “nongovernmental organizations” (NGOs) in a bid to create the illusion of a legitimate, pro-democracy opposition. The Shinawatra family also enjoys continued lobbying support from Washington, with influential firms having registered on their behalf every year since at least as early as 2006.

Currently, US lobbyists are still active in supporting the Shinawatra regime and their political supporters within Thailand. The Shinawatra’s themselves are still positioning themselves to retake power, and the US media is still turning out a large amount of content aimed at setting the stage for continued political conflict within the country.

In Cambodia, opposition leader Sam Rainsy has received years of support from the US government and America’s European allies, including regular political and media support from the US State Department’s Voice of America (VOA) network.

Indonesia strains under pressure put on the government and society by US and Saudi-backed groups capable of mobilizing large numbers of protesters both to augment their own political power and to put pressure on the current ruling government in a bid to roll back growing ties between Jakarta and Beijing.

And while Vietnam lacks any clearly visible, central opposition figure, the US has steadfastly built up an opposition movement with which to pressure the Vietnamese government.

Cultural Colonization via YSEALI 

Collectively, across the entire Southeast Asian region, the US is engaged in what some analysts have called “cultural colonization,” particularly with a program it calls Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) in which the US State Department actively recruits, indoctrinates and directs young Asian students and professionals toward building a pro-Western opposition front. This includes a program called “Generation: Go NGO!” in which the US creates and directs a growing network of US government funded fronts posing as “nongovernmental organizations.”

Mirroring a modern day version of the very sort of imperial networks constructed by the British Empire across Asia, America’s reach into Asia seeks to reinvent and reassert Western domination across Asia Pacific. Not only does it seek to dominate the respective people, resources, economies and politics of nations in Southeast Asia, but it also seeks the creation of a united front with which to encircle, contain and eventually displace Beijing’s growing influence in the region.

Asserting Economic Hegemony via the TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a decidedly US dominated project, sought to string Asian states together in an economic alliance opposed to China’s rising regional and global influence. The deal’s details were introduced and brokered in secret, contravening any sense of self-determination for those nations and people subjected to it. Ultimately, the inequitable conditions of the deal required coercion and bribery to move forward, and despite great efforts, it appears that it will not likely succeed.

Nations like Thailand have categorically refused to sign the deal thus far, and nations like Vietnam who had initially promised to sign it, have wavered. The US’ desperation in moving through deals like the TPP may also explain the expansive networks it has constructed and continues to construct to apply pressure on both Asia as a region, and each nation individually.

Combating US Primacy 

Such aspirations are more than mere speculation, and are instead derived from the writings of prominent US policymakers, including Robert Blackwill who in 2015 penned an entire paper about reasserting US “primacy” over Asia. Blackwill, it should be noted, served as a lobbyist for the above mentioned US proxy Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand.

For Asia collectively, and for each nation respectively, the need for an international voice as Russia’s RT or China’s CCTV has granted Moscow and Beijing , is essential for challenging and overcoming divisive and destructive narratives perpetuated by the Western media. It is also an important factor in exposing and diminishing the influence of US-backed political opposition parties and the army of US-funded fronts posing as “NGOs.”

And while instinctively, building closer ties with China may seem to be a viable formula to balancing a US that seeks to reassert itself, such ties must be done within a larger regional framework to build a sustainable balance of power. Simply trading US hegemony in for Chinese hegemony, would fail to serve the rest of Asia’s interests well. For each respective Asian state, strong domestic institutions, economies, education systems and military institutions ensures not only America’s inability of asserting its interests over those of each nation’s, but also heads off China from filling in and exploiting the void left by a retreating United States.

November 26, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Democracy and slaughter in Myanmar: Gold Rush overrides Human Rights

By Ramzy Baroud | Press TV | July 16, 2012

The widespread killings of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar – have received only passing and dispassionate coverage in most media. What they actually warrant is widespread outrage and decisive efforts to bring further human rights abuses to an immediate halt.

“Burmese helicopter set fire to three boats carrying nearly 50 Muslim Rohingyas fleeing sectarian violence in western Burma in an attack that is believed to have killed everyone on board,” reported Radio Free Europe on July 12.

Why would anyone take such fatal risks? Refugees are attempting to escape imminent death, torture or arrest at the hands of the Ethnic Buddhist Rakhine majority, which has the full support of the Myanmar government.

The relatively little media interest in Myanmar’s ‘ethnic clashes’ is by no means an indication of the significance of the story. The recent flaring of violence followed the raping and killing of a Rhakine woman on May 28, allegedly by three Rohingya men. The incident ushered a rare movement of unity between many sectors of Myanmar society, including the government, security forces and so-called pro-democracy activists and groups. The first order of business was the beating to death of ten innocent Muslims. The victims, who were dragged out of a bus and attacked by a mob of 300 strong Buddhist Rhakine, were not even Rohingyas, according to the Bangkok Post (June 22). Not all Muslims in Myanmar are from the Rohingya ethnic group. Some are descendants of Indian immigrants, some have Chinese ancestry, and some even have early Arab and Persian origins. Myanmar is a country with a population of an estimated 60 million, only 4 percent of whom are Muslim.

Regardless of numbers, the abuses are widespread and rioters are facing little or no repercussions for their actions. “The Rohingyas…face some of the worst discrimination in the world,” reported Reuters on July 4, citing rights groups. UK-based Equal Rights Trust indicated that the recent violence is not merely due to ethnic clashes, but actually involves active government participation. “From June 16 onwards, the military became more actively involved in committing acts of violence and other human rights abuses against the Rohingya including killings and mass-scale arrests of Rohingya men and boys in North Rakhine State.”

The ‘pro-democracy’ Myanmar’s groups and individuals celebrated by Western governments for objecting to the country’s military junta are also taking part in the war against minorities. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on July 8, Hanna Hindstrom reported that one pro-democracy group stated on Twitter that “[t]he so-called Rohingya are liars,” while another social media user said, “We must kill all the kalar.” Kalar is a racist slur applied to dark-skinned people from the Indian subcontinent

Politically, Myanmar has a poor reputation. A protracted civil war has ravaged the country shortly after its independence from Britain in 1948. The colonial era was exceptionally destructive as the country was used as a battleground for great powers. Many Myanmar people were slaughtered in a situation that was not of their making. As foreign powers divided the country according to their own purposes, an ensuing civil war was almost predictable. It supposedly ended when a military junta took over from 1962 to 2011, but many of the underlying problems remained unresolved.

Per western media coverage, Myanmar is defined by a few ‘iconic’ individuals’ quest for democracy, notwithstanding opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Since an election last year brought a civilian government to power, we have been led to believe that a happy ending is now in the making. “Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi made her historic parliamentary debut on Monday (July 9), marking a new phase in her near quarter century struggle to bring democracy to her army-dominated homeland,” reported the British Telegraph.

But aside from mere ‘concerns’ over the ethnic violence, Aung San Suu Kyi is staying on the fence – as if the slaughter of the country’s ‘dark-skinned Indians’ is not as urgent as having a parliamentary representation for her party, the National League for Democracy in Myanmar. Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu called on ‘The Lady’ to do something, anything. “As a Nobel Peace Laureate, we are confident that the first step of your journey towards ensuring peace in the world would start from your own doorstep and that you would play a positive role in bringing an end to the violence that has afflicted Arakan State,” he wrote. However, “Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy continues to carefully sidestep the hot-button issue,” according to Foreign Policy.

The violent targeting of Burmese minorities arrived at an interesting time for the US and Britain. Their pro-democracy campaign was largely called off when the junta agreed to provide semi-democratic reforms. Eager to offset the near exclusive Chinese influence over the Myanmar economy, Western companies jumped into Myanmar as if one of the most oppressive regimes in the world was suddenly resurrected into an oasis for democracy.

“The gold rush for Burma has begun,” wrote Alex Spillius in the British Guardian. It was ushered in by US President Barak Obama’s recent lifting of the ban on American investment in the country. Britain immediately followed suit, as a UK trade office was hurriedly opened in Rangoon on July 11. “Its aim is to forge links with one of the last unexploited markets in Asia, a country blessed by ample resources of hydro-carbons, minerals, gems and timber, not to mention a cheap labour force, which thanks to years of isolation and sanctions is near virgin territory for foreign investors.” Since US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her ‘historic’ visit to Myanmar in December 2011, a recurring media theme has been ‘Myanmar riches’ and the ‘race for Myanmar’. Little else is being discussed, and certainly not minority rights.

Recently, Clinton held a meeting with Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, who is now being branded as another success story for US diplomacy. On the agenda are US concerns regarding the “lack of transparency in Myanmar’s investment environment and the military’s role in the economy” (CNN, July 12). Thein Sein, however, is guilty of much greater sins, for he is providing a dangerous political discourse that could possibly lead to more killings, or even genocide. The ‘reformist’ president told the UN that “refugee camps or deportation is the solution for nearly a million Rohingya Muslims,” according to ABC Australia. He offered to send the Rohingyas away “if any third country would accept them.”

The Rohingyas are currently undergoing one of the most violent episodes of their history, and their suffering is one of the most pressing issues anywhere in the world. Yet their plight is suspiciously absent from regional and international priorities, or is undercut by giddiness over the country’s “ample resources of hydro-carbons, minerals, gems and timber.”

Meanwhile, the stateless and defenseless Rohingyas continue to suffer and die. Those lucky to make it to Bangladesh are being turned back. Aside from few courageous journalists – indifferent to the country’s promise for ‘democracy’ and other fables – most are simply looking the other way. This tragic attitude must immediately change if human rights matter in the least.

July 16, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments