Above: A march in support of the Tatmadaw and for the unity of Myanmar in Yangon, February 2019. Image from http://www.mmtimes.com
09-04-2021: According to Western corporate media, Myanmar’s military forces (Tatmadaw) are currently engaged in a “massacre” of innocent civilians who are objecting to a coup which cancelled popular elections. The Tatmadaw is apparently engaged in unrestrained and unprovoked violence against genuine citizens who wish to transition further towards “democracy” and become part of the international community, where the democratic and human and civil rights of all of Myanmar’s 54 million people are upheld. The Tatmadaw have allegedly engaged in ethnic cleansing and political repression in the past, and if the Western powers do not intervene to save the people of Myanmar, there will be a slaughter of unprecedented proportions which will forever stain history.
Upside down narrative
The only problem is that virtually none of this narrative contains a grain of truth. It is a storyline which is wilfully falsified and deliberately distorted. It is a portrayal carefully designed to pull at the heartstrings of liberals the world over, which invariably gives imperialism “humanitarian” cover to wage yet another regime change war by any means they see as necessary to address the dwindling fortunes of global capitalism. In fact, Western imperialism – led by the governments of the USA (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) is engaged in yet another proxy war of regime change on Myanmar, modelled on the “success” of NATO’s obliteration of Green Libya in 2011, the Ukronazi coup in Ukraine in 2014, and the failure of the ten year ISIS/Al Qaeda proxy regime change war on Syria.
Unlike the regime change operations in Ukraine and Syria – which were largely aimed at Russia (and Iran), the current fix in Myanmar is aimed squarely at the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Red China’s inexorable rise as a socialist economic power cannot be overcome by the floundering for-profit economies of the US and the European Union (EU), and nor can the US/EU offer anything remotely comparable to that which the PRC can with regard to South East Asia. It is not simply dollars that the US/EU forgoes when Myanmar chooses to deepen its economic partnerships with the giant state backed enterprises operating just across the border in mainland China. It leads to a changing of the political balance of forces in the region, and from a unipolar world to a multipolar one. This is what the US/UK seeks to degrade in Myanmar, and they are prepared to resort to the same internal/external regime change tactics that caused staggering loss of life in Libya and Syria.
UK government attempts to regain its “lost” colony
Until 1988, Myanmar was officially the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma. Since then, it has been renamed the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. British imperialism ruled what was then Burma from 1885 until independence in 1948. During World War II, British imperialism used minority ethnic groups (e.g. Karen, Kachin, Chin) within the then Burma as part of its colonial army, a divide-and-rule tactic against the majority Burman ethnicity. Today, the Karen, Kachin and Chin armed separatist groups are used to politically and militarily destabilise economic and infrastructure co-operation with the PRC, to derail the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI or New Silk Road) projects. They are also being used as a base for an alternative military to form a para-state with the aim of overthrowing Myanmar altogether.
The UK government is quite open about its formidable backing of Myanmar’s “pro-democracy protestors”. Loudly and openly on the British government’s own website, it states clearly that the “British government is encouraging and supporting Myanmar’s transition”. It lists its own Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), its Department of International Trade (DIT) and its Ministry of Defence (MOD) as “working closely together” with the British Embassy in Yangon to “support transition”. The aims here are so transparent that they are barely hidden. The UK government is involved up to its neck in a regime change war in Myanmar, whatever the consequences. It is aimed not so much at Myanmar as towards its gigantic neighbour, the PRC. The PRC itself cannot be overthrown by military means, so the UK embarks in not so subtle political subversion in one of its smaller neighbours. Chipping away at a building brick by brick, the UK hopes to bring down the leviathan of the PRC itself – the world’s most powerful deformed workers’ state.
US government funding scores of fronts
Needless to say, the UK government does not attempt to subvert Myanmar on its own. The US government has far more involvement in fostering unrest there, stretching back decades. The notorious National Endowment for Democracy (NED) even lists on its website just some of the “civil society” fronts it funds in Myanmar – but using the British colonial name of Burma. So called activists from the Karen, Shin, Mon, Arakan and Kachin states are listed, alongside claimed journalists, women’s rights centres, think tanks, so-called media empowerment, amongst others. It is farcical to claim that the NED – the public relations arm of the CIA – cares one whit about democratic and civil rights for working people in Myanmar. Rather, Washington and London (backed by Canberra) are creating and funding “opposition” within Myanmar which is reliant on the West itself. This “opposition” can then call for US intervention, which effectively facilitates a stepping stone toward the strategic goal of pressuring the PRC via the presence of US troops (or their proxies) directly on their borders.
The US ruling class is livid at the prospect of the deepening economic, trade and joint infrastructure development co-operation between the PRC and Myanmar. In January 2020, PRC President Xi Jinping became the first high-level PRC official in 20 years to visit Myanmar. At that meeting President Xi and then State Counsellor Aung Sung Suu Kyi released a joint statement committing to an acceleration of the building of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, a crucial part of their co-operation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Suu Kyi signed on for the obvious economic benefits for Myanmar, including much needed development, rather than any political backing of the PRC.
For decades, the US government – along with billionaire woke anti-socialist George Soros – has been openly funding fronts within Myanmar which masquerade as NGOs. For example, the plan for the development of the Myitsone Dam on the Irrawaddy River in the Northern Kachin State was halted in 2011 due to “protests” allegedly about environmental issues and “disruption” caused by the dam’s construction. In reality, what occurred is that a network of US government backed organisations operated in cahoots with big capital outlets such as George Soros’ Open Society Foundation (OSF), alongside NED funded “media” units in Myanmar such as The New Era Journal, The Irrawaddy and Democratic Voice of Burma. They made a ruckus about invented “human rights abuses” during construction. In reality, what these US fronts objected to was the involvement in the mega-project of several Chinese state-owned enterprises, such as the China Gezhouba Group and the China Power Investment Corporation.
The generation of vast amounts of electric power via the dam, in an underdeveloped region, will obviously benefit the surrounding population and the economy of Myanmar. Yet, these US government funded “activists” would prefer Myanmar remain without development, with less socio-economic advance – lest “China” should mutually benefit from the construction of such projects. The Myitsone Dam construction halt occurred almost ten years before President Xi and Aung Sung Suu Kyi agreed to advance the China-Myanmar economic corridor. It is absurd to go on to claim that today, some of the very same people and organisations in Myanmar with a history of blocking economic development projects are “peaceful pro-democracy protestors” or are “grassroots” organisations. The US state department does not fund “grassroots” organisations and armed separatist militias for no reason.
Parallel government part 2
As in the regime change wars on Libya and Syria, a parallel government has now declared itself in Myanmar. The “Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw” (CRPH), said to be composed of ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) members, is apparently operating in secret, and is appealing to foreign nations for recognition. This is a transparent call for imperialism – to which they are inextricably linked – to intervene. These US/UK funded fronts, from the NLD to each of the armed ethnic separatist militias, are well aware that they do not have a hope of displacing the military of Myanmar without the largest and most powerful Western states behind them. The US/UK funded political and civil organisations had effectively already formed a parallel government within Myanmar, to such an extent that it had become easy for them to manipulate elections to ensure “victory” for the NLD. Now, the CRPH is a second phase of a long-term plan to destroy Myanmar’s sovereignty.
Belatedly, the Tatmadaw has recently taken some measures against the virtual army of imperialist backed fronts posing as NGOs, which had been operating within Myanmar with impunity. In late March, the Tatmadaw seized the bank accounts of George Soros’ OSF, accusing it of violating multiple financial restrictions for such organisations, and of providing financial assistance to the “civil disobedience” movement. It also accused Aung Sung Suu Kyi of personally meeting with Soros. The strategy of Western finance capital is clear – fund and help organise political subversion, give political cover to ethnic armed separatist militia, foster a pro-Western “civil disobedience” movement which links with them, and then declare a parallel government which then calls for intervention, i.e. invasion, by the strongest Western powers. We should not need a reminder that this scenario could well be a replay of the catastrophic US led war on Syria, where for 10 years the Syrian government had no option but to militarily respond to heavily armed and barbaric mercenaries bent on destroying the country at the behest of their imperialist benefactors. The spillover into South East Asia in such an outcome would cause chaos for the PRC – precisely the aim of Washington and London in their dirty war on Beijing.
Workers must resist Covid enhanced imperialism
If anything, the US/UK proxy regime change war on Myanmar is yet another example that playing along with the Covid-19 fear pandemic nonsense is no guarantee that by doing so, imperialism will regard you as a partner, and will not move to obliterate your nation. Both the Tatmadaw and the internally subversive NLD adopted and practiced the illogical Corona rigmarole, to no avail. To that end, the governments of Russia, the People’s Republic of China, Iran, the DPRK, Cuba and Venezuela also danced to the tune of Covid fraud, and yet the danger of imperialist overthrow against them all is arguably more acute than ever. Imperialism will never regard you as an equal if you demonstrate one iota of independence from Washington. In Myanmar, it is ultimately the Tatmadaw which stands in the way between the last legs of its sovereignty and total control by Wall Street and the City of London. That, and its co-operation with the PRC, means that it is now Washington’s current cartoon villain.
A war on Myanmar would be catastrophic, and would likely spill over into Thailand, and possibly even the PRC. Workers must resist and push back US/UK led imperialism while defending Myanmar and, by extension, the bureaucratically deformed Chinese workers’ state. To be sure, if the Communist Party of China (CPC) operated through genuine Marxism, they would lead a campaign to appeal to the workers of Myanmar to rise against the ethnic armed separatists and US/UK funded faux “human rights” and “civil society” proxies, while linking up with the workers of China, South East Asia and internationally on a class basis. Alas, the political basis of the CPC is the twin Stalinist/Maoist (i.e., anti-Marxist) axioms of “socialism in one country” and “peaceful coexistence”, which means it does not even blink if it needs to lean on the workers of China and Asia to fortify imperialism itself.
As far away as it seems now, what is required in South East Asia are the forging of Marxist vanguard parties anchored with the theory of Permanent Revolution. Such organs would seek to prepare workers for socialist revolutions in Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia which would link with proletarian political revolutions in Laos, Vietnam, China and the DPRK. In the meantime, workers in Myanmar should form a temporary bloc with the Tatmadaw against US/UK imperialism and their domestic proxies, i.e., armed ethnic separatists and those in Myanmar bought off by the Western funded and fake “civil society” organisations. These miscreants have no qualms about using dishonesty, deception, and even violence to achieve their aims. Workers internationally should act in solidarity with all attempts to drive the foreign funded saboteurs out of Myanmar and Thailand, to help re-establish their independence. Genuine self-determination only arrives, however, with the bringing to power of the proletariat, as part of the international triumph of socialism. US/UK: HANDS OFF MYANMAR!