Enigmatic Problems and Rough Ride of Myanmar (Part-3)

Let’s have a look at geopolitics. Being unable to reach a compromise between the two sides, Russia invaded its neighbor Ukraine, followed by economic sanctions as usual. Long before it happened, a dispute over South China sea had existed. If China faces a war in the Pacific Ocean and South China sea in its east, it will create an emergency exit or an escape hatch in the west. China had an experience during the second world war, while Japanese army was waging attacks on the eastern regions of China, Japanese soldiers entered Burma through Thailand with the help of a Burmese army led by the Thirty-Comrades to shut down a way-out in the west of China through which food and weaponry were supplied into the mainland China.

As China has very few allies, except North Korea to the east, it is really important for China to make its west door secured. It is, therefore, believed that China won’t let Myanmar fall under the influence of any Western Powers. It is no doubt China plans to use the Myanmar coastal lines as its gateways to the seas and oceans. Besides, Myanmar has to depend economically on China, her biggest investment partner. China will fully keep its investments intact. Nowadays, India, a Myanmar’s neighbor to the west is earnestly approaching through a diplomatic channel to have a business relation with Myanmar.

The Western governments will help solve Myanmar issues from far away out there. They seem reluctant to help Myanmar physically in avoidance of a cloudy relationship with China. As the two power rivals, China is not openly helping Myanmar and America is also difficult to assist publicly. It is seen in reality the UN cannot help efficiently, either. It cannot put pressure on the stakeholders of domestic problems. The ASEAN countries neither have political influence to intervene Myanmar issue. As everyone sees, they are speaking about Myanmar just from outside, and find it difficult even to get into Myanmar. To analyze the overall situation, Myanmar has to be self-reliant to end domestic problems. It is, however, noticeable a massive efflux of local political and social activists to third countries through Thailand, and Myanmar has lost manpower as a result.

At present, there is no one who is politically influential enough inside the country who can mediate both sides. Almost everyone takes either side somehow. Voices and actions of neutralists have yet to be seen. Some religious leaders publicly take sides, but most of them have to sit back and see the situation in despair.

Once the most famous political figure of the country, Noble Peace Laurate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who won both local and international support has been sentenced and put behind bars. It can be said that Myanmar lost a good opportunity as she failed to address effectively basic and important needs such as national unity, federal union building and amendment of the constitution when she won the State power and a huge public support. At this time, as she has started to lose international support, and even if she starts to work on these issues once she is released from jail, it may be too late.

The mainland Myanmar known as Anyar region that has been free from armed resistance for many years is now very likely to turn to revolutionary areas, and will be really hard to establish an administrative mechanism out there.

Military itself is now in crisis. Nowadays, no new recruitment is available from Chin and Rakhine as well as from Anyar region such as Sagaing and Magway which were major sources of military recruitment in the past. During the time of General Ne Win, arms factories were built in strategically safe and secured locations between the west bank of the river Ayarwaddy and Rakhine mountain ranges. It could be said that they were very secured as located in remote areas between very high Rakhine mountain ranges and the river Ayarwaddy. But at present, these arms factories are somehow under a severe threat since many defense forces have emerged on the west banks of the rivers Chindwin and Ayarwaddy in Magway and Sagaing regions. Ethnic Resistance Organizations (EROs) with whom military has been in conflict for ages have gradually grown instead of diminishing little by little. Moreover, new armed groups have appeared here and there. To date, emergence of a large number of local defense forces (not yet in unity) in Sagaing and Magway regions will give the military a headache. The mainland Myanmar known as Anyar region that has been free from armed resistance for many years is now very likely to turn to revolutionary areas, and will be really hard to establish an administrative mechanism out there.

After many decades of conflicts, EROs probably want to be in a comfort zone. Remarkable differences between China border-based and Thailand border-based EROs should be considered seriously. To look at closely, since they exist separately in the northern and southern parts, a danger of dividing Myanmar into two halves of the North and the South as in the cases of Korea and Vietnam should also be taken into account. India border-based organizations in the west are not so powerful that they cannot shape Myanmar affairs. The Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) seems useless, as about three out of ten signatories of the NCA ignore the terms of the agreement, and it can be said that peace processes have stopped.

Although there are many writings about comments, suggestions and opinions to solve Myanmar issues, no workable ideas or action plans have been seen rolled out so far, or no one’s out there who knows what to pick up first to address the issue. The ASEAN special envoy to Myanmar, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia couldn’t make any difference. And his successor Indonesia is now seen collecting Qi to solve the problem better in their term.


Nyan Lynn