Two women have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recent years. Both were darlings of America’s Imperial NeoLib class. All the global resources of this class were mobilized to build international campaigns to make these women into heros; heros whom the entire world could applaud & possibly emulate.
One was a tireless activist for her people, for their right to live under a democracy. She went to jail in pursuit of her resolute drive for her cause. This relentless fighter for her people was awarded the Sakharov prize and the Nobel Prize in 1991.
The second one had far less of a record in doing anything for her people or for a cause. What she had was courage to stand up to terrorism that sought to keep her & other girls in semi-servitude without any rights to education, success or individual freedom. For her determination, she was shot in the head. Her case came to the attention of “the international community” and she was moved to a hospital in London. She remained true to her personal fight and became a symbol of women’s fight for emancipation. She was also awarded the Sakharov Prize and then the Nobel Prize in 2014.
The second one is, of course, Malala Yousafzai, the young girl from Swat in occupied Southern Afghanistan. She remains a beloved of the “international community” that is run for all practical purposes by America’s NeoLib Imperial Class. Her entry into Oxford got more “international” coverage than the entry of President Obama’s daughter into Harvard.
The first one is Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar. Unlike Malala, she has been toppled from the grace of “the international community”. She has been stripped off her many awards and now efforts are underway to strip her of her Nobel Prize.
Why? What happened for her to fall off her pedestal on which “the international community” had placed her? And why has Malala Yousafzai remained on her pedestal?
The answer is simple. Malala did nothing after receiving her awards; especially nothing against the wishes & aims of “the international community” who put her on the pedestal. She simply did what she was told & acted as the symbol they had made her. The fact that Malala has done NOTHING to fight for or improve the conditions of young women in her land is deemed irrelevant.
In contrast, Aung San Suu Kyi went on with her mission with the same drive. She continues to act in what she perceives as the interests of her people. What changed is that work is now against the objectives of “the international community”. This “community” had zero interest in the interests of the people of Myanmar just as it had no interest in the young women of Swat. Their entire interest was in the symbolism they want to project. One woman keeps being their symbol and she is kept on the pedestal; the other one preferred to work for her people and so she is being pulled down systematically.
We first read this term in an important article in 2012 by Robert Kaplan, then the Chief Geopolitical Analyst of Stratfor. He defined this class in America as below:
- “An imperial class is a large group of people who have a deeply evolved sense of imperial mission, and whose professional interests are connected to that mission succeeding. They number journalists and policy experts at think tanks who collectively define the debate among elites throughout the Boston-to-Washington media corridor; and by defining that debate determine the opinions that bombard any administration on the foreign policy front. This class is financially well off and generally educated at the best schools. It is the product of decades of prosperity going back to the post-World War II era. Whereas Washington in the mid-20th century had barely a handful of think tanks, the city is now packed with them. As for the media, it now constitutes a power center all its own that includes both liberal internationalists and neoconservatives, both of whom have in the past supported using the American military to impose American values.”
When you read this description, don’t you think of the New York Times, the Washington Post and policy arms of America like the Council of Foreign Relations that is packed with America’s Investment Banks & Multinational companies. They form the Imperial Class of “the international community” that now encompasses British & European media and sections of international organizations like the UN. As Kaplan explained:
- ” … a significant section of this imperial class can be defined as humanitarians, who believe America’s proper role in the world is to prevent genocide and otherwise protect embattled ethnic or sectarian minorities. Imperialism, keep in mind, should be defined as a relatively weak form of sovereignty exercised by a great power. … Thus, humanitarianism that seeks to affect outcomes overseas falls within the rubric of imperialism, whereas isolationism does not”.
It is this imperial class that drove the horrific war inside Syria against the bad Assad regime. It is this class that agitated for military intervention in Syria. They didn’t care that the people who were fighting Assad were Al-Qaida & far worse than Assad and that they would unleash far greater terror & possibly genocide of Syria’s minorities. All that mattered to them was the victory of their cherished symbolism and destruction of those who opposed it. The result is visible to all; a near total destruction of a large part of Syria.
Now this “humanitarian” imperial class of America has found a new target – their former hero, the Nobel Prize winner – Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar. The attack is carefully & smartly choreographed. The argument is that “the international community” was so naively humanitarian that they might have misjudged her out of their best intentions. The best example of this is a New York Times article that asks “Did the World Get Aung San Suu Kyi Wrong?”
The usually hidden key to the “White Imperialism” of this NYT article (it actually refers positively to the colonial British “white man’s burden” ) comes from an analyst at the Lowry Institute in Australia:
- “Treating Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi as somehow above Myanmar’s problems allowed the world to see only her “moral righteousness and bravery rather than the political force she represented,”
In other words, the problems of Myanmar are really irrelevant and Aung San Suu Kyi was only important as a symbol of the White imperial values”. The moment she showed herself committed above all to Myanmar’s problems, Aung San Suu Kyi became a symbol of the naive mistake of “Humanitarian White Imperialism”.
2. Myanmar as a new & mini Syria-NaPakistan?
Remember how the destruction of Syria began? The “Western Imperial class” decided in toto that Assad must go. The NeoCons of this class wanted Assad to go because he was an “ally” of Iran; the NeoLibs of this class wanted Assad to go because of their professed “humanitarianism”. Neither cared that the forces fighting Assad were mainly of the Al-Qaida kind, supported by the extreme Sunni regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The biggest reason for Assad’s survival is the intervention of Russia.
That pattern seems to be repeating in a border region of Myanmar called Arakan or Rakhine. This region is adjacent to the predominantly Muslim state of Bangladesh and is today’s home to a Muslim minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. From what we understand, Muslim laborers were brought in by the British colonialists to harvest resources of Myanmar for Britain. This was not unlike the Chinese laborers who were brought in build America’s railroads. The difference is America sent back the Chinese laborers to China in the last century while the descendants of the Muslim laborers brought into Myanmar remain there today.
From what we understand, the recent violence was begun by a terrorist-type group of Arakan Muslims, a group that was reportedly trained by the ISI agency of NonPakistan & funded by Saudi Arabia ( just like the 9/11 terrorists!). This terrorist group reportedly launched barbaric attacks on Buddhists & Hindus in Arakan. That was enough to spark massive counter violence by increasingly hawkish Buddhists.
It is clear to all that the majority of the people of Myanmar consider these Muslims as foreigners thrust on them and want them to leave. This is not that different from the forced expulsion and religious cleansing of Buddhists & Hindus by Muslim regimes in BanglaDesh & NonPakistan. Unlike tens of millions of Buddhists/Hindus cleansed out by NonPakistan & Bangladesh over the past 70 years, the total number of “rohingya” Muslims in Myanmar is about 1 million, out of which 500,000 have already left.
Look at the populations of the neighboring Muslim countries – Bangladesh has 161 million people; Malaysia 30 million and Indonesia 257 million. How easy would it be for these countries to accommodate an additional 500,000 – 1 million?
Would that be so bad especially when the alternative is emergence of Muslim minority terrorism in Myanmar funded by Saudi Arabia & its Sunni allies and the possibility of this Muslim terrorism seeping into Bangladesh? Isn’t that reminiscent of early days of American involvement in NonPakistan when Saudi money & American military began training Afghan terrorists to attack Soviets in Afghanistan? Didn’t that backfire to destabilize NonPakistan?
Well, the American military is not yet active against Myanmar, at least not yet. But the centers of America’s Imperial Class are. Witness the article in & by the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) titled Next Steps in the Rohingya Crisis, an article broadcast to her entire base of followers by Alyssa Ayres, CFR’s fellow for India and the Indian Subcontinent.
This article praises a bill introduced by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators that would “place sanctions and travel restrictions on top members of the Myanmar military linked to the Rakhine State violence“. This CFR article recommends far more intense measures and writes ” other parts of the U.S. government, and other important actors with leverage over Myanmar, should take action as well … He [Tillerson] should use his trip to warn top military leaders of tougher, multinational sanctions on the Myanmar military“.
Isn’t this virtually a call to war against Myanmar leadership for doing what the majority of their people want? Yes, but that’s presumably OK because the wishes of the people of Myanmar are against the “western imperial humanitarian” standards. Apparently it would be more “humanitarian” to destabilize the country of Myanmar and ignite a new wave of Saudi-funded, American-liberal-encouraged Sunni Islamic terror!
But is that all? Are these threats of “western humanitarianism” against Myanmar only driven by values? Or is their a geostrategic objective behind it? Let us look at the map of Arakan & the neighborhood.
The map on the left shows the highly strategic location of the Rakhine/Arakan region. It sits above the entrance to the Malacca Straits that connect Japan, China, South east Asia and Australia to the Indian Ocean.
Notice the port of Kyack Phyu in the map on the right. China is building a new deep water port at Kyack Phyu capable of handling the world’s largest container ships. Kyack Phyu sits near the Shwe gas fields in Arakan/Rakhine which contain one of the world’s largest reserves of natural gas. China is planning to build a Sino-Myanmar oil & gas pipeline from Kyack Phyu all the way across Myanmar into Kunming in the Yunnan province of China.
Despite the competition between China on one side, India-Japan on the other and America on the third, China is in the driver’s seat with its financial resources and its intense need. So we wonder whether the loud & serious support for the Muslims in Rakhine/Arakan and the threat of sanctions on Myanmar leadership is to force them to reduce their relationship with China?
If the Muslim minority remains in Rakhine/Arakan and a Muslim terrorism threat emerges in that area, could it possibly threaten Chinese plans to link Rakhine to China via pipelines & railroad? Would it prevent China from getting a military base in Kyack Phyu and access to the Indian Ocean bypassing its current choke point in Malacca Straits?
We hope this sort of thinking is not behind the “western imperial humanitarian” involvement in Arakan/Rakhine. But it would be extremely counterproductive.
3. Western Religious Apartheid against Buddhists/Hindus
Back on June 1, 2013, we wrote an article titled A Religious “Caste” System in American Media & NGOs?. After studying US media & Think tanks for four years, we now think this is not just a Caste System but a semi-formal system of Religious Apartheid against Hindus, Buddhists and other Asian Religions. We see it more and more in formal political-financial blocs like the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), Think Tanks like AEI/Brookings and of course in the Western Media.
These entities are the drivers for intensifying punishment of Buddhist leaders of Myanmar to force them to succumb to Saudi Arabian-US pressures over Muslims in Arakan/Rakhine. Their zeal is likely to backfire not merely against America but also against Japan & the coalition America is trying to encourage between India, Japan and Australia.
Because the majority of people in Myanmar support the expulsion of foreign Muslims from Arakan and support Myanmar military & Aung San Suu Kyi. So while the people of Myanmar are not in favor of additional Chinese influence in Myanmar. they might accept it over America that backs Muslims in Rahkine.
Secondly because, in our opinion, the majority of non-Muslim Asians support the Buddhist drive against Muslims in Myanmar. That includes Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and India. Virtually every Hindu in India believes that America has been pro-NonPakistan and anti-Hindu for the past 70 years. They also believe that America is interested in somehow splitting Kashmir away from India. So active support of Muslims in Rakhine against Buddhist majority in Myanmar would make the Indian people more wary of America than they already are.
4. Stupid China, Lucky America?
Think how stupid China was in 2009. The Chinese system looked more sensible and less prone to financial crisis. American image was damaged because of the banking crisis. Wasn’t it a glorious opportunity for China to bring much of Asia on their side by positioning the Chinese system as in sync with Asian/Buddhist values and contrast it with a rapacious capitalistic US system?
Almost everybody in Asia still shudders at the horrors perpetrated by European Christian colonial powers in Asia. The crisis in 2009 was an opportunity for China to portray America as another white Christian colonial power with conversion-oriented objectives, both religious & systemic. Instead, like Japan in 1930s, China went racist towards other Asians. Their inbred conviction of intrinsic Han-superiority made China appear far worse to Asians than America.
The stupid & ham handed American involvement in favor of Saudi-backed Muslims against Buddhist Asians may present another opportunity to President Xi Jin Ping, especially now that he has concentrated power in his hands. He could launch an anti-Muslim coalition that protects Buddhist Asians against an America-Saudi pro-Muslim coalition.
China could get Russia to back it, especially a Russia that has suffered from its own internal Muslim terrorism and a Russia that fought to protect Assad against a similar America-Saudi pro-Sunni coalition. The real danger here is that most Asians, including Indians, Japanese & South East Asians, would be sympathetic to such a pro-Asian/Buddhist China-led drive. Luckily for America, there is little danger of China shedding or even hiding its racist contempt for other Asians.
But that is not a reason for America to act in an arrogant “white imperial” manner against Buddhist/Hindu culture & religions in Asia. Because tensions & conflicts between Buddhist/Hindu majorities in Asia and Muslim minorities will only increase in scope and intensity in the next decade. How America handles that will go a long way towards determining America’s long term success in Asia.
A first step would be to help strengthen the hands of Aung San Suu Kyi instead of attacking her.
Send your feedback to email@example.com Or @MacroViewpoints on Twitter