The American Vice President directly attempted to interfere in Myanmar’s domestic affairs by demanding that its political leaders reverse the court ruling that jailed two Reuters journalists to seven years behind bars for espionage, contributing to an escalation of US infowar hostility against the strategically positioned Southeast Asian state in advance of what might be a forthcoming Iranian-like sanctions campaign in order to undermine the prospective China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC).
The US and Myanmar have been experiencing a steady falling out over the past couple of years ever since China remarkably succeeded in wooing “democracy” icon Aung San Suu Kyi with promises of turning her country into a key Silk Road hub. Beijing wasn’t just betting on words, however, but delivered with two oil and gas pipelines from the Chinese-constructed port of Kyaukphyu in southern Rakhine State to the landlocked province of Yunnan. Furthermore, China also declared that it would like to build a regional analogue of the famous CPEC in the country, which will prospectively be called the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC). The US never expected such a profound foreign policy pivot by the country’s new authorities after contributing to the years-long rolling regime change process that brought Suu Kyi – who was presumed to be a Western proxy – to power, hence why it began conspiring to encourage a Hybrid War in Rakhine State with the intent of undermining its Chinese rival’s Silk Road plans.
Domestic And International Contexts
The geostrategic background into that asymmetrical destabilization campaign and its most likely future scenarios were explained in depth in the author’s analytical piece last year titled “The Rohingya Crisis: Conflict Scenarios And Reconciliation Proposals”, and interested readers should refer to it if they’re not already familiar with the global strategic context of this conflict. The present piece doesn’t directly deal with that, though it aims to talk about the follow-up infowar provocations that the US has waged against its wayward partner’s government ever since its surprising game-changing rapprochement with China, with a specific emphasis placed on the latest development of US Vice President Pence demanding the release of two Reuters reporters who were just sentenced to seven years in jail for espionage after trying to uncover proof of alleged war crimes during last year’s Hybrid War. The author also touched upon this in a brief piece earlier this summer titled “Reuters On Trial In Myanmar: Journalism vs. Espionage”, which should be read before this one.
Two Sides To Every Story
The prevailing Western Mainstream Media infowar narrative is that the two young reporters were entrapped by the military in order to send a signal to the international journalistic community that investigative research into the conduct of last year’s “clearance operations” in northern Rakhine State would not be tolerated. As the story goes, the journalists were framed by the armed forces and then sentenced in a kangaroo court, but that the West’s “dearly beloved” “democracy icon” Suu Kyi could have politically intervened to save them if only she had the courage to resist the powerful military, which she supposedly doesn’t. Therefore, the US is presenting the case as proof that Myanmar never fully “transitioned to democracy” and that it’s just a “military-run dictatorship” that cleverly but nevertheless unsuccessfully tried to rebrand itself using the smiling face of a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Faced with the defeat of its plans, the US is now doing all that it can to discredit its one-time proxy and her government.
On the other hand, Myanmar perceives the situation altogether differently. From the government’s perspective, the journalists were caught red-handed as they engaged in espionage, whether they themselves were aware of the crime they were committing at the time or not. It’s probable that they had no idea that the methods that their international media employer asked them to use were illegal, though that doesn’t absolve them of their guilt. Soliciting “deep state” sources for classified information pertaining to national security and then accepting such materials in person might be “standard journalistic practice” in Western countries, but it becomes espionage when someone does this on behalf of a foreign actor like the reporters did for Reuters, and that’s standard practice anywhere in the world including the West. The way that the authorities see it, the evidence was presented in the court of law and the accused were sentenced accordingly. Had Suu Kyi gotten involved, that would have been a breach of democracy, not a bolstering of it.
From “Pro-Democracy” Infowars To Anti-OBOR Sanctions
The US is keenly aware of the double standards that it’s applying towards Myanmar because it’s all but certain that an American journalist soliciting classified information about national security topics from a “deep state” source would be tried for espionage if they were caught red-handed walking out of a meeting place with secret materials, but it’s overlooking this reality in order to intensify the infowar against Myanmar for the strategic purpose of undermining CMEC by proxy. It’s not just for the sake of besmirching Myanmar’s international reputation that it’s doing this, nor only in a bid to incite jihadist violence against it like it’s doing in Xinjiang per another infowar campaign that it’s carrying out there, but possibly as a pretext for commencing a broad Iranian-like sanctions campaign against the country in the coming future that would really be executed to end the economic attractiveness of the prospective CMEC, just like it’s poised to do against Pakistan on an “anti-terrorist” basis to obstruct CPEC’s economic viability.
While the US would still love to one day see an “independent” “Rohingyaland” under its proxy control or influence, just like it would love to see the same in Balochistan, Xinjiang, and “Ambazonia” for their geostrategic significances in the Hybrid War on China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR), it’s more than willing to settle for its continued incorporation into Myanmar so long as this issue can remain a festering wound susceptible to external manipulation and held up as a “publicly plausible” excuse for sanctioning CMEC. The same logic also applies to each of the three aforementioned sub-national regions and their use in serving as a pretext for anti-OBOR sanctions. Bearing this insight in mind, it makes sense why Pence – considered by many to be a “Christian fundamentalist” – would all of a sudden take an interest in securing the freedom of two journalists who were jailed for trying to expose war crimes against a Muslim minority, because it was never about “democracy”, but about advancing the US’ anti-Chinese Hybrid War plans by proxy.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.