US pres­sure on Myan­mar shows flimsy friend­ship

Global Times US Edition - - EDITORIAL - By Ai Jun

The Wall Street Journal re­ported Mon­day that aides to Myan­mar State Coun­selor Aung San Suu Kyi have warned Western am­bas­sadors that “their pres­sure on Myan­mar in sup­port of eth­nic Ro­hingya Mus­lims is push­ing the coun­try closer to China.” This comes prior to US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son’s up­com­ing visit to the Myan­mar cap­i­tal of Nay Pyi Taw.

The ar­ti­cle also noted the anx­i­ety of an­a­lysts from the US, claim­ing “the Ro­hingya cri­sis has touched on con­cerns about ced­ing a geopo­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage to China.”

US ob­servers have fi­nally done some­thing right af­ter hav­ing long in­ter­fered in Myan­mar’s do­mes­tic af­fairs – tak­ing China’s in­flu­ence into con­sid­er­a­tion. But they are wrong again for re­flect­ing on the is­sue as a strug­gle for re­gional in­flu­ence.

Dur­ing the Cold War, Washington de­voted it­self to cre­at­ing a strate­gic ring of en­cir­clement around China in South­east Asia while es­tab­lish­ing a US-dom­i­nated sphere of in­flu­ence. How­ever, when an­a­lyz­ing to­day’s sit­u­a­tion in the area, quite a few Amer­i­cans are still caught in such a mind­set.

Beijing is bound to en­hance its re­la­tion­ship with neigh­bor­ing coun­tries for the sake of long-term peace and sta­bil­ity. The projects it has been propos­ing, in­clud­ing the Belt and Road ini­tia­tive, are aimed at shar­ing the suc­cesses of China’s de­vel­op­ment. Na­tions in China’s pe­riph­ery which are in ur­gent need of boost­ing their economies, like Myan­mar, have no ex­cuse to turn down the good faith and ben­e­fits pro­vided by Beijing.

China’s in­flu­ence in the re­gion is ris­ing be­cause it un­der­stands com­plex­ity. It knows that when help­ing Nay Pyi Taw re­solve the long-stand­ing eth­nic con­flicts, re­spects must be paid to the Myan­mese gov­ern­ment, in­stead of point­ing an ac­cus­ing fin­ger with­out pro­vid­ing re­al­is­tic reme­dies.

The West is now con­demn­ing Myan­mar for its vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights sim­ply be­cause the na­tion did not fol­low the US suit. The hege­monic be­hav­ior will cer­tainly not be ac­cepted by Nay Pyi Taw and will only serve to erode the West’s sway in the coun­try.

Suu Kyi adopted a flex­i­ble diplo­matic ap­proach af­ter as­sum­ing of­fice as an at­tempt to strive for as much sup­port as pos­si­ble from the international com­mu­nity for Myan­mar’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and peace process. The US is now mak­ing no se­cret of its frus­tra­tion af­ter fail­ing to turn Myan­mar into its own turf.

The New York Times once pub­lished an ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled “Did the World Get Aung San Suu Kyi Wrong?” The au­thor failed to re­al­ize that the US, or the West, can­not rep­re­sent the world. This ar­ro­gance has dis­turbed their judg­ment. In the end, the West will only get the world wrong.

The same goes with US long­stand­ing ap­proach – treat­ing ev­ery­thing as a fight for in­flu­ence in its for­eign poli­cies.

Even­tu­ally, those that have been wooed by the US will only move closer to China, as they can­not rely on US moral prin­ci­ples to gov­ern their coun­tries.

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