Why US, ASEAN and Europe should support Myanmar National Unity Government?
In Burma, COVID is spreading very fast. The combination of the coup and COVID is the perfect storm and going to rip off Burma. Shall we wait and see as this is Myanmar’s internal affairs? As usual, UN, US and Europe leave it to ASEAN as a regional bloc to solve the problem. However, ASEAN is largely made up of autocratic countries and not even coming up with any solution back up by concrete action like African Union. The way ASEAN think is that the military will prevail through force and they want to trade as soon as possible. They think that US is not going to intervene. This is obviously seen in the Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong’s interview with BBC. He retorted that in his interview by saying that US airborne 101 is not going to land in Burma. It is echoed by another Singapore Ex-Minister George Yeo in his lecture by saying that they built a new city Naypyidaw and therefore, demonstrators won’t be able to fight back. He even went further by saying that by removing the military, US will face another Iraq or Syria. They looked things from 1988 perspectives. What is different now?
Before this coup happened, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned about Rohingya and how and what actions needed to take by the then democratic government. There are also some statements from Presidential candidate Mr Biden as well saying how tough actions should be taken against Myanmar democratic authority. I do understand those leaders side with their own values. Now Burma is in the hands of the military who had committed Genocide and crimes against humanity. I would have thought that this is the best time to take tough action against the military leader rather than sanctions.
Here is what we want and how US and Europe can help us. We know that US is tied up in several hot spots and there is no boot on the ground for Burma. Therefore, we have created People’s Defence Force to solve our own problem. But Myanmar military is supported by Russia and China and they used the artillery and air power to kill innocent people and commit crimes against humanity. In order to deter the military like UWSA(United Wa State Army) does, we will need some surface to air missiles and some heavy weapons. Otherwise, this military will commit more war crimes and kill innocent civilians. US doesn’t need to provide any money from their tax payer. All we need from US is to allow us to use one billion or some of it which was frozen for the military. By doing so, our National Unity Government can provide weapons and take over command and control of local forces. Otherwise, local defence forces will be out of reach and difficult to control.
Even without any external help, these local forces will be better trained and better equipped sooner or later. If ASEAN doesn’t do anything, there will be more bloodshed inside Burma and more refugees will cross over the border. At the same time, Burma will become the epicentre of COVID and spread across ASEAN as well. That is the first example of how this COVID which is Myanmar’s internal affair can affect ASEAN. In addition, these local forces which are not under the control of NUG will not settle for nothing. They will pay back China and ASEAN’s interest. Because they know that these countries support Myanmar military. So there is no way of doing business as usual as in 1988 and there will be no quick profit for China or ASEAN.
Photo Credit: BBC