September 29, 2007
life in general: how at least the usa, china, france & india support burma's (myanmar's) military dictatorship
There is nearly almost double standards in the foreign policies of all the democracies with regard to non-democracies. Most human rights-supporting people of existing democracies know how the military dictatorship of Burma (Myanmar) has been repressing the rights of its people for so long. But most of these people wouldn't know how their own democratic governments, in order to further oil & gas interests or other corporate interests using the justification of doing this to maintain their economies for their citizens, have pampered Burma's military dictatorship all along.
We have been reading the current news (here, here and here) of Burmese military government's ugly attacks on its protesting citizens. There is a very insightful write-up on the dynamics in Burma here.
As far as my country (India) is concerned, I do not agree at all with my government (of India) pampering the military rulers of Burma and not pressing for restoration of democracy and release of Aung San Suu Kyi. Many Indians and government officials keep cribbing about US pampering Pakistan (which is true) at the cost of allowing extremists trained in Pakistan to carry on with their violent activities in Kashmir.
Indian military is known to supply arms to the military rulers of Burma to suppress the democracy-seeking rebel groups. Its a sorry state of affairs. In my work as a financial journalist, I had recently interacted with an official of Excise Revenue Intelligence department of the government and among other things that we discussed he told me that in quite some of their raids on companies and agencies they have come across caches of arms belonging to the Indian military and earmarked for dispatch to Burma.
Officially, Indian government denies sending arms. But it does harp on wanting to prevent insurgency operations by ULFA and other groups in North-East states of India (which, in my view, have always been excessively forced to be a part of India even when their local populaces would rather prefer to be independent countries) many of which, it claims, operate out of the the Burmese side of the India-Burma border.
Last 3-5 years, India is also trying to get oil & gas projects in Burma and has preferred to ignore the fact that Burma is run by a military dictatorship in its cheap attempts to bag those projects.
Other countries are no better. Dick Cheney, current US vice-president, was in the past a cheerleader for American companies oil & gas exploration investments in Burma among other countries. Read more about it here.
France's oil company, Total, has a presence in Burma.
China, as everyone knows, has always supported the Burmese military dictatorship.