This article addresses the blowback from France regarding the announcement of the trilateral AUKUS agreement.
With the current situation in Afghanistan unfolding faster than one can blink an eye, many have speculated that the Taliban’s seeming victory will be a confidence booster to multiple separatist and terror groups around the world, most notably to Southeast Asia and South Asia. The withdrawal also begs the question of whether US allies can rely on Washington for support in the face of China's aggression.
The February military coup and ensuing violence have pushed many citizens toward armed resistance. Civilian militias have emerged in the cities and countryside as a means for citizens to protect themselves from the State Administrative Council’s harsh crackdown on protests. Established ethnic insurgent groups have also offered sanctuary to political dissidents, as well as combat training to activists looking to oppose the military junta. In a grim turn, the SAC and security forces have also utilized the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage as best they can. By restricting critical oxygen supplies and reserving vaccinations for its rank-and-file members, the Tatmadaw has found yet another means of rewarding those loyal to the SAC and controlling those expressing resistance.
As the battle for democracy in Myanmar rages on at the doorstep of China, Myanmar’s women will continue to stand on the front lines to prevent the triumph of authoritarianism. It is a tall order for them to reach a tipping point against the heavily armed military—which enjoys the support from authoritarian regimes such as China and Russia—without some substantive international assistance beyond encouragements and statements. The battle for democracy in Myanmar has become a symbolic contest between democracy and authoritarianism at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region. It will be in the best interest of the most prominent exemplars of democracy to assist Myanmar’s women achieve the tipping point to defeat the military regime. The failure to restore democracy in Myanmar will have reverberations throughout the Indo-Pacific. “The international community must recognize the courage of the women of Myanmar and stand with them in their fight for democracy.”
ASEAN leaders would be wise to work creatively around the principle of noninterference to prevent figures such as Min Aung Hlaing from further installing themselves in the organization’s halls of power. They need to do so not on behalf of the often-absent forces of good that claim to bend the arc of history toward progress, or even for liberal values, but for their own self-interest. It does not matter why they do the right thing, only that they actually do it. If selfishness forces ASEAN to act, the region and the United States will be better for it.
Taking the position that the Tatmadaw is an essential institution ignores two fundamental realities: its own record of fostering conflict and division, mismanaging and subordinating the country’s interests to its own obsession with power; and the near unanimity with which the Myanmar population despises the armed forces and will no longer live peacefully under its control. The February 2021 coup sparked a national uprising of a magnitude that should have everyone questioning long-held assumptions about the centers of power in the years ahead.
This article probes Washington’s relative lack of attention to Myanmar in its Asia rebalancing and Indo-Pacific strategies and its failure to reap the benefits of Myanmar’s reform and opening. The article also assesses the extent of the leverage of China’s power in Myanmar and its implications for Myanmar’s own ability to hedge its bets, and that of other major players to promote their interests in Myanmar. Lastly, the article analyzes the emerging trajectory of China’s role in Myanmar post the military coup and argues that Washington needs to soberly assess the value of Myanmar in its strategic calculus for the Indo-Pacific. Based on such an assessment, Washington needs to clarify the objectives of its approach to Myanmar and then arrive at its strategy to achieve those objectives, which might include recalibrating its reliance on ASEAN, its dynamics with China vis-à-vis Myanmar, and engagement with like-minded partners of the Indo-Pacific region.
This article highlights the tyranny of the military junta and the backsliding of democracy in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), contending that Russia and China's unwavering support of Myanmar's military makes it difficult to restore the democratic process and reestablish peace and stability. It also proposes that the triangular nexus of China–Myanmar–Russia propels apprehensions for the rise of autocracy and its impact on South Asia and Southeast Asian security architecture and regional stability.
Volume 04 Issue 6 - Myanmar Crisis Special Issue 2021
However, there is another way to look at the Taliban victory. If one puts to one side the frame of liberal internationalism (which, after all, was an artifact of the post–Cold War unipolar moment) and adopts instead that of “great-power competition,” or GPC (which more accurately reflects the current geopolitical environment), concerns about the loss of Afghanistan to the forces of illiberalism quickly fade. And, as those concerns fade, a new picture comes into focus—one in which America’s great-power competitors, Russia and China, are forced to deal with a rapidly deteriorating situation in a region that both consider of vital importance to their security and broader geopolitical interests. However, what, specifically, does this new strategic picture look like? How should we think about the fall of Afghanistan in the context of post-unipolar moment world—a world in which great powers like the United States, China, and Russia vie with each other for power and influence?
India’s dominance in South Asia is due to its large geographical area, economic might, military strength, and strategic positioning over the Indian ocean. But the coming of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has shaken up this hegemonic balance and given other, smaller regional nations a chance to rise up against the dominant influence in the region. China has been penetrating regional diplomacy in South Asia, all the while keeping in mind its larger aim of further securing its sources in the West. For countries in the region such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the BRI is seen as a more neutral, if not benign force and has pushed India to become more considerate of changes and more responsible for its own actions. With the rise of China, many scholars and think tanks have aggressively researched this issue and proposed theories such as the “String of Pearls,” which has become a topic of discussion and worry not only for India but also for the nations that have become a part of China’s projects. This article will delve into the issue and discuss how China’s rise in South Asia has changed the course of India’s regional and bilateral policies and relations. Although China may seem to have a drastic impact on India’s position, it has not panned out that way. India has been a dominant power in the region and unilateral in its diplomacy, but the rise of China gives smaller nations power at the negotiating table with India and thus pushes India to place more focus on neighbors.
Volume 04 Issue 5 - Fall 2021
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