mercredi, novembre 28, 2007

The geostrategic interests of the major power and Myanmar


The geostrategic interests of major powers and Myanmar

Khemara Jati
Montréal, Québec
October 1st, 2007

Christophe Colomb's arrival in America in 1492 marks the beginning of the world opening. The arrival of the Portuguese Vasco de Gamma to Calicut (India) in 1498, having by-passed Africa by the South, then the arrival of another Portuguese Albuquerque at Malacca in 1511, following by the arrival of the third Portuguese in the service of Spain Magellan to the Philippines in 1521, by the West having by-passed South America and having crossed the Pacific, the world is finished. The history of a country, as Cambodia, cannot be written unless taking into account these facts and their consequences.

Let us mention that after the death of Magellan, the Basque El Cano will end the first journey circumterrestre in 1522. By consulting the ship's log, the crew notices one day delay between the Spanish calendar and that of the expedition, unexpected proof of the rotation of the earth on herself, at the beginning of the copernic revolution in cosmology followed by Kepler, by Newton and by Einstein.

These facts show the European superiority in the navigation in open sea, on the sciences and on the military strategy with the firearms. Then the last quarter of the XIXth century saw the emergence of two other powers : the United States of America and Japan. Finally nowadays, two other powers come : China and India. Finally announced the end of reserve in hydrocarbons, essential energy for the economic development of any country.

First the origin of history of the new name of Burma: Myanmar, adopted on September 18th, 1989 to cover every 135 minorities of the country. The name of Burma referred only to the Burmese ethnic group. According to the legend, Bya Ma, powerful legendary spirits would have created this country where the current name.

Myanmar (676 577 km ² and 47,5 million inhabitants, whose 86,2 % alphabetized) is a State situated in the borders of three major geopolitical zones of Asia, with on the West and in the North, Bangladesh (193 km), and India (1463 km), on the Northeast: China (2185 km), and in the East: Laos (235 km) and the Thailand (1800 km). The country has on the other hand 1930 km of coasts with the capital and the port Yangoon (Rangoon) (5,5 million inhabitants) and of important proved reserve of hydrocarbons (off shore): petroleum 3,2 billion barrels, gas 2 500 billion cubic meters.

For China it is the possibility of trading with Africa and Europe without passing by the Strait of Malacca. At the same time open up the provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan. In Beijing, the objectives connected to the Burmese stake raise since in the middle of 1980s. On September 2nd, 1985, "Beijing Review" publishes a henceforth famous article entitled « Turn to the Southwest: the opinion of an expert », signed by former Chinese Vice Minister of the communications, Piece Qi, who utters the idea according to which China has to develop its commercial policy in the direction of Indian Ocean and of its neighboring zones via Burma. For this purpose, it is necessary to calm the Sino-Burmese border area and to develop the communications connecting China and Burma. Already at the beginning of 1985, the Chinese President Liu Xiannan came to Rangoon officializing the relations of State to State.

By so doing, with the development of the Chinese war navy, and the harbor opportunities granted by Rangoon, China would become a naval power in Indian Ocean. The Chinese navy is now the third in the world by the tonnage and also by the technical capacities. China needs aircraft-carrier, real mobile airports. The United States has 12, India one. China is building its first aircraft-carrier.

Then the interests of China are immense. To calm the border area means the end of supporting the guerrilla warfare of the Burmese Communist Party. Now it is and a real highway connects now the Chinese provinces with Yangoon. It will be completed by a railroad line. The provincial roads surrounded the North of the country allowing the pacification and also to improve the internal relations of Myanmar. Yangoon already gives harbor opportunities to the Chinese navy. A pipeline is in construction to forward the gas from Indian Ocean to China. It will be doubled by another pipeline for the petroleum. So the supplies to the central provinces of China in hydrocarbon from Myanma and from the Middle East will not be obliged any more to pass by the Strait of Malacca.

India felt threatening then support Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel prize of the Peace in 1991, against the military regime in Myanmar. But the factories of eastern India, in particular in Calcutta cannot ignore the important sources quite close of hydrocarbons. Then India abandons the policy against the military power of Yangoon and its policy of supporting Aung San Suu Kyi. Recently, in full demonstration of the monks in Yangoon, an Indian delegation came to sign agreements concerning the natural gas supply to India. India will take care to build a pipeline which will by-pass Bangladesh. It is necessary to note that so far all the western oil companies did not leave the country.

The military regime at Yangoon did not forget the support of China to the guerrilla warfare of the Burmese Communist Party, that is why Chinese writings are forbidden in the public places. Besides the myanma and the english characters are tolerated. The oil research is also diversified and opened to the American and French companies. Total runs some gas and forwards it by a pipeline to Thailand. It is what explains the accommodating position of the Yangoon regime with Ibrahim Gambari, the messenger sent by UN.

In term of policy inside Myanmar, the rate of learning people is approximatively 90 %, compare to Thailand and Vietnam. The education is in national language up to the university as in our two neighbors, with English as foreign language. All the important technical positions are in the hands of Myanmar people. On this subject, let us note that in Angola, the most important oil platform, the powerboat of the French company Total is steered by an Angolan. Yangoon is being equipped with a navy to defend her territorial waters. On this subject, no country dares to threaten the independence and the territorial and maritime integrity of the country.

For the religious of the country, the Buddhist hierarchy is respected. The demonstrations are tolerated until a certain measure as we have just seen it.

Is the situation in Cambodia better than in Myanmar?


It is normal that our fellow countrymen feel concerned by the events in Myanmar. Let us notice however that Tep Vong, the leader of the monks in Cambodia is a politician set up by Hanoi since 1979. This so-called leader of the monks who ignores everything about Buddhism and who applies literally the orders of his masters, has no connection with the monk's leaders of before 1975. Chuon Nath and Huot Tath were scholars and real saints. In Cambodia the slightest demonstration is forbidden. More everything is made so that our energy, in particular electric and oil depend almost 100 % of our powerful neighbors. The construction of the high-tension lines is financed in order to transport our electricity to our neighbors : Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. More, vietnamese companies come to build dams and hydroelectric stations in our land and sell the electricity to Cambodians, naturally with high profits, because of monopoly. Already the vietnamese company Sokimex is a State in the State and has the virtual monopoly of our supply by running gasoline bought from Vietnam, with exaggerated profits. All this without the slightest call for tender. Our territorial and maritime integrity is daily violated by our two neighbors. In 2009, there will be a questioning of the continental shelf of the world. Are there any Cambodian organization which takes charge of this crucial question? Why, our internal roads, in particular those towards our cities and villages of our borders are in very bad condition? On the contrary, those of our neighbors are excellent. Why our politicians, said about the opposition, are not visiting any more our fellow countrymen on our borders? We have now some petroleum and some natural gas, do we have enough engineers and technicians capable of managing these new wealth? Do we have a navy capable of guaranteeing the security of our off shore resources ? And capable of preventing our neighbors from coming to plunder our halieutic resources?

In term of education, how to catch up our delay concerning of illiteracy? How to reduce them? To reach most quickly the 90 % of our neighbors? Is not the university education in foreign language an obstacle? Some years ago once financed translations of the foreign works into Cambodian. Nowadays it is the opposite, once finance translations of the Cambodian books in foreign languages! Why?

To understand this, we are going to examine the geostrategic interests of major powers in our region, in which Cambodia is the center of all matter.

October 1st, 2007