America’s new Asian allies: Dictator-for-life Hun Sen of Cambodia, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi and her genocidal “Saffron monks,” and the despotic hereditary Shinawatra regime of Thailand.
Tony Cartalucci, Contributor
US President Barack Obama is embarking on what the Western media is calling a “historic trip.” In reality he is coddling dictators and human rights abusers of the highest caliber, even while waging proxy-war against Syria based on alleged “human rights” concerns.
1. Thailand: President Obama and US Secretary Hillary Clinton first arrived in Bangkok, Thailand in efforts to legitimize and prop up politically, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of deposed despot Thaksin Shinawatra, who is using her to run the country by proxy as he evades a 2 year jail sentence and 2 arrest warrants.
Image: “The Thai Gov’ts War on Drugs: Dead Wrong. Stop the Murder of Thai Drug Users.” During Thaksin Shinawatra’s 2003 “War on Drugs” it wasn’t only drug users who were brutally, extra-judicially murdered in the streets, but over 50% of the 2,800 killed during the course of 3 months, were completely innocent, involved in no way with either drug use or trade. This atrocity has been overlooked as he and now his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra have proven their utility to advancing the interests of Wall Street and London.
Despite mass-murdering nearly 3,000 people extra-legally over the course of a 90-day 2003 “War on Drugs,” victims who most of which were later found out to have had nothing to do with the drug trade at all, Thaksin would also send Thai troops to Iraq in support of the US invasion and occupation, allow the US to use Thailand as a base for CIA rendition sites, and attempted to push through a US-Thai free trade agreement without parliamentary approval. Before becoming PM in 2001, he had served as an adviser for the notorious US equity firm, the Carlyle Group.
He would be ousted from power in 2006 by a military coup, and has since then been supported by some of the largest Western lobbying firms on Earth including, Kenneth Adelman of the Edelman PR firm (Freedom House, International Crisis Group, PNAC), James Baker of Baker Botts (CFR), Robert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (CFR), Kobre & Kim, and currently Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff (Chatham House).
Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff, would also simultaneously represent Thaksin’s “red shirt” street movement, and was present for the inaugural meeting of the so-called “academic” Nitirat group, attended mostly by pro-Thaksin red shirts (who literally wore their red shirts to the meeting). Additional support for Thaksin and his UDD street-front is provided by the US State Department via National Endowment for Democracy-funded “NGO” Prachatai.”
His atrocities and autocratic style of leadership were overlooked because of the immense utility he served for US interests – a utility the US still hopes he and his proxy sister can continue to serve.
2. Myanmar: While the media focuses on the “repressive military junta,” the real human rights abusers happen to also be long-time US allies in the region. Specifically, they are the “Saffron monks” who had took to the streets in so-called “pro-democracy” rallies on behalf of Western-hailed “democracy icon” Aung San Suu Kyi.
Image: Praying for genocide. While Associated Press claims these protesters are demonstrating against ethnic violence, the sign they carry clearly states that they seek the expulsion of the refugees from Myanmar, and are merely protesting against the Myanmar Army’s use of force to protect refugees from the “monks'” attacks that have left scores dead and thousands of refugee homes destroyed.
In reality, Suu Kyi’s movement is yet another Wall Street-London funded creation, and the rank and file of her movement are sectarian extremists who seek to eradicate through exile or genocidal extermination the Rohingya refugees located in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
In “Myanmar (Burma) “Pro-Democracy” Movement a Creation of Wall Street & London,” it was documented that Suu Kyi and organizations supporting her, including local propaganda fronts like the New Era Journal, the Irrawaddy, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) radio, have received millions of dollars a year from the Neo-Conservative chaired National Endowment for Democracy, convicted criminal and Wall Street speculator George Soros’ Open Society Institute, and the US State Department itself, citing Britain’s own “Burma Campaign UK (.pdf).”
The goal of Western meddling in Myanmar, still called by its British imperial nomenclature of “Burma” by many across the Western media, is to balk Chinese investments across the country, while establishing yet another permanently failed, 3rd world state that can be fully exploited and stripped bare by the Fortune 500 and intense “free trade.”
3. Cambodia: Perhaps the most hypocritical and absurd stop on President Obama’s trip will be his visit to Cambodia, ruled for the past 27 years by dictator-for-life Hun Sen. Formerly of the genocidal Khmer Rouge, Hun Sen has spent his time in office stripping bare his own people, and just recently, has allowed foreigners to part-take in the dismemberment of his own nation.
While running under the illusion of “people’s power,” he has since 2008 sold over half of his nation off to foreign investors, right out from under the Cambodian people.
Image: While the West funds and arms verified Al Qaeda militants invading Syria for alleged “humanitarian concerns,” tacit approval is granted to governments like that of Hun Sen of Cambodia to brutalize his own population in sweeping land grabs that have left hundreds of thousands of Cambodian people without homes or a livelihood. The difference? Syria refuses to capitulate to Wall Street and London’s “international order,” Cambodia is eagerly selling off its sovereignty to it.
In a 2008 article by the Guardian titled, “Country for Sale,” it was reported that, “almost half of Cambodia has been sold to foreign speculators in the past 18 months – and hundreds of thousands who fled the Khmer Rouge are homeless once more.” The report would go on to state:
Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) have, in effect, put the country up for sale. Crucially, they permit investors to form 100% foreign-owned companies in Cambodia that can buy land and real estate outright – or at least on 99-year plus 99-year leases. No other country in the world countenances such a deal. Even in Thailand and Vietnam, where similar land speculation and profiteering are under way, foreigners can be only minority shareholders.
It would continue:
By March this year , virtually all Cambodia’s accessible and sandy coast was in private hands, either Cambodian or foreign. Those who lived or worked there were turfed out – some jailed, others beaten, virtually all denied meaningful compensation.
The article would also state:
It was abundantly clear to observers, including the World Bank and Amnesty International, that by making these private deals, Hun Sen was denying prosperity to most of his people, causing the country’s social fabric to unwind like thread from a bobbin. Today, more than 150,000 people are threatened with eviction. Forty-five per cent of the country’s entire landmass has been sold off – from the land ringing Angkor Wat to the colonial buildings of Phnom Penh to the south-western islands. Professor Yash Ghai, the UN human rights emissary to Cambodia, warned, ‘One does not need expertise in human rights to recognise that many policies of the government have… deprived people of their economic resources and means of livelihood, and denied them their dignity.’ He added, ‘I believe that the deliberate rejection of the concept of a state governed by the rule of law has been central to the ruling party’s hold on power.’
It would seem as if Cambodia’s Hun Sen should easily find himself amongst the West’s “Axis of Evil,” the subject of crippling sanctions, and at the very least, uninvited to visit the US, or lent legitimacy by being allowed to host US representatives.
Since the 2008 Guardian article, the situation has only deteriorated for the Cambodian people. The Guardian again reported in September 2012 in their article, “Conflict over land in Cambodia is taking a dangerous turn,” that:
In the first nine months of the year, we have seen the killing of Cambodia‘s leading environmental activist, a journalist and a 14-year-old girl whose community faced eviction. We’ve also seen the conviction of 13 land activists for legitimate protests; a judicial move against one of the country’s most respected human rights activists; the harassment of politically active monks; and the arrest of an independent radio station owner on charges of secessionism. And these are just the most outlandish and publicised incidents.
The article would continue:
Cambodia is in the grip of a land-grabbing crisis that has seen more than 2m hectares (5m acres) of land transferred mostly from subsistence farmers to agribusiness. And as good land becomes scarce, the battle for it is becoming increasingly intense. An estimated 400,000 people have been affected by land disputes since 2003.
It would also state that:
For the average Cambodian, the only avenues that offer the prospect of success are public protest and individual action. The government is well aware of the desperation, and this fact helps explain the recent spate of arrests, killings and harassment. The authorities are increasingly using violence to keep a lid on things. If evictees don’t go peacefully, private firms are willing and able to tap the resources of the state to forcefully capture land.
Yet despite Hun Sen’s government brutalizing its own people with harassment, violence, and murder, displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians, and stealing the land right out from under the nation’s poor, US President Barack Obama intends to visit Cambodia to meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen. There has been no protest or formal condemnation by the US regarding Hun Sen and his systematic campaign of theft and violence waged against the Cambodian people, nor has there been any protests of political ramifications imposed by the emerging supranational block ASEAN who is in fact holding their annual meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia this month.
It also turns out that the very military units snatching land from hundreds of thousands of impoverished Cambodians are actually receiving US military aid and training. Indeed, Operation Angkor Sentinel kicked off in July 2010 as US Army troops trained with the local Cambodian troops. The United States shamelessly defends the exercises claiming that “Our military relationship is about … working toward effective defence reform, toward encouraging the kind of civil-military relationship that is essential to any healthy political system,” according to William Burns, then US undersecretary of state for political affairs.
Why the Hypocrisy?
The Washington Post, in their recent article, “President Obama defends historic trip to Burma,” claims:
The Obama administration is using the Asia trip, which includes a final stop in Cambodia for the East Asia Summit, as another step in its ‘pivot to Asia’ aimed at counterbalancing China’s growing influence in the region.
For over two decades the United States has expressed throughout a library of policy papers the need to develop and implement an effective “containment” strategy versus China. In 1997, US policy author Robert Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution penned, “What China Knows That We Don’t: The Case for a New Strategy of Containment,” where he literally states (emphasis added):
The present world order serves the needs of the United States and its allies, which constructed it. And it is poorly suited to the needs of a Chinese dictatorship trying to maintain power at home and increase its clout abroad. Chinese leaders chafe at the constraints on them and worry that they must change the rules of the international system before the international system changes them.
The changes in the external and internal behavior of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s resulted at least in part from an American strategy that might be called ‘integration through containment and pressure for change.’
Such a strategy needs to be applied to China today. As long as China maintains its present form of government, it cannot be peacefully integrated into the international order. For China’s current leaders, it is too risky to play by our rules — yet our unwillingness to force them to play by our rules is too risky for the health of the international order. The United States cannot and should not be willing to upset the international order in the mistaken belief that accommodation is the best way to avoid a confrontation with China.
We should hold the line instead and work for political change in Beijing. That means strengthening our military capabilities in the region, improving our security ties with friends and allies, and making clear that we will respond, with force if necessary, when China uses military intimidation or aggression to achieve its regional ambitions. It also means not trading with the Chinese military or doing business with firms the military owns or operates. And it means imposing stiff sanctions when we catch China engaging in nuclear proliferation.
A successful containment strategy will require increasing, not decreasing, our overall defense capabilities. Eyre Crowe warned in 1907 that ‘the more we talk of the necessity of economising on our armaments, the more firmly will the Germans believe that we are tiring of the struggle, and that they will win by going on.’ Today, the perception of our military decline is already shaping Chinese calculations. In 1992, an internal Chinese government document said that America’s “strength is in relative decline and that there are limits to what it can do.’ This perception needs to be dispelled as quickly as possible.
Image: Figure 1. From SSI’s 2006 “String of Pearls” report detailing a strategy of containment for China. While “democracy,” “freedom,” and “human rights” will mask the ascension of Western aligned client regimes into power, it is part of a region-wide campaign to overthrow nationalist elements and install client regimes in order to encircle and contain China. Violence in areas like Sittwe, Rakhine Myanmar, or Gwadar Baluchistan Pakistan, are not coincidences and documented evidence indicates immense Western backing for armed opposition groups.
This would be further expanded on in the Strategic Studies Institute’s 2006 “String of Pearls” report where specific areas of Chinese expansion were identified for disruption and containment. This included the now destabilized Baluchistan region in Pakistan where China’s Gwadar port sits, as well as the destabilized state of Rakhine in Myanmar.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would reiterate this commitment to containing China, as well as touch upon another point made by Kagan in 1997 – that Southeast Asian nations would need to be aligned with the US against China as part of any viable containment strategy – in her 2011 op-ed in Foreign Policy titled, “The American Pacific Century.”
Leading a Thailand, Myanmar, or Cambodia, fully complicit with the United States and its neo-imperial ambition to sustain another century of American hegemony across Asia is a role despots, proxies, and human rights violators like Thaksin Shinawatra, his sister Yingluck, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Hun Sen were cultivated for decades to fulfill, and it is precisely for this reason that so much money, time, and effort has been poured into both propping them up, including with this latest legitimacy-lending exercise by President Obama, while tearing down existing regional indigenous institutions through color revolutions and “NGO-creep.”