ISSN 2330-717X

A Russian Tzar And A Burmese Monarch – OpEd

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The self-appointed, modern Burmese monarch Min Aung Hlaing (MAH) following the advice of a modern Tzar, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who had graciously supplied the Burmese army known Tatmadaw (TMD) meaning (Terrorists Marauding, Dacoits) with the latest modern weapons coupled with a secret advice of not to show any mercy, or sympathy even to the women and children, has now amply demonstrated to the world, with Russia attacking the weaker neighbouring sovereign country of Ukraine. The common denominator between Burmese military regime and the current Russian regime is that they repeatedly lie the very concept of truth, as perhaps they have taken a good example from the Third Reich’s Joseph Goebbels, a master manipulator, and a terrific orator, that knows how to whip up a crowd in a frenzy is the propaganda minister of Adolf Hitler, who said “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.” So also, the Burmese cut-throat MAH (ratvdk;) taking a leaf out of its teacher and benefactor, modern Russian Tzar, Vladmir Putin, and knowing very well of how his Tatmadaw backed political party lost miserably in the elections of getting less than 10% of the winning party (the NLD party led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi) shuttered at the prospect of going back to the barracks, after ruling the country from 1962 in taking the beloved country to the level of the Least Developed Status. Hence, he had no choice, but to implement a military coup d’état with the blessings of his mentor former General Than Shwe (better known as the Burmese Bulldog).

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In an interview with VOA (Voice of America) Myanmar’s military government spokesman Zaw Min Htun has said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was “justified for the sustainability of their country’s sovereignty and demonstrated Moscow’s position as a world power,” which was also released in Russian. Last year, General Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s military chief, met the head of Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoborone in Moscow to discuss “potential military technical cooperation”. He told Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu that Myanmar’s army had “become one of the strongest in the region” thanks to his country’s help, according to Russian news agency TASS. So, it is no wonder when the Myanmar’s military junta expressed its support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, placing itself at odds, with most of the world community that has condemned the Russian military action and moved to introduce crushing sanctions on Moscow. (PHOTO)

However, countering Myanmar’s military junta, the opposition Burmese government in exile better known as the National Unity Government of Burma (NUG) issued a statement in support of Ukraine, saying that “The National Unity Government of the Republic of the Union of Burma condemns the unprovoked acts of war directed against Ukraine and its people.” The NUG called the attacks “terrifying in Ukraine is a violation of the United Nations Charter and international law and is not a good example in the 21st century. Moreover, it will be a major obstacle to the maintenance of international peace, security, and human development. Myanmar stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.” It must be remembered that Coup leader MAH had visited Russia in June last year and there are strong ties between the Burmese and Russian militaries. Russia is one of the few countries to have defended the military council that seized power in a Feb. 1, 2021, coup, overthrowing the civilian government and detaining de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other high-ranking officials. Since then, U.N. and Burmese experts have repeatedly called for a ban on arms sales to the military council, but Russia has ignored the call. Perhaps, Putin seems to copy the false flag operations and moves to establish puppet states remind us, of what Imperial Japan did in northeastern China, of Manchuria, in the early 1930s and named it as an independent Manchukuo. The world suddenly resembles a century ago when blatant violations of international law prevailed. Have our civilized world any lessons from the two world wars?

Putin’s sabre-rattling recalls some of the stuff that Khrushchev used to do when he banged his shoes at the UN General Assembly. Now that everybody witnessed that Russia and Ukraine’s first round of talks failed to ease Europe’s biggest ground war as Russian missiles pounded Ukraine’s cities and, troops have pressed closer to the capital, Kyiv, resulting in millions of Ukrainians fleeing the country.  International efforts to punish and isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin have intensified and taken aim at his country’s most important finances. Even traditionally neutral Switzerland joined the growing coalition of nations imposing a raft of sanctions on Putin and associates, demanding Russia withdraw its troops immediately. But Putin seems to remain impervious to the pressure and insisted Russia was not targeting civilians in its attacks despite abundant evidence to the contrary. Rather than back down, Putin is driving an increasingly brutal tactics which MAH carbon copied. An embattled Ukraine moved to solidify its bond with the West by applying to join the European Union. It’s a largely symbolic move for now that could take years to become reality and is unlikely to sit well with Putin who has shown that his real concern is not so much security, but bitterness at how in the early 1990s Soviet and Russian leaders handled the secession of states from the then USSR and its’ ultimate collapse. Hitherto, many in the West have viewed Putin as a rational actor who drives a hard bargain. Rational actors can be dealt with by diplomacy and international structures. But recent speeches raise concerns that the Russian president might not be operating rationally. Indeed, he has appeared emotional and unhinged in various claims. Some speculate that there is truly a mental health issue in the mix, like what MAH is going through now as asking the women folks to take care of the security of the army compound and forcing them to carry the guns.  Can Ukraine become a similar war of attrition for Russia, a sort of defeat? At the beginning of the war, perhaps few would have believed, but as time passes, such a scenario seems to become increasingly possible. Contrary to the general atmosphere echoed by the media, numbers, and facts-on-the-ground do not suggest an easy Russian victory; rather, there’s much heavier Ukrainian resistance and Russian losses, and much slower Russian advance than expected. The conflict overall is starting to show signs of evolving into a war of attrition that Russia may not even be able to win, just like in Burma that the Junta could not win the NUG whom it labeled as terrorist somewhat similar a thief crying thief. Burma has been in turmoil since a coup a year ago, with at least 1,500 civilians killed by security forces, according to activists cited by the United Nations, which the junta has also accused of bias. The military has been battling militias allied with a parallel National Unity Government (NUG), which last year called for a nationwide revolt and has been outlawed by the Burmese Junta.                                                                                                                                                                            One must recollect that even as Russian President Vladimir Putin wages war against Ukraine, his country’s economy has begun to collapse under the weight of unprecedented penalties of the Western governments. But one would scarcely remember that President Joe Biden spoke 6,500 words about nuclear weapons during his State of the Union speech, but not one of them acknowledged the dangers of nuclear war that have spiked upward during the last decade and even more steeply in recent days. The militarism that Martin Luther King Jr. warned us about has been spiraling toward its ultimate destination in the nuclear era — a global holocaust that would likely extinguish almost all human life on Earth. During this reality, leaders of the world’s two nuclear superpowers continue to fail — and betray — humanity. The world should recollect that in the stark light of March 2022, Albert Einstein’s outlook 75 years ago about the release of atomic energy has never been more prescient or more urgent: “This basic power of the universe cannot be fitted into the outmoded concept of narrow nationalisms. For there is no secret and there is no defense, there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world.” The phrase “narrow nationalisms” aptly describes the nuclear-weapons policies of the United States and Russia. They have been engaged in a dance of death with foreseeable human consequences on a scale that none of us can truly fathom.                        Mr. Shahid cited the UN Charter, the Organization’s founding document, which outlines a world where countries settle disputes by peaceful means, without the threat or use of force. “The violence must stop. Humanitarian law and international humanitarian law must be respected. And diplomacy and dialogue must prevail.” But Putin has not heeded this warning as everybody knows that the Council members voted in favour of the UN General Assembly convening after Russia vetoed a resolution. The resolution gives the Assembly power to take up matters of international peace and security when the Security Council is unable to act due to unanimity among its five permanent members – China, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia – who have the power of veto. But while Russia raises the nuclear threat, loses the war of global public opinion, and suffers from the hammering its currency and financial and energy sectors are taking, its troops on the ground continue to dictate events inside Ukraine. In the meantime, that Burmese Junta forces have torched at least 6,158 civilian homes in the 13 months since the coup, mostly in areas where anti-regime resistance is the strongest. Sagaing Region suffered nearly 60 per cent of the damage, according to independent research group Data for Myanmar. 

At least the current Burmese leader MAH is far more honest than Putin in their private life as MAH adopted son is married to the Burmese chief pf police’s daughter gives raison d’être of why the Burmese security forces are so close to each other in their all out war against the entire populace of the country. Whereas Putin is married to Lyudmila Aleksandrovna Ocheretnaya, who was a flight attendant for the Kaliningrad branch of Aeroflot from 1983 to 2014 and now his two daughters Maria and Katerina lives with their mother Lyudmila. But Putin has never publicly acknowledged his children, though media outlets have reported often. Then he had another daughter in 2015 with former Russian rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva. At least in their private life MAH is more honest than Putin. 

MAH, has exchanged numerous visits with senior Russian military officers, though there has been no face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though he has reportedly made several requests to meet with Putin. It was Maung Maung Aye who talks to the Russian army officers about acquiring air defense systems and acquired US$2.3 billion worth of weapons during his trip, according to Russian news agencies. Myanmar military personnel also study at several military schools and training facilities in Russia, including the Omsk Armor Engineering Institute, the Air Force Engineering Academy in Moscow, the Nizhniy Novgorod Command Academy and the Kazan Military Command Academy. While the junta has made clear its position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is not without links to the latter; Ukraine also supplies weapons to the Myanmar military. It purchased from Ukraine an estimated 1,000 BTR-3U armored personnel carriers (APCs) to be assembled in Myanmar. And in 2016-17, Ukrainian arms manufacturers reportedly shipped parts for Mil Mi-2 and Mil Mi-17 helicopters, BTR-3U armored personnel carriers, a ship engine, and ship propulsion and radar systems through a local arms dealer in Myanmar.

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But the silver lining for the resistance group is that there are many good Military Council members who do not like the unjust repression of the terrorist military council and have high levels of ideology and want to serve the people and love the truth and want to see the TMD as a professional army that is loved by the people. These people usually defected to the resistances’ side and the resistance has developed support mechanisms for defectors. No doubt there is a growing trend of officers and soldiers leaving the military dictatorship who do not like the unjust repression of the military junta and wish to escape and is estimated that hundreds of deserters fled the Military Council in the first two months of this year including from the Air Force. Hence, let us wait and see how long the marauding Russian Tzar and the Burmese monarch remain on the scene.

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