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January 11, 2006
Chinese Engine Greased by Burmese Oil
The bad guys of Southeast Asia, SLORC of Myanmar, the little North Korea in the making on the diametrically opposite side of China, have found themselves a champion. Their regime will quite likely be strongly coddled by a China that is taking an ever deeper interest in it for one major reason - oil. A revelation today that China is the world's second largest consumer of oil in the world after the United States was paired by a lower-key, but potentially as important announcement - that Myanmar (Burma) was declining co-operation with India on an India-Bangladesh-Myanmar gas pipeline and will be working just with China instead.
It has been some time since both Burma and India were both British colonies, but ties of history and of geographic proximity had kept the two countries on speaking terms. However, the greater political similarities between China and Burma (and between China and most of the countries on its western flank) mean that the latter, and other oil-rich states, will be falling increasingly into China's orbit. China offers not only ready cash, but also the prospect of being a counterweight against Indian, and ultimately also American influence.
It seems that most people have focused on Taiwan as the greatest potential flashpoint with the United States. But what is India's concern today may become America's concern tomorrow from a geopolitical standpoint.posted by HK Dave on 01.11.06 at 11:23 AM in the East Asia politics category.
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Pedantic being my middle name, it is true that Burma and India have been on speaking terms forever. It is just that the Burmese generally can't stand Indians and will happily murder them given the chance. The Burmese also happily murder the Shan and anything Chinese - especially traders who end up owning the show.
At least that was the position when my god-father was stationed in Burma before and during WW2. Doesn't seem to have changed a bit.posted by: gunlaw on 01.11.06 at 02:15 PM [permalink]
Yes, these murderous thoughts seem rampant throughout the Southeast Asian mainland, and make some sort of Asian EU union rather far off without a spur (i.e. an apocalyptic war like WWII that brought France and Germany together) for greater cooperation.
Your stepfather must have lived through some very interesting times. I have been reading a book that speaks of that period about Jospeh Stilwell...fascinating stuff.
Thanks for your comment!posted by: HK Dave on 01.11.06 at 02:29 PM [permalink]
I had known someone from Burma also, who was one of the richest merchants in the country. The anti Chinese sentiment was high in the past, the anti Chinese militant leader who controlled Burma for about 30 years(?) was half Chinese himself. Many Burmese Chinese emigrated to Australia, some went to the US.posted by: David on 01.12.06 at 10:30 AM [permalink]