While I read an article yesterday about President Obama’s new deal to sell nuclear energy technology to Vietnam, it got me thinking about an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s show on CNN, “Parts Unknown”. In that episode, the host gives a short history of the violent military takeover, crackdown and dictatorship of the country of Myanmar (originally Burma). Bourdain talks about how with the recent visit of the United States president to the country, the world is beginning to see signs of “openness”. As fragile as it might be.
In my mind, this is when the show began to read as a propaganda piece for American cultural intervention. A society closed off to the world would now have the opportunity for “democracy” and “freedom”. I have heard this slogan many times before, and knowledgeable American knows what this entails. American companies with government contracts will begin buying off and installing individuals within the Burmese government and economic structure.
The United States has been doing this with other Southeast Asian countries ever since WWII. Vietnam is one of the newer countries benefiting from American influence. Tourism from Europeans and American is a major cash cow for the Vietnamese economy. The “help” America gives to these small developing countries is a geo-political chess move with the emergence of the Chinese powerhouse to the north of these nations.
Once again, the United States is willing to ignore the wants and needs of its own people (and the people of the country it mingles in) for military and corporation interests. The nuclear deal with Vietnam is in direct response to the Chinese movements within the region. The location of Vietnam cannot be overlooked. The eastern coast of the country making up the western border of the South China Sea, the most important economic transportation hub on Earth. The United States having a nuclear ally that close to China is priceless in the eyes of the “chessboard” –driven elite. Ironically, Vietnam borders China in the same way Cuba borders the southern United States. Of course in a world where American intervention is always with the best intentions, the Chinese would have no valid reason to see it has a “threat”.
During the show’s introduction to Myanmar, we are given a map of the region with Myanmar’s location. Strategically, there are fewer “unclaimed” countries more valuable than Myanmar. Situated with China to the north and east, the Bay of Bengal to the south and India/Bangladesh to the west; American interests will use Myanmar to chip away at the Chinese influence in the region. The waterways bordering the Southeast Asian nations are a “choke point” for power-hungry governments.
As tension between the United States and its major debt holder intensify, the US continues to do what it usually does: aggressively expand its influence without weighing the “blowback” that may come down hard on private Americans and populations around the world looking for self-determination.