VBSS

Monday, November 19, 2007

Laugher of the Day: Myanmar: Washington’s geopolitics and the Straits of Malacca


The author of this particular piece of idiocy, a Sarah Flounders, is in way over her head as she tries, on the "Workers World" site - "workers & oppressed peoples of the world unite!" - to let everyone know of the evil intentions of the United States with regard to Myanmar in Myanmar: Washington’s geopolitics and the Straits of Malacca. According to Ms. Flounders, it all about "THE OIL" and control of the Strait of Malacca
What has received little attention in the U.S. corporate media is Myanmar’s geopolitical position and its rich resources. A U.S. base in Myanmar is considered vital for control of the most strategically important sea lanes in the Pacific.
***
Hiding behind ‘humanitarian relief’

The U.S. Pacific Fleet moved back into South Asia by providing emergency relief during the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami near Indonesia.

Using the cover of tsunami relief, the U.S. Navy also moved back into the giant U-Tapao base on the Gulf of Siam in Thailand. This had been a major front-line U.S. base during the Vietnam War, from which the Pentagon launched 80 percent of its air strikes against North Vietnam.
Ms. Flounders notes Chinese concerns, but somehow fails to mention China's efforts in the area, which I have discussed before including in China looks to the sea:
Of particular interest in recent days are the sea lanes China is working to find ways to protect. As you can see from the following (which just reference crude oil shipments) these lanes are heavily traveled. In the... chart, I have marked U.S. allies in blue (yes, Singapore is over-sized) and areas that China is making claims or working to establish relations as red bursts. Note that the red bursts sit athwart the sea lanes.

China is also assisting in building a large naval base in western Pakistan, "China's pearl in Pakistan's waters" as so aptly named in the linked article from the Asia Times:

For China, Gwadar's strategic value stems from its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz. About 60% of China's energy supplies come from the Middle East, and China has been anxious that the US, which has a very high presence in the region, could choke off these supplies to China. "Having no blue-water navy to speak of, China feels defenseless in the Persian Gulf against any hostile action to choke off its energy supplies," points out Tarique Niazi, a specialist in resource-based conflict, in the Jamestown Foundation's China Brief.


A presence in Gwadar provides China with a "listening post" where it can "monitor US naval activity in the Persian Gulf, Indian activity in the Arabian Sea and future US-Indian maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean", writes Haider. A recent report titled "Energy Futures in Asia" produced by defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton for the Pentagon notes that China has already set up electronic eavesdropping posts at Gwadar, which are monitoring maritime traffic through the Strait of Hormuz and the Arabian Sea.

Drawing attention to China's "string of pearls" strategy, the report points out that "China is building strategic relationships along the sea lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea in ways that suggest defensive and offensive positioning to protect China's energy interests, but also to serve broad security objectives". The port and naval base in Gwadar is part of the "string of pearls".

The other "pearls" in the string include facilities in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and the South China Sea that Beijing has acquired access to by assiduously building ties with governments in these countries.
Wonder why she left China's efforts out of her little piece? Oh, yes, because it's a "worker's paradise."

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