Myanmar/Burma’s politics can be summed up as ‘neo-Feudal gangsterism’

Test your Burma expertise and knowledge.

Burma’s politics can be summed up as ‘neo-Feudal gangsterism’.

I am distilling what I know in all these years doing and studying the country’s affairs:

1) the discourses of nation-building, nationalism, patriotism conceal the fundamentally mafia-like political economy where various stakeholders in Burma slice the pie.

2) who are the stakeholders?

a) the generals, b) retired generals, c) the strategically placed state military and ex-military managers, d) multi-billion dollar narcotics and smuggling networks (Kokant, Wa, Chinese, etc), e) crony-front-men, f) powerful armed ethnic leaders, g) international and regional money launderers and last but not least, h) international and regional corporate interests.

(The democracy and reform discourses will get the public, the expert, the policy types and the media chase such phantoms as the Lady, ‘civil society actors’, ‘inspirational dissidents’, ‘armed revolutionaries’ etc.)

3) who is behind anti-Muslim violence and the Rohingya ethnic cleansing ?

there is a grand conspiracy directed by the highest level of leadership in Burma, all targeting the Muslims many of whom have come to prosper as the direct result of the new if limited business opening – if not democratic opening – since 1989.

before Ne Win and his deputies closed the country off in 1964 economically with radical nationalization measures the economy was run by the Chinese and Indian there.

Naturally, when the country was first opened up after 8888 as a matter of economic survival of the regime it is these two groups that quickly seized the new opportunities. and they prospered – the cronies and the generals, both drawn from the same ethnic stock, had no business acumen have used State power to accumulate wealth.

anti-Muslim – and anti-Chinese – racisms rest on the populist resentment of the pauperized majority. the public anger is also towards the new general-crony class.

of all the public sources of resentment, the Muslims of Burma are the weakest target – both for the Burmese public and the general-crony class.

so, the axis of generals-cronies let the public vent, engage in small scale looting of the sanctioned targets – the muslim businesses, traders, lands, etc, and while narco-lords (CHINESE, KOKANT, WA, etc) continue to launder their money, take over the country’s major assets, trade routes, and fill the coffer of various patron generals in power.

The Rohingya become fodders in the Burmese generals’ politics of divide and rule towards the Rakhine, whom they generally dislike for the latter’s independence-mindedness.

Rakhine coastline has become such a crucial place for the emerging national mafia – which political scientists and experts euphemistically call ‘state’ or ‘government – that the mafia needs absolute control.

so, the mafia in Naypyidaw manufactured the trigger of the false narrative of the rape of a rakhine woman, fed the rohingya to the Rakhine nazis to occupy the latter’s racist mind while taking over all lucrative and strategic locations in the Arakan state.

4) what drives the peace negotiations with the Kachin, Shan, Mon, Karen, Karenni, etc?

the general-crony ruling class’ greed to expand its control, extraction, and profiteering over the vast land, strategic routes and above and under ground resources worth billions – which include jade, gold, timber, rare earth, and so on.

5) aren’t the Burmese generals patriotic, nationalistic leaders who need international help in capacity building, good will and constructive criticism ?

absolutely not.

they may delude themselves into thinking they are nation-builders and they love the country their deeds over the past 25 years tell a radically different story.

the traditional Burmese feudal rulers viewed the kingdom as their possessions, and they would share the spoils with their enablers in the feudal hierarchy.

this system of ‘eating a territory, a kingdom, etc’ – in the forms of land, resources, labor, and life/sacrifice – and the attendant/conditioned mindset is what best explains the Burmese political and economic affairs.

various factions, and various cliques within this ‘neo-feudalist mafia’ which is wrongly referred to as ‘State’ or ‘quasi-civilian parliamentary government’ are at any given time in tensions.

the whole ‘hardliners’ ‘reformers’ prism is nothing but an unempirical rubbish. they are all gangsters who have learned to speak the language of democracy and have retained burmese advisers, giving the latter in kind, influence, and opportunities to pursue their inconsequential pet projects and academic theories

Forget transitional theories, democratization rhetoric, reform discourses, and all this civil society nonsense.

at the heart of Burmese politics and political economy is ‘feudal, narco-gangsterism’.

did you know that the head of the intelligence General Khin Nyunt was sacked and the entire network purged as the result of the long-drawn out internal fight over the spoils of this neo-feudal gangster political economy?

there were tons of gold bars, among other things, involved in the final contest in which Khin Nyunt lost his head, figuratively speaking.

the rest is a smokescreen. most people get lost in the Burmese haze.

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