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Why the Coup happened in Myanmar and is it related to China and USA Super Power Competition?

photo credit to "Irrawaddy News Website"

I wrote about the coup that had happened on 1st Feb, 2021 in the article "Dark Days in Myanmar from Day 1 to Day 5 Updates". In this article, I will not write the updates from Day 6 to now. Instead, I will write about why it happened, who influences and who will get the benefits from it.

Let's get to know about Myanmar

First of all, I like to go through a little bit about Myanmar. Myanmar is such a diverse country bordering neighboring countries like India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand and has more than 130 ethnic groups. Around 90% of the Burmese population practices Buddhism, around 6.3% practices Christianity and remains are Islam and minor religions. Myanmar has a lot of Natural Resources that include Natural gas, Petroleum, Timber, Gold, Tin, Rubies, Jade and etc. The population is around 54 million and the GDP is 76.09 billion USD (2019). GDP per capita is 1,407.81 USD and 156th in world rank. Myanmar is one of the least developed countries in the world and the poorest country in South East Asia. Why Myanmar is such a poor and least developed country. We can assume that the following are the biggest reasons.

  1. Military Dictatorship

  2. Civil War

  3. Lack of Proper Economic Growth

  4. Extensive Poverty

I can say that Reason No 1 is the main and source reason and others are consequences of that.

In the early 1960s, Myanmar was the richest country in Asia. How did we end up as the poorest country in the region? All of our country's wealth of natural resources becomes a cult for Burmese people because it is under mismanagement. I will explain from now on how we ended up that way.

Just Tasted to Democracy after living in Hell for 50 years

Myanmar (Used to be Burma) became independent on Jan 4, 1948. Since then, coups have been done three times in 1962, 1988, and 2021(currently). After the 1962 coup, Myanmar was under Military rule until 2011 for more than 50 years. The USA and other western countries have put sanctions on Myanmar since that coup and were isolated from World for more than 50 years. In 2010, Myanmar was slowly started to open to partial democracy. From 1962 to 2011, the United States and Western Countries have put sanctions on Myanmar for 50 years. Most believe that the main reason behind Junta was started to open to democracy is due to the increasing pressure of Western Sanctions. According to "Prisoners of Geography" book author Tim Marshall, I believe one of the bigger reasons was China. Democracy did not knock on Myanmar's door just because of Western sanctions which Junta does not care about at all and ruled for more than 50 years.

China Super Power Plan

Although I will explain China and its global economics and power strategy, I like to explain here why China is one of the main reasons behind why the Military Junta started to open up democracy in 2010. As you know, China is making very large investments not just Economically but also to have strategic power. Belt and Road Initiative is one of them. China also wants to have control over the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. To achieves this, China is investing in deep sea water ports in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Siri Lanka. In 2007, It was announced that a deep seaport in Kyaukphyu which is located in Rakhine States of Myanmar is going to be built. This port is part of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Be Part of Chinese Super Power Plan

In December 2008, China and Myanmar signed a deal to construct an oil pipeline at Kyaukphyu. On 30 November 2010, the China Development Bank and Myanmar Foreign Investment Bank signed a $2.4 billion loan deal to construct the 660 miles (1,060 km) pipeline from Kyaukphyu to Kunming in Yunnan province, China. It was the main reason why Junta couldn't help start to open democracy because of the necessity to provide stability and give more confidence to Foreign Investors (China is the second-largest foreign investor in Myanmar) . This pipeline from Kyaukphyu to Kunming is called CMEC similar to the CPEC pipeline from Gwadar (Pakistan) to Xinjiang. With those ports, China tends to lower its strategic dependence on the Malacca strait route which almost 90% percent of Chinese passes through the South China Sea.

Father of Myanmar

That's how Aung San Su Kyi was able to play her role and she was able to contest in Myanmar's first openly contested election where she is the leader of NLD party (National league for democracy) in 2015. There was a referendum, attempts at a free election and foreign investment increase. The NLD party won the election and Aung San Su Kyi became the most popular figure in Myanmar. In case you do not know about Aung San Su Kyi very well, she is the daughter of Myanmar's independence hero, General Aung San.

Our leader

I believe most Burmese see her as the hope of Burmese people and call her "Mom" including me. She rose to prominence in the 8888 Uprising of 8 August 1988 and became the General Secretary of the NLD, which she had newly formed with the help of several retired army officials who criticized the military junta. In the 1990 elections, NLD won 81% of the seats in Parliament, but the results were nullified, as the military government refused to hand over power. She had been detained before the elections and remained under house arrest for almost 15 of the 21 years from 1989 to 2010. She received the Nobel prize when she was under house arrest in 1991. She became the "State Councilor In Myanmar '' similar to the Prime Minister in 2015.

2008 Constitution or Junta's Power Control Manual

Although the Myanmar Military was open up to partial democracy in 2010, they still want to be in power and control. For making sure that , they created a new constitution in 2008 that secures the Military Junta has not only control of defense, interior ministries and key positions in cabinet but also business too. They created two huge conglomerates (Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation) made of local and foreign companies. This constitution has bicameral legislature consisting of 440-seat House of Representatives(Lower House - Phyithu Hluttaw) and the 224-seat House of Nationalities (Upper House - Phyidaungsu Hluttaw). Military Junta delegates are reserved a maximum of 56 of 224 seats in Upper house and 110 seats of 440 in Lower house. This is similar to the former Indonesian and Thai constitution. It also means that the Military Junta has veto power to reject any proposal in parliament and the opposition party needs at least 75% for any constitution amendment and require more than 75% to pass the bill.

Genius who can see the things others unseen

In addition, Aung San Su Kyi cannot be the president of Myanmar according to the 2008 constitution because her children were born abroad. To get around that she created the role of state counselor for herself which is almost equivalent to Prime Minister. Major player to find a way of creating a "State Councilor" role for Aung San Su Kyi by sneaking the 2008 constitution was U Ko Ni ,a prominent Burmese lawyer and an expert on constitutional law. He served as an adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi and his religion is Muslim. Military Junta was not very much happy about it. He was killed brutally with a gun in the middle of the daytime at a public international airport area on 29 January 2017. Please read here for details of his murder.

Government above government

It was a signal that Military Junta were ready to take over at any time whenever at the slightest sense that their interests were not being met. It is like the Military is the government above the government. Because of that, some people, especially international people, see Aung San Su Kyi as a puppet. But her existence even with little power that she can do is huge for Burmese citizens within such a matter of short time 5 years.

Won the rights to true democracy

If Military Junta has that much power and control, why they are coup now? Before answering that question, another party that you should know is called USDP which is backed by the Military Junta 100%. So they will have a solid 25% of reserved seats by the Military Junta. Most of the Politicians in this USDP party are former military generals. Obviously, the NLD party wants to reforms the 2008 constitution by getting rid of the Military's Role. In order to do that, NLD will need 322 seats in parliament. In the 2020 election, USDP only managed to get the seats 26 seats in the lower house and 7 seats in the upper house in total 33 seats regardless of reserved seat 110 seats in the lower house and 56 seats in upper house parliament regardless of solid backed by Military Junta. NLD won the majority of 258 seats in the lower house and 138 seats in the upper house parliament in a total of 396 seats. As I mentioned above, NLD only needs 322 seats to reform the 2008 constitution and 396 seats were more than enough to reform the 2008 constitution in parliament. It also means that Military Junta is not fully backed by his own military soldier 100% and some percentages are supporting opposition party NLD.

Victims between China and USA Super Power Competition

Reforming the 2008 constitution is the worst nightmare for Military Junta officers.

Military Junta accused NLD of voter fraud in the 2020 election. Union Election Commission (UEC) rejects to Military Junta that there is no voter fault and malpractice in Election. Unfortunately, the Military junta could not accept, and they coup on Feb 1st, 2021 anyway.

There are a lot of assumptions and predictions about the coup in Myanmar that why it has happened and who will get benefits from it as follows.

  1. Military Junta General Min Aung Hlaing did coup for his own sake because he wants to be the president as his future career because his age needs to retire from the army.

  2. The military is afraid that they would lose control in power because the new winning government has enough votes to reform the 2008 constitution.

  3. It had happened because of Chinese will. It also seems to be true because both Russia and China blocked the UN Resolution condemning the coup.

  4. It is also related to the China and USA Great Power competition

According to my research, the coup has happened all because of combining the above four facts. Most people also would feel that why Chinese would do because Chinese government looked they had been had a good relationship with Myanmar Civil government and the coup can create the instability that can risk his own investment. In addition, I believe it is also indirectly affected by USA strategy that no media has not mentioned. I also personally believe that no country really cares about humanity and human right. It is all about how they would get strategic power or resources for their own sakes. If not, 25 million of North Korea will not be stuck or suffer for a long time and even now. Our Burmese people have to fight by themselves for our own freedoms and democracy to make our own citizens have power. At the same time, we all are prisoners of geography. I will give you my explanation of why I think this way in my next article with my researched data. Please see my next article that I will write my analysis and opinions on why it has happened and how it is connected between China and the United States cold war.

Myanmar is so late more than 50 years already in comparison to developed countries and now we are going backward for the benefits of small group people's sake. We are burning down in front of the most powerful countries and we will disappear if we do not fight for ourselves. I like to wish with little hope the world will not end with selfish politicians.

Notes: I would like to say that I am not fond of China nor the USA. I am just a normal Burmese citizen who wants my own people to have benefits and peace. I am not so proud of myself because I am not able to do many things except donations by living in a foreign country. Whenever the new feeds are coming up from Myanmar, my heart is broken and I am so sure that all 50 million normal Burmese citizens' hearts are broken to pieces too.

I write this article because I could not find any blog collectively written about the Myanmar coup that happened in Feb 2021 and why it has happened especially in Burmese with little hopes that it would help somehow for my country. I reference some parts from some media and write from the individual analysis by adding my thoughts. I will also translate this article to the Myanmar language soon too.

Please check my next article "World Super Power Explained - (United States of America <> Russia)" to understand the root of super power country and what has happen to them and other countries between their competition. By referencing those facts , it will help us to understand better what is happening now , predict the future and predict the better strategy.


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