On December 11, 2020, we commented on the recent election in Myanmar in which the military junta that controlled the government lost its majority to Aung San Suu Kyi's party in Claims of Voter Fraud-The New International Blame Game. On February 1, the western world was shocked that the military thugs would not step down and therefore declared a coup and arrested Myanmar President Aung San Suu Kyi, the last vestige of freedom in a sea of military uniforms. Clearly, the western pundits had been very critical of the lady in her lack of an attack on the military in the crimes against humanity that they inflicted on the ethnic minority Rohingya people. However, she recognized all along the frailty of her government until they actually had control of parliament which the election provided them. However, it was back to the past. A cartoon sketch of General Min Aung Hlaing that was published in the Australian Financial Review shows Aung San Suu Kyi being added to his military campaign ribbons alongside those of the Rohingya people.
Therefore, rather than salute the Commander-in-Chief which should have been the image shown below, the sore loser claimed election fraud without any shred of evidence stating that the military would "protect the 2008 constitution and act according to the law." Whew, if you do not think this real-life drama strikes close to home, where have you been?
Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested for the heinous crime of having imported ten walkie talkies without a license which could subject her to three years of imprisonment. The military control of Myanmar is all I and most people have known in its modern history. During that period, demonstrations, threats of military wealth confiscation from the west, and general unrest on the part of the people caused the military to put a "democratic" face on their government. However, the impossible happened and they lost control in the most recent election. At a time of rapid Covid-19 spread, the hospital workers have taken a stand with their defiant "three finger solidarity salute" shown below which was taken from the "Hunger Game" films and widely used in Thailand.
In the meantime, the military have secured their parliament in the capital of Naypyidaw which they created 100 miles outside of the historical capital to provide the military a place to hide. Nonetheless, they feel pretty secure in their special world. Moreover, their security may be real if the Chinese remain willing to provide a measure of protection to the "evil west."
Although more visible public demonstrations in Myanmar are clearly hazardous to one's health, that is not the case elsewhere such as that shown below in Japan. Rest assured the Japanese do not like such activities particularly if they have strong commercial interests in the country creating the unrest.
Nikkei Asia recently reported that Japan's Kirin to End Joint Beer Ventures in Myanmar Following Coup. The involvement of Kirin began in 2015 with the investment of $560 million in a joint brewery operation though the Japanese found the coup so distasteful they are pulling up stakes within a few days following announcement of the coup. Moreover, the usually forgiving Thai's have withdrawn from a massive property development there.
Such action probably underscores the most effective manner to attack the military junta and that is in their bank accounts. They can hide behind the barbed wire in Naypyidaw but their lavish lifestyles require funding. International sanctions coupled with prosecution for crimes against humanity could lead to seizure of their offshore wealth which is likely the only real threat to them. The key question is what can be done as long as "big brother" Xi Jinping waits in the wings. You will note that the cartoon at the beginning showed a "Belt and Road" Chinese campaign award on the right chest of Myanmar's favorite general.