Analysis by Analogy: Myanmar is not Syria

September 27, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Many geopolitical analysts and commentators have noted many worthwhile similarities between the Syrian crisis and the one now unfolding in the Southeast Asian state of Myanmar. However, what is different about these two crises is just as important as what is the same.


The Similarities 

Particular focus has been placed on evidence emerging that US-ally Saudi Arabia is serving as an intermediary fueling militancy in Myanmar's western Rakhine state. The militants, however, consist of a foreign armed, funded, and led cadre, constituting a numerically negligible minority of the Rohingya population they claim to represent, and are in fact no more representative of the Rohingya people than militants of Al Qaeda and the so-called "Islamic State" are representative of Syria or Iraq's Sunni Muslim populations.

While it is crucial to point out the foreign-funded nature of a militancy attempting to co-opt the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, it is equally important to understand precisely where this militancy fits into Saudi Arabia's and ultimately its American sponsors' larger plans.

Another similarity pointed out by analysts is the use of US and European-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). These include larger organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as organizations on the ground in Myanmar funded by the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), its various subsidiaries including the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Freedom House, USAID, and Open Society.

These organizations are intentionally seeking to control the narrative, inflame rather than smooth over tensions, and create a pretext for wider and more direct intervention in Myanmar's expanding crisis by Western nations.

Analysts and commentators, however, cannot stop here. They must commit to equal due diligence in unraveling what stands behind Myanmar's government - who it was that assisted them into power during the relatively recent 2016 elections, who built up their political networks across the country over the course of several decades, and what role their actions play in Western designs for the nation's near and intermediate future.

The Differences 

Syria's government is the creation and perpetuation of localized special interests - backed by various alliances ranging from the former Soviet Union in the past, to Russia, Iran, and to a lesser degree China in present day.


The Iran "Nuclear Deal" Leads to War, Not Peace

September 25, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The so-called Iran "nuclear deal," officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was hailed as "historic" when the United States among other nations became a signatory of it. Then US President Barack Obama, attempted to make convincing statements regarding America's commitment to the deal.


However, America's rhetoric compared to its actual actions diplomatically, militarily, and geopolitically told two different stories.

US Was Waging Proxy War with Iran when the Deal was Signed 

The deal was created in 2015, 4 full years since the United States engineered a destructive proxy war in Syria - one of Iran's closest and most crucial regional allies. By 2015, the United States had already committed to direct military intervention in Syria, occupying Syrian territory, directly arming, funding, and providing air support for militants seizing Syrian territory, and even constructing military bases within Syria's borders.

By 2015, the United States was revealed to have poured billions of dollars into arming militants ranging from Kurdish groups in Syria's northeast, to militants aligned to Al Qaeda and even the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) in northern and southern Syria.


While US President Barack Obama posed as conciliatory toward Iran, the US was steeped deeply in not only a proxy war against Syria, but ultimately a proxy war aimed directly at Iran.

According to years of US policy papers, dismantling Iran's allies in Syria and Lebanon were crucial prerequisites toward eventually undermining and overthrowing the government and political order in Iran itself.

In 2009, US corporate-financier sponsored geopolitical policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, would publish a 170 page report titled, "Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran" (PDF), in which it proposes several options, including having Israel attack Iran on Washington's behalf. The report states (emphasis added):
...the Israelis may want U.S. help with a variety of things. Israel may be more willing to bear the risks of Iranian retaliation and international opprobrium than the United States is, but it is not invulnerable and may request certain commitments from the United States before it is ready to strike. For instance, the Israelis may want to hold off until they have a peace deal with Syria in hand (assuming that Jerusalem believes that one is within reach), which would help them mitigate blowback from Hizballah and potentially Hamas. Consequently, they might want Washington to push hard in mediating between Jerusalem and Damascus.
In hindsight, it is clear that no "peace deal" would be struck with Syria, and instead, the wholesale destruction of Syria would be orchestrated. Many of the proposals presented in the Brookings report in regards to triggering conflict and regime change in Iran have been instead used on Syria. 


Fact Check: Updating Cold War Myths About Thailand

September 23, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Many honest, busy analysts outside established media circles in the United States and Europe are plagued by mythologies stemming from once pseudo-truths they simply lack the time or energy to dig into and finally correct.


Among them are enduring myths about the Southeast Asian state of Thailand and its relationship with the United States. These myths stem from its role during the Vietnam War and are now not only outdated, they are destructive to the truth to a point where they aid rather than impede the very special interests upon Wall Street and in Washington many of these analysts seek to expose and confront.

US-Thai Relations During the Vietnam War  

During the Vietnam War, Thailand hosted US forces on its territory. It contributed a number of its own troops in supporting roles throughout Southeast Asia and conducted its own military campaign domestically against heavily armed Communist militants. It is easy to conclude that Thailand was an eager ally then, and easy to see why many analysts assume this is still the case today.

However, in reality, the history of Thailand is of the only nation in Southeast Asia to avoid Western colonisation. It is also the story of a nation that survived the World Wars by expertly aligning itself amid greater powers, neither significantly contributing to nor suffering from contests of powers between more powerful nations.

During the Second World War, Thailand tenuously aligned with the Japanese. It played no significant role in a war the Japanese ultimately lost. Upon Japan's defeat, Thailand would once again balance its relationships evenly among its Asian neighbours and the Western victors of the war.

The Vietnam War was likewise a regional war started by foreign powers. It devastated not only Vietnam itself, but neighbouring Laos and Cambodia as well. Despite escaping the worst of the fighting, Thailand lost over a thousand soldiers and police amid security operations within its own borders. It fought allegedly Communist fighters, based primarily in Udon Thani, coincidentally where the US maintained its intelligence apparatus.

In hindsight of the current so-called "War on Terror," where the US uses terrorism both as a proxy force against its enemies and as a pretext and pressure point for manoeuvring against its supposed allies, it appears a similar arrangement unfolded in Southeast Asia. Readers should keep in mind that this includes the supposedly leftist Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia backed by the United States being ultimately overthrown by Communist Vietnam forces. Geopolitically, it appears the US supports allies and agents of convenience rather than those who share their supposed ideologies.

Despite supplying Thailand with a large amount of US weapons, conducting annual military exercises with the Royal Thai Armed Forces and claiming Thailand as one of America's oldest and closest allies in Southeast Asia, upon America's withdrawal in Vietnam, America's influence and ties with Bangkok incrementally diminished over time.

Thailand Today is not the Vietnam-Era US Ally of Yesterday 

Claims that Thailand ever was a "close ally" of America are tenuous at best. Regardless of how one splits hairs regarding Bangkok and Washington's past, Thailand today is undoubtedly in the process of yet another historical realignment, reflecting the geopolitical shifts taking place worldwide as America's global influence declines.

In 2000, billionaire and politician Thaksin Shinawatra assumed power. He had previously been an adviser to the US equity firm, the Carlyle Group, and upon taking office, boasted that he would continue his role in pairing US business interests with Thailand's resources. He would also privatise Thailand's large oil conglomerate, inviting foreign corporations to buy shares. He would also unilaterally pursue a US-Thai free trade agreement that was ultimately obstructed by Thailand's sovereign institutions.


US Missile Machinations Undoes Non-Proliferation Efforts

September 18, 2017 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - When it comes to nuclear weapons upon the international stage, the general consensus is certainly not "the more the merrier." Attempts to limit the number and variety of nuclear weapons and to take measures to avoid the use of those that do exist have been ongoing since the first nuclear weapons were developed at the end of World War 2.


Today, however, one of the several nuclear-armed nations of the world and its behavior has jeopardized the hard-fought progress made toward this goal.

America Reneged After the Cold War 

One of several treaties singed during the later stages of the Cold War included the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABMT). It limited anti-ballistic missile systems to two per country. The reasoning was to hinder anti-missile technology development and leave nuclear-armed nations open to retaliatory attacks should they initiate a nuclear first strike.

The treaty helped further enhance the concept of "mutually assured destruction" (MAD).  After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, member states upheld the treaty with the United States until 2001 when the United States unilaterally withdrew from it.

The White House in an official statement regarding America's withdrawal from the treaty, would state:
...the United States and Russia face new threats to their security. Principal among these threats are weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means wielded by terrorists and rogue states. A number of such states are acquiring increasingly longer-range ballistic missiles as instruments of blackmail and coercion against the United States and its friends and allies. The United States must defend its homeland, its forces and its friends and allies against these threats. We must develop and deploy the means to deter and protect against them, including through limited missile defense of our territory.
However, the United States would spend the next decade and a half, not developing anti-missile systems aimed at stopping non-existent weapons of mass destruction launched from "rogue states," it instead spent that time encircling Russia with anti-missile systems, including those placed in Eastern Europe.

In essence, the United States has begun to fulfill the sum of all fears during the Cold War, that a nuclear armed nation would attempt to monopolize missile defense technology and use it as a means to develop a nuclear first strike capability without fear of retaliation.

Opponents of America's decision to withdraw from the ABMT noted that the move also undermined Washington's own alleged nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

Russia Reacts 
Articles like February 2017 New York Times piece titled, "Russia Deploys Missile, Violating Treaty and Challenging Trump," attempt to portray Russia as menacing the US and its Western European allies with new and potentially "illegal" nuclear weapons.


The New York Times reports:
The ground-launched cruise missile at the center of American concerns is one that the Obama administration said in 2014 had been tested in violation of a 1987 treaty that bans American and Russian intermediate-range missiles based on land. 

The Obama administration had sought to persuade the Russians to correct the violation while the missile was still in the test phase. Instead, the Russians have moved ahead with the system, deploying a fully operational unit.
The article refers to another landmark effort made during the Cold War to reduce the likelihood of nuclear war, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed in 1987 by the United States and the Soviet Union.

Yet despite this narrative, the New York Times itself gives away what provoked Russia's recent deployment of the missile system in the first place, stating (emphasis added):
The missile program has been a major concern for the Pentagon, which has developed options for how to respond, including deploying additional missile defenses in Europe or developing air-based or sea-based cruise missiles.
Clearly, Russia is responding to existing missile defenses the US has placed across Europe, or plans on placing across Europe in the near future.

As predicted by opponents of America's 2001 decision to withdraw from the Cold War ABMT, America has undermined non-proliferation efforts, not only inviting other nations to discard efforts to rein in nuclear proliferation and the number and variety of nuclear weapons deployed by a nation, but in fact leaving nations with no other choice in the face of America's own attempts to obtain a nuclear first strike capability.

NATO's Expansion is a Lit Fuse 

As NATO expands and as the United States digs in along Russia's borders, a proverbial fuse lit by America's withdrawal from the ABMT and its belligerence toward Russia ever since becomes shorter and shorter.

By provoking Russia into developing and deploying nuclear-capable intermediate-range missiles able to negate the possibility of a US nuclear first strike, the amount of time between launch and all out nuclear war has been significantly shortened.

Despite the US provoking this chain of events, instead of taking stock and retreating to a more sensible position, it is using Russia's predictable reaction to rush even further forward. By posing a greater nuclear threat to Russia, the United States through its own irresponsible behavior upon the world stage encourages many other nations to pursue, develop and deploy nuclear armaments as a means of defense and deterrence.

While the United States poses as international arbiter of nuclear non-proliferation, it appears instead to serve as the premier provocateur of new nuclear weapons gold rush.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.  

US Seeks to Monopolize Cyberwarfare

September 16, 2017 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - The use of information to enhance martial power goes back to the beginning of human civilization itself, where propaganda and psychological warfare went hand-in-hand with slings, arrows, swords and shields.


The most recent iteration of this takes the form of social media and cyberwarfare where tools are being developed and deployed to influence populations at home and abroad, to manipulate political processes of foreign states and even tap into and exploit global economic forces.

In the beginning of the 21st century, the United States held an uncontested monopoly over the tools of cyberwarfare. Today, this is changing quickly, presenting an increasingly balanced cyberscape where nations are able to defend themselves on near parity with America's ability to attack them.

To reassert America's control over information and the technology used to broker it, Jared Cohen, current Google employee and former US State Department staff, has proposed a US-created and dominated "international" framework regarding cyberconflict.



His op-ed in the New York Times titled, "How to Prevent a Cyberwar," begins by admitting the very pretext the US is using to expand its control over cyberwarfare is baseless, noting that "specifics of Russia's interference in the 2016 America election remain unclear." 

Regardless, Cohen continues by laying out a plan for reasserting American control over cyberwarfare anyway, by claiming:
Cyberweapons won’t go away and their spread can’t be controlled. Instead, as we’ve done for other destructive technologies, the world needs to establish a set of principles to determine the proper conduct of governments regarding cyberconflict. They would dictate how to properly attribute cyberattacks, so that we know with confidence who is responsible, and they would guide how countries should respond.
Cohen, unsurprisingly, nominates the US to lead and direct these efforts:
The United States is uniquely positioned to lead this effort and point the world toward a goal of an enforceable cyberwarfare treaty. Many of the institutions that would be instrumental in informing these principles are based in the United States, including research universities and the technology industry. Part of this effort would involve leading by example, and the United States can and should establish itself as a defender of a free and open internet everywhere.

Cohen never explains how this US-dominated framework will differ from existing "international" frameworks regarding conventional warfare the US regularly abuses to justify a growing collection of devastating conflicts it is waging worldwide.

And as has been repeatedly documented, the United States' definition of a "free and open internet everywhere" is an Internet dominated by US tech companies seeking to enhance and expand US interests globally.

Cohen ironically notes that:
Cyberweapons have already been used by governments to interfere with elections, steal billions of dollars, harm critical infrastructure, censor the press, manipulate public conversations about crucial issues and harass dissidents and journalists. The intensity of cyberconflict around the world is increasing, and the tools are becoming cheaper and more readily available.
Indeed, cyberweapons have already been used, primarily by the United States.

Jared Cohen himself was directly involved in joint operations between Google, Facebook, the US State Department and a number of other US tech and media enterprises which before and during 2011 set the stage for the so-called "Arab Spring."


It included the training, funding and equipping of activists years ahead of the the uprisings as well as active participation in the uprisings themselves, including providing assistance to both protesters and militants everywhere from Libya to Syria in overthrowing governments targeted by Washington for regime change.