May 19, 2021

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What I learned from Kerry about Myanmar

John Kerry arrived in Dhaka on a visit of a few hours. The former Obama administration secretary of state is currently US President Joe Biden’s special envoy for climate change. Kerry came to Dhaka once when he was the foreign minister. Therefore, he is quite knowledgeable about the leadership, politics and diplomacy of this country. Kerry is in Dhaka to invite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to a climate summit. Joe Biden is going back to the climate deal through this conference of world leaders. Former President Trump withdrew the United States from the deal. John Kerry said a ারের 100 billion fund has been set up to help countries affected by climate change and to reduce global levels of climate pollution. Kerry did not forget to mention further development of the two countries through this visit.

Undoubtedly, this effort to develop relations includes the geopolitical issue of the region. However, Kerry did not comment on the Indo-Pacific alliance. This is not his issue either, but what he has said about democracy in Myanmar and especially the return of the Rohingya is what draws Bangladesh closer. Lately, such efforts have also increased in India. Not only as a state in the Bay of Bengal, but also because of its growing economic and military ties with China. Bangladesh is part of China’s Belt Road project. However, the United States is not looking at Bangladesh through the eyes of India, Kerry said. Kerry’s brief visit indicates that the Biden administration is not in line with Trump’s policy.

In this context, what Kerry is saying about the Rohingya is important, but so far the United States has done nothing but reassure and praise Bangladesh. However, Kerry spoke about Myanmar’s past and present. He said he had discussed the Rohingya issue with then-leader Aung San Suu Kyi and generals. Unfortunately, from 2012 to 2016, when the Rohingya were being killed in Myanmar with the joint consent of the so-called democratic leaders, no Western country, including the United States, was vocal. At that time, the western world, even the big countries of Asia including India were busy flattering Myanmar. Only when the 1.1 million deported Rohingya take refuge in Bangladesh and the horrific picture of the genocide of an ethnic group comes out for the benefit of the international media and the United Nations, the scene only changes. Of course, the US administration was not very active then.

The current situation in Myanmar is raising new concerns in the Western world. Due to the current situation, the Rohingya issue is no longer a priority for Myanmar. The military junta is now busy managing itself. Most analysts agree that the Western world, especially the United States, is behind the public outcry against the military. Another major problem for Myanmar’s military junta is growing public anger against China. On March 17, Chinese businessmen’s businesses were set on fire in a special economic zone in Yangon. Although there are garment factories in Singapore, Japan and South Korea in this economic zone called Hlang Tharia, only attacks on Chinese installations and vandalism of their vehicles have been publicized as public outrage against China. China, however, has reacted angrily.

China is concerned about the internal situation in Myanmar for the first time. Although they did not put any public pressure on the military junta, they urged to solve the problem quickly. Because China is gradually losing the trust of the people of Myanmar. Myanmar’s military junta is also worried about China. It is believed that the Karen National Liberation Army’s horrific attack on Myanmar’s military on March 26 took place with China’s tacit consent. Counter-attacks by Myanmar’s military have worsened the use of the air force. Similarly, other groups, including the Kachin Independent Army, have been observing months of silence in preparation for an attack on Myanmar’s military. These are also signs of pressure on the military junta. Analysts say China is indirectly sending a message of a speedy resolution to the Myanmar crisis.

Rohingya seems to be the only problem of Bangladesh. However, Kerry called on the world powers to resolve the issue. Perhaps no more can be expected from the United States. Therefore, Bangladesh must maintain diplomatic pressure. The issue needs to be taken seriously at the upcoming global climate conference. We have to highlight how the environment of Bangladesh is being ruined due to the presence of 11 lakh Rohingyas
In this context, to reduce internal and international pressure, Myanmar’s military junta has announced that elections will be held in two years, in accordance with the 2006 constitution. There is no doubt that Suu Kyi will be in the new government. Many think that China also agrees on this issue. On the other hand, even if the Western world, including ASEAN, wants democracy to return to Myanmar, there is no evidence that they are supporting Suu Kyi. Even the formation of an exiled government by Suu Kyi’s party has so far received no support.

Therefore, it seems that neither the Myanmar government nor the junta is going to take any effective steps to solve the Rohingya problem in the next two years. On the other hand, the geopolitical strategy of the western world will be to divert Myanmar from China. The Rohingya are not the main issue here. Therefore, the Rohingya issue is not getting priority in the international arena including Kerry or Biden administration. The United States or the international community is concerned about the return of Rohingya to Myanmar

Does not seem to have the will or ability to exert effective pressure. The situation is similar in ASEAN countries. China and India are busy trying to maintain their influence. So Rohingya is not in their priority.

Rohingya seems to be the only problem of Bangladesh. However, Kerry called on the world powers to resolve the issue. Perhaps no more can be expected from the United States. Therefore, Bangladesh must maintain diplomatic pressure. The issue needs to be taken seriously at the upcoming global climate conference. We have to highlight how the environment of Bangladesh is being ruined due to the presence of 11 lakh Rohingyas.

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