Yusuke then criticizes the world’s leading democracies and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for excluding the junta’s chief from the ASEAN summit in October, but neglects to mention that the junta was excluded for failing to uphold the Five-Point Consensus. Furthermore, Yusuke argues that Min Aung Hlaing chose not to attend the ASEAN-China summit in November due to his wariness of “great power intentions” despite China’s courting. However, it has been widely reported that the junta’s chief was uninvited to that meeting. Yusuke apparently wishes to depict Min Aung Hlaing as playing a balancing act with China instead.
To underpin his narrative, Yusuke cites foreign policy failures in Syria, Afghanistan, and Chile. He also haunts the West with the failures of the Afghan government, and the growing influence of Russia and China in Myanmar. He concluded his article with the assertion that his own country, Japan, should support the Sit-tat without taking into account its atrocities and the relentless determination of the Burmese people to fight against the junta. In the current situation, any country that proffers the slightest support to the murderous junta would be making a deal with the devil. For this reason, China has cautiously refrained from offering a blank check of support to the junta. Ignoring ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus, the junta has clearly demonstrated its rejection of an internationally-mediated political solution, and it will only manipulate the support of the international community for its legitimacy and survival in power. Supporting the junta thus implies reinforcing its brutal dictatorial rule instead of restoring democracy.
The military has its fair share of defenders, both at home and, as exemplified by Yusuke, abroad. In Myanmar, the military’s narratives are less and less effective on its people, who are informed of the news through the internet and social media. This can be seen in the unprecedented groundswell of popular resistance to the junta throughout the country. However, the junta is desperate to contain the rapidly deteriorating situation, and so, it is aggressively carrying out its propaganda campaign at home. At the same time, it is increasingly disseminating “pro-military narratives” to international audiences. In the past, the Sit-tat’s propaganda has accused the BBC, Voice of America, and other foreign media of exporting falsehoods. The Sit-tat labeled them “a sky full of lies” to the country. Ironically, now, the Sit-tat and its apologists are vigorously attempting to market “a skyful of lies” abroad.
Ye Myo Hein is the executive director of the Tagaung Institute of Political Studies (TIPS), and a fellow with the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is a researcher who is primarily focused on the study of civil-military relations and transitional politics of Myanmar.