West should refrain from adding fuel to the flames in Myanmar: Global Times editorial
Published: Feb 02, 2021 09:48 PM

Police forces are pictured in a line of trucks in the downtown area of Yangon on Monday. Myanmar's military announced a state of emergency earlier Monday and later said it seized power and will rule the country for at least one year after having detained the country's top political leaders. Photo: AFP

The situation in Myanmar presents the world a hot potato issue. The Biden administration demanded that the Myanmar military release those detained and threatened to re-impose sanctions on Myanmar. But the Biden administration has refrained from immediately using the word "coup" to describe the Myanmar military's actions as Britain has done, it waited until Tuesday to do so. This shows that the situation in Myanmar is a thorny issue for Washington.

Myanmar's neighboring countries, such as ASEAN member states and China, hold similar views - they hope all sides in Myanmar could be restrained and solve the crisis within the framework of the constitution and the law in a peaceful way. Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines said this is the "internal affairs" of Myanmar. Even Singapore, the closest with the West in ASEAN, did not follow the US and the UK and held similar views with other ASEAN countries. 

The situation in Myanmar matters to regional peace and stability and the interests of its neighbors. They do not want to see a chaotic Myanmar, nor do they want to get involved in the internal conflicts of Myanmar. Asian countries recognize the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs, which has been practiced throughout the region, because this principle is the most realistic choice of Asian countries.

Western countries have been very aggressive, demanding directly that the Myanmar military take immediate action to reverse the situation, and their interference has become part of the situation in Myanmar. The battle between the Myanmar military and pressure from the West will be the main theme of Myanmar's situation for some time to come.

Myanmar's neighbors have not commented on Western involvement as well. Some Western public opinion complained that China and other countries haven't followed the attitude of the US and Europe. Such an accusation has gone too far. It is the equivalent of public opinion in Myanmar's neighboring countries complaining that the US and the Europe have not followed their lead in calling for restraint.

For neighboring countries, it is in everyone's interest to ensure that Myanmar is peaceful and stable, and that the country's legal and political framework can best support that vision. When the country is experiencing turbulence, we should not exacerbate the problem, but try to defuse it in a moderate way. This is what neighboring countries hope to see. It is a realistic attitude, full of goodwill and pragmatism.

Western countries are far away from Myanmar, and they are forcefully intervening by projecting their political influence. Whether they are doing it right or not needs to be tested by the effect. That is to say, their intervention should be conducive to promoting dialogue among all parties in Myanmar and peacefully resolving the crisis. It should not aggravate tensions or provoke more confrontation and turn the situation in Myanmar into a new deadlock. That outcome is clearly not what the Myanmar people and the region want to see.

The purpose of promoting democracy should not be to promote democracy itself or gain political points, but to benefit the people of countries like Myanmar. There must be internal reasons for what is happening in Myanmar, and the outside world needs to be patient and help it through the difficulties in a way that is least costly to Myanmar society. 

This is the 21st century, not decades ago. Myanmar has gone through more than a decade of democratization. This time and effort cannot be cut off like an appendix. Monday's statement from the Myanmar military was informative, which is probably why the US did not immediately use the word "coup." We hope that the situation is not going to get worse, but that it will finally find a way out.