ASEAN: The US And Its Divisive Role The United States is the friend of the ASEAN nations. It brings business and investment to the countries that forms the Association of South East Asian Nations and now it want to 'protect' the sea routes and straits that surrounds some of the Asean states. But it is going to do that after it 'dilutes' the ASEAN movement or at least, after it brings chaos to them. This is what all the fuss regarding American strategy in the South East Asian (SEA) region. First of all, the United States has chosen Japan to be at the forefront of a military campaign to oppose China's growth in the region. It has also chosen Tokyo to oppose Russia's own growing interests in the region. The two major global powers are a threat to the U.S. which is by all means an empire that is dwindling in capacity but most certainly one that is going 'broke' financially. There is no reason to believe that USA is not deliberately diluting the ASEAN unity and it is doing so by using the â€œdivide and ruleâ€ paradigm. This will be fully explained in the paragraphs below. But first and foremost, they are permanently pressuring independent states by manipulating their governments (Philippines) for example, and doing everything to displacing leaders (Myanmar) or they are interfering in the affairs others (Australia where they backed the failing regime of Julian Guillard). America's foreign policy has shifted since the coming of Barack Obama to the White House. The U.S. is now less interested in sending its troops to fight other people's wars. It has grown into the fresh new policies of using the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and pressurizing groupings like the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) or the Arab League (AL) into joining forces with the Americans to plot the future of other nations. To achieve its goals, Washington has divided the OIC and the AL, bringing a majority to support popular revolt in some countries while it banish such revolts in other pro-U.S. nations. With the Asean, it tried very hard a few years ago to get the member states to diminish the role of at least one nation, Myanmar, within the organization and this based on its 'human rights' violations and politically suppressive methods used at home. When this did not work, Washington used the U.N. to threaten sanctions against the Myanmar nation. Lately, it is trying to influence the popular vote in Myanmar with its support to the opposition in the country. The outcome of the forthcoming elections in Myamnar may definitely decide the Military junta's future role in the country. However, the U.S. is doing everything to gain an upper hand, pressing for a massive opposition win. With such interference in the affairs of an Asean state, the U.S. is achieving another goal. That is to divide and rule within the Asean. ' The incredible factor is, the Asean movement is silent on these interferences. From the Philippines to the Myanmar issue and the fact that the U.S. had a big role in the 'court' case of Abu Bakar Basyir, an Islamic leader condemned to 15 years jail in Indonesia; is tantamount to a great U.S. victory within the Asean. Basyir was found guilty of supporting terrorism in Indonesia. It is understood that without foreign interference - see U.S. and Australia in particular - Basyir would probably not be in jail for a crime he did not really commit. Such interference in the judicial affairs of a nation is lamenting but yet again, under the guise of the 'international' war against terror; the entire Asean movement has been silenced. Spearheading the American strategy of divide, Washington is simmering fears among the Asean nations of a possible Chinese domination of the region. These fears were noted with the Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister's comments during a conference held in the U.S. Singapore's Foreign Minister K Shanmugam has even warned the United States against anti-China rhetoric. 'Domestic pressures in the US and the demands of elections have resulted in some anti-China rhetoric in domestic debates,'' he said as reported by the BBC.co.uk website on 8th Feb 2012. 'Americans should not underestimate the extent to which such rhetoric can spark reaction which can create a new and unintended reality for the region," he said. And this is what we are talking about here. The fear that the U.S. is putting in the hearts and minds of the Asean about a rising China. It is incredible but welcoming altogether that Singapore seems to be the only Asean state to take a stance on this anti-China bashing that is spreading in the region thanks to the U.S. The BBC added that Singapore has maintained strong relations with the U.S. on both the commercial and the military front but it has China as a major trading partner. It is clear that any slip in the already tense situation between China and some Asean member states would affect Singapore in particular. The Singaporean stance on the anti-China issue is already a sign of the big crack that is already being seen within the Asean. Malaysia and Indonesia, fearing that China will be of a negative impact on their internal affairs, have so far remained silent on the anti-China rhetoric. Vietnam and Cambodia along with the Philippines are seeing regular anti-China editorials and commentaries in their local press where China is being reported as an ogre and the U.S. as a potential savior. The only countries in the region where China is not facing a press bashing is Myanmar and Laos and that speaks for itself on the divisive role played by the U.S. for sometime now within the Asean Speaking on the 'means to contain China', the Singaporean Foreign Affairs Minister said "There is also a tendency in the media, to portray politics in ''win-lose sporting terms'' and the US engagement in Asia ''as a means to contain China''. ''Such rhetoric is a mistake on many levels,'' he said. ''The world and Asia are big enough to accommodate a rising China and a reinvigorated US.'' he added.