Despite all the reckless and over-wrought talk of a Trump ‘coup’ on January 6 over election fraud, President Biden is now reacting to a real military coup over the same election fraud issue. But that coup against the elected civilian government is in Myanmar, also known as Burma, in Southern Asia.
According to Newsweek:
Troops launched raids against prominent politicians in the early hours of Monday, detaining de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and others. Tensions had been growing between the military and the civilian government, particularly since elections in November saw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy win a landslide victory.
The military made its move ahead of the first session of parliament since the election, due to be held this week. Lawmakers had been due to approve the next government. But now the military says it has taken control for one year, headed by commander-in-chief General Min Aung Hlaing, accusing the civilian leadership of election fraud.
As part of its takeover, the Burmese military has arrested a number of government officials and civic leaders. Team Biden and congressional lawmakers have expressed serious concern at the reports of the coup.
While Burma’s progress toward true democracy since its 2015 break from 50 years of military rule has been challenging and imperfect, that progress has now been totally disrupted, note democracy advocates.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken quickly condemned the coup. A statement released late on Sunday, reported by Newsweek, expressed “grave concern and alarm” at reports of the coup. Blinken Said:
We call on Burmese military leaders to release all government officials and civil society leaders and respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8. The United States stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development. The military must reverse these actions immediately.
The White House issued a stronger statement on Sunday, saying the Biden administration will “take action” if the military does not return control to the elected civilian government. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said:
The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed.
What actions Team Biden may take, and whether the Burmese military will take the threats seriously, remain to be seen. But it is useful to use this event as an illustration of what a real military coup over election fraud looks like.