Chris Van Es

O eixo central da Ásia

NOVA DELI - Isolada e empobrecida por décadas de sanções internacionais, Myanmar (ou Birmânia) emergiu nos últimos meses como um farol de esperança e como um potencial novo ponto explosivo asiático. Com a Prémio Nobel Aung San Suu Kyi, liberta de duas décadas de prisão domiciliária, a bater-se vigorosamente por um assento no parlamento na eleição especial a ter lugar no dia 1 de Abril, o compromisso da Birmânia para reingressar na comunidade internacional parece ser genuíno. Mas esta abertura tem outras consequências, sobretudo criar as condições para um novo “grande jogo”de competição estratégica.

Ninguém se deve surpreender com o facto de a Birmânia ser um centro de interesse para grandes potências. Afinal, é maior que França e tem uma dimensão populacional semelhante. No seu recente livro Monsoon, Robert Kaplan afirma que na Idade Média três reinos situavam-se entre a Tailândia (nessa época era denominada Sião) e a Índia. Um deles era Myanmar, que significa “aquilo que é central”. Séculos mais tarde, a Birmânia continua a ser central, não só em matéria de segurança asiática, mas também pela vasta e ainda muito inexplorada riqueza natural do país.

A importância estratégica da Birmânia reflecte, em primeiro lugar e acima de tudo, a sua localização geográfica entre a Índia, a China, a Tailândia e o sudeste Asiático. Circundada a norte pelos cumes no sul dos Himalaias, a leste pelos sopés das densas florestas de teca e a oeste e a sul pela Baía de Bengala e pelo Oceano Índico, a geografia da Birmânia moldou sempre a história e a política do país.

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