Across several threads here on Travelfish, references have been made to the impact of US politics on SE Asian political affairs. And, embedded within these references has been the involvement of the (US) CIA.
To be fair, the references largely point to CIA involvement pre-1980's.
Nevertheless, and as history shows, when the US has sought to involve itself in SE Asian affairs, and wanted to involve itself at a hands on level, but doesn't want to be seen as doing it at a 'state' level, it has traditionally done so by using the CIA.
While the US gov't hasn't been overtly active in SE Asia since the early 1980's, that is not to say the US administration hasn't been meddling in SE Asian 'affairs' since then.
While it is true that Bush snr & Bush jnr have focussed their nations' attention on mid-east 'issues', the CIA has long been given a global 'reach' to advance US interests if and when the US administration see fit to 'involve' itself in a regional 'issue'.
Now that the CIA are to be 'relieved' of their duties at Guantanamo Bay, some believe the CIA will re-assert it's 'interests' in a more global approach. Given this view, and as China asserts its economic (as a disguised or de-facto political) prowess in the SE Asian region (one only has to look at Vietnam & Laos to 'see' evidence), commentators suggest that the US administration will increasingly direct CIA attention to this region.
The question, then, is what do those involved with SE Asia (here on TF) see as a possible outcome should the US set the CIA into SE Asian 'affairs' to counter Chinese influence in the region?
The CIA as a direct action tool was non-existent from 1976 to 2000. It's primary focus was the collection and analysis of information during that time. It did very little direct action. After 9-11, it has been used as a direct action tool against Al Qaeda and it's affiliates. With additional constraints placed upon it by the Obama administration, it will likely continue to do so.
However, direct action is not a role the CIA prefers and it also does not seek that role. It prefers to function as an intelligence collectiona and analysis agency. So I would not anticipate the CIA doing more than collecting and analyzing information in this region for the foreseeable future.
Having worked very closely with that agency, I can assure you the perception of their capabilities is highly exagerated.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
You don't so say, but do I understand you to be accepting that the CIA WAS involved in SEA during the VN conflict period (ie prior to 1976) as a direct action matter?
Given that a nations' involvement in global 'affairs' is a matter typically held close to their chest, I doubt any of us would know what the US is doing/intending with/for the CIA. I wrote on what (assumably more competent) commentators were advancing as an idea.
I've written elsewhere that I believe the US (and crony states') intervention into Afghanistan is a blocking effort against the increasing influence of China in the 'stan countries and across to nth Africa. If this hypothesis is right, why not CIA 'involvement' in areas where Chinese influence is growing?
I'm not advancing a conspiracy theory, rather, seeking others' views.
I don't think there is any action the CIA can practically take that is going to hinder Chinese influence anywhere in the world. The Chinese influence is economic, and the CIA is poorly positioned to do a thing about that. Nor are there any examples of it.
I reject the notion that the intervention in Afghanistan is about some sort of economic interests. That was a purely security driven operation. SOME of the Stans have significant oil reserves, but those are already being tapped and brought to market. No intervention necessary there.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Bruce, the CIA's reach is always global. Guantanamo is just a blip on their screen. As their doings under Bush Jr become more public, I think that just like after VN, they are going to be very careful about any direct action. I would think their focus is going to be more on Africa and South America especially where China, Russia and Iran are becoming a concern.
Concerning SE Asia, they are already here. The US embassy staff in Thailand is one of the largest in the world. I am sure it works to influence outcomes to benifit the US as other countries embassys do also. Chinese influence so far is economic and asia is migrating towards them because of it. With economic power comes political power. I don't see where the old coup plotting would really have a benifical impact unless it involved a military purpose like China setting up a base somewhere. China's model has changed as so have many of the other countries in SE asia. Isn't that what we in the west wanted all along? A bigger market?
#5 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
Mac, they are selling badges here in Vientiane for war veterans. I just purchased one. The money goes to help support those who fought against the running dogs of western imperialism.
They only cost 10,000 kip. Would you like me to order one for you and mail it to you, as I am sure this is a cause you would want to support?
Heck they're looking to hire you Mac,
Current job posting US Embassy Vientiane
"As Political Specialist, the incumbent is responsible for regular factual and analytical reporting on Lao politics, party, government, and law development from a broad variety of human and media sources, published and unpublished. He/she also is responsible for analyzing and reporting on Lao foreign relations, particularly with Vietnam, China, and ASEAN. He/she follows Lao government, international organizations, and NGO work in anti-human trafficking efforts. He/she attends Lao government, international organization, and NGO meetings, identifies items of interest, and prepares reports and drafts cables as requested. He/she assists in maintaining up-to-date biographic files of Lao officials and provides specialized background reporting on Lao laws and decrees.
"The money goes to help support those who fought against the running dogs of western imperialism."
I am a dog (although not a running one) of western imperialism. At least vis-a-vis communist **** (although at this point I despise militant Islam even more). BTW did you hear about the death of Nabhan!!! That was my area of specialty - I am quite familiar with that individual.
Somsai, I'm out of the buisiness now and would only go back to work in East Africa or because my government compelled me to (as a retired Army Officer I remain under contract for life). I am not interested in doing intelligence analysis anymore.
#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957