Looking for the Burmese junta? Sorry, it's gone into hiding - NYT, November 14, 2005
...Astrological timing may also have been behind the abruptness
of the move to a site that was not yet complete.
One theory is that the move was prompted by astrologers who
several years ago warned the ruling generals that the dilapidated
capital on the Bay of Bengal would become a dangerous place
Seen from their perspective, the notion of an American invasion
might not seem far-fetched. They are a ruling clique of soldiers
whose background is jungle warfare and who know little of the
For years they have been squeezed by economic sanctions and
battered by relentless criticism from the West over their abuses
of human rights, and they have responded by pulling further
into their shells.
In January, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice included Myanmar
in a list of "outposts of tyranny," along with North
Korea, Cuba, Iran, Zimbabwe and Belarus.
Officials in Myanmar sometimes offer visitors a list of their
own: Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq - places
where the United States has sent armed forces.
Not long ago, according to one story making the rounds in Myanmar,
a military officer was asked the purpose of obligatory civil
defense training for civilian men. "You are the holding
action against the Americans until the Chinese come to our aid,"
the officer said, according to David I. Steinberg, a professor
at Georgetown University who is a leading expert on Myanmar.
Mr. Steinberg said rumors of an American "rescue"
circulate among opponents of the government - a current of wishful
thinking that is as extravagant as the fears of the ruling generals...