Joshua Kurlantzick is a senior correspondent at The American Prospect and a special correspondent at The New Republic. He is also a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the author of Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power is Transforming the World.
Rangoon, the capital of Burma (now officially called Myanmar), is normally one of the most depressing cities in Asia. It usually exudes the desperate air of a decaying totalitarian metropolis: Beggars wander the central market, queuing for handouts of the worthless local currency, while paramilitary police block access to universities, political party offices and any other potential centers of opposition to the state. But in recent months, some signs of change have emerged. In May, pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition to Burma's totalitarian junta, was released from house arrest. Suu Kyi vowed to continue her fight to liberate the Burmese from the ruling generals, who have impoverished the country.
The headquarters of the Government of Free Vietnam (GFVN)
would fit right into the guerilla campaigns of 1930s China or modern-day
Colombia. Along the building's walls, reams of photos show Free Vietnam troops
training at secret Southeast Asian bases code-named "KC 702." On the top floor, a
shortwave radio transmitter broadcasts the GFVN's anti-regime programs into
Vietnamese cities and villages.