Admission to Burma

Than Shwe now says he will allow "all" aid workers into Myanmar, though he hasn't said when. The promise comes after a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, who notes that Than Shwe "has taken quite a flexible position on this matter.”

This is the first time I've seen the word "flexible" used to describe Than Shwe. On the other hand, it's hard to know how much accurate information he has at any given time. In Burma it is extremely difficult to deliver bad news to one's superiors; truth often takes a backseat to norms of conflict-aversion. From the perspective of Than Shwe's underlings, it's almost always going to be easier and safer to minimize the perception of problems and act as if things are under control. They're terrified of him; he'd rather not hear anything unflattering about his own capacity for leadership. The former UN resident coordinator in Burma apparently calls this "mutually strategic ignorance."

Than Shwe is further insulated by the information blackout his own government enforces, which makes it easier for lesser generals to pretend that everything is progressing swimmingly. It's probable, for example, that Than Shwe was unaware that the potemkin refugee camps he visited were an elaborate farce. And if you doubt his capacity for delusion, remember that this is the guy who moved the country's capital on the advice of his astrologer.

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  • ||

    And if you doubt his capacity for delusion, remember that this is the guy who moved the country's capital on the advice of his astrologer.

    If Have to laugh, or you'll cry. Isn't humanity a fucked up species?

  • ed||

    In that regard he's the equal of Nancy Reagan.

  • ||

    Any country that chooses to place their capital in a miserable swamp in the middle of nowhere must be full of buffoons.

    Oh, wait...

  • Burmese prostitot||

    This is the first time I've seen the word "flexible" used to describe Than Shwe.

    If you knew Than Shwe like I know Than Shwe, oh, oh oh, what a guy!

  • lunchstealer||

    In that regard he's the equal of Nancy Reagan.

    I think if Than Shwe wanted to marry Ronald Reagan and put him in charge, it'd be a step up, even considering the various problems of sexual orientation and mortality that they'd have to overcome.

  • ||

    Than Shwe now says he will allow "all" aid workers into Myanmar, though he hasn't said when.

    Probably about the time Iran gives access to its nuclear sites.

  • Rhywun||

    truth often takes a backseat to norms of conflict-aversion

    Chinese culture is the same way, but there doesn't seem to be the same problem getting aid to the earthquake victims (not that I've heard, anyway).

  • ||

    They're probably afraid that the relief supplies would destroy their delicate balance of socialist equality where everybody lives in a shithole.

  • ||

    ...moved the country's capital on the advice of his astrologer.

    Didn't that work, though? The cyclone did hit the old capital, after all.

    Maybe "astrologer" is a mistranslation of "meteorologist".

  • ||

    Great headline, Kerry.

  • ||

    The same thing happened to Nasser during the Six Day War. When the IDF was raping the Egyptian air force the generals were so afraid they told Nasser they were winning. Because of this information Egypt did not react fast enough and got the epic beat down.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Good band.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOfZ4X1ab_A

    Oh wait...ad-Mission TO Burma, sorry.

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