Yesterday, President Bush extended the "national emergency with respect to Burma," a government whose actions apparently "pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States." Who knew? That means another year of unilateral economic sanctions, which have worked wonders since they were first imposed against the same government in 1997.
As is his habit, Burma-obsessed Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the resolution to renew the sanctions, then threw in some bad information. He says the SPDC poses "an immediate danger to the entire region" partly "through the trafficking of illicit drugs." The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is run by a bunch of thugs, but they surely aren't running the drug trade these days, which is operated by oppositional minorities on the Northwest border. McConnell goes on to claim that Burma has a "rising prisoner of conscience population" (not true) and insist the U.S. is part of a "growing chorus for political reform in Burma" (doubtful). Considering that the SPDC manages to rack up new human rights abuses daily, why pass on false accusations?
Here's a nice closing sentiment from Mitch:
"There is no more definitive expression of support for democracy and human rights–for solidarity with those struggling for freedom–than an import ban."
Meanwhile, Myanmar's information minister is trying to explain away some recent bombings in Yangon with a clever game of "guess who?":
"It is crystal clear that the terrorists . . . and the time bombs originated from training conducted with foreign experts . . . in a neighbouring country by a world famous organisation of a certain superpower nation."