Breaking: Burma's Government Still Bad


On Friday the UN Security Council held its first ever discussion on Myanmar, a move pushed by US Ambassador John Bolton, Laura Bush, exile groups, and activists. Bolton wants a UN resolution, and seems to be under the impression that the regime will respond to international pressure. Explains the badly coiffed ambo:

"If we don't ratchet up the level of attention, there's no reason to think [Burma's] policies will change."

Well, that's true. It would be equally true to say: "If we ratchet up the level of attention, there's no reason to think Burma's policies will change" Also: "If this Paris Hilton video does/does not creep me out, there's no reason to think Burma's policies will change." To recap: Two years ago, the Myanmar leadership purged the reform minded within its ranks, leaving only xenophobic hardliners. Last year, Than Shwe relocated the entire government from Yangon to a remote compound, either due to rumors of imminent US invasion or on the advice of a numerologist (or both).

As of last year the General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights had issued a grand total of 27 resolutions condemning the actions of Myanmar, all to no effect. Economic sanctions have elicited lots of crazed anti-American propaganda but no actual reform. Another angry letter won't change Than Shwe, but it will stoke paranoia and put more dissidents in jail.

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  1. I know
    They’re a junta
    Said the diplomat
    But U.N. dears,
    They look so phat

  2. Isn’t it a form of insanity to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result?

    Oh. United Nations. Nevermind.

  3. So do you have any suggestions about what the UN should do regarding Burma/Myanmar or is this just another case of Libertarians bitching about things they have no solution to.

  4. the burmes present regieme is falling apart now. Need more preesure continuously. i know they can not resist pressure.

  5. Mark: wait them out? Worked on the Soviet Union, didn’t it?

    No sanctions in history have ever had the intended effect. They are merely an acceptable form of aggression. Those that go along with them are usually hoping that sanctions will appease the shrill promoters of them. The promoters invariably think of sanctions as “the first step.” The promoters are usually right.

    It’s hard to see how free trade would make Burma any worse to live in, while it’s easy to see how “embargoes” (which, in US-speak, always seem to turn into “blockades”) would make things substantially worse. They still won’t be free, but at least they won’t have to watch their children grow up in a totalitarian state. They’ll all starve to death instead. Victory!

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