Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader who has spent 12 o the last 18 years under house arrest offered to meet with the ruling military junta for a dialogue in oder to break the impasse between the oppressive military leaders and the mass of Burmese people who seek some form of democracy. Kyi said: “In the interest of the nation, I stand ready to cooperate with the Government in order to make this process of dialogue a success.” The statement was read to the world in Singapore by UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari who recently completed several days in Burma trying to talk with members of the junta. Burma State Television said General Aung Kyi would meet with Suu Kyi(no relation). A top level diplomat in Yangoon, commented to the press, “there is no doubt in my mind that this regime has no intention of cooperating with Bambari or starting a process of genuine dialogue.”
The process of attempting to bring about change in Myanmar is hampered by failure of China and India to assume a proactive role in fostering dialogue. As the top trading partners of Burma, these two nations have economic power to move the junta toward some acomodation with opposition leaders.
US lawmakers are considering a dramatic increase in sanctions against the Burmese military junta whose oppressive rule has crushed people in their country and made poverty the norm in what once was a nation with the capability of having a fairly successful economy. They are proposing legislation which would ban export of gems and timber from Burma, two resources which have brought millions in revenue to Myanmar. It would ban travel by top generals and outlaw the import into the United states of gems and timber from Burma. According to Senator Joseph Biden, “”we ned to bring pressure to bear on the Burmese generals directly responsible for the violence against the peaceful protestors last month, but unilateral sanctions alone will not get the job done.”
The proposed legislation stems from good intentions, trying to do something about curtailing the power of Myanmar’s military junta. The reality is that gems will be sent to Thailand where they will be polished and exported as Thai gems. The reality is that timber can be sold in India for use or for re-export. There are two key players in placing pressure on the military junta — India and China. If those nations used their leverage over Burma’s rulers, change will occur. It is doubtful banning Burmese generals from traveling will have any impact — few of them travel anywhere.
Posted in Asia, Democrats, Human Rights, Military, Politics, Republicans, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged China, India, Military junta, Myanmar, US sanctions