Initiatives To Help Burmese Must Include India-China

Meidyatama Surodiningrat, writing in the Jakarta Post, argues making speeches that denounce leaders of Myanmar make for good headlines, but do nothing to alter the repressive regime which controls the people of Burma. He is critical of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who sharply attacked the Burmese leaders and those refusing to take action. “The junta cannot be bullied by words, least of all from a country insignificant to its political agenda.” He also notes some nations which were critical of the Burmese government like Australia, France and the United States, have companies operating and investing large sums in that nation.

The author argues for realistic, quiet diplomacy as the best course of action to bring about change in Myanmar. But, no initiative can succeed without the active support of India and China which have extensive holdings in Burma. The ruling Burma junta conducts its affairs under the name, the State Peace and Development Council,(SPDC ) and it depends upon cooperation from its two powerful neighbors for economic development. “In the initial phase(of any change), the United States and the European Union should not be engaged since SPDC’s overriding suspicion is that Western criticism is geared towardds a change of government in Myanmar.”

Perhaps, those of us who seek freedom for the people of Burma must recognize it will not readily occur and must proceed in cautious phases of change. The collapse of dictatorships will eventually occur, but this will most readily happen if the groundwork has been laid.