Senator Jim Webb completed his trip to Burma to secure the release of an obviously mentally ill man named John Yettaw who swam across a lake in order to enter the home of imprisoned Burmese leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi. Although Mr. Yettaw flew away to freedom in America, Ms. Suu Kyi remains under house arrest. Senator Webb had an opportunity to speak with Burmese leader, Senior General Than Shwe. Months ago, President Obama extended a ban on US investment in Burma as part of American strategy of maintaining an embargo on any relations with the thugs who currently rule Myanmar.
Derek Tonkin, who chairs the Myanmar Network, spoke with Webb about his views on Burma. “His view is that sanctions have been harmful. He believes the policy has had the opposite outcome than was intended. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insists improved relations will only occur if Burmese leaders release dissidents.
I have supported the sanction policy, but Jim Webb deserves to have his ideas explored. There is no evidence sanctions have worked so wha tis wrong with examining new approaches to the Burmese government?