Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wanted! For Being in the Wrong Places at the Wrong Time (and also killing those people and keeping his country in poverty)
Burma has largely been in the sort of loser country -- those of the Gap and the Seam -- that we can live with. Unlike Ba'athist North Korea, Russia, Milosevic's Serbia, Saddam's Iraq, Syria, etc., Myanmar has kept its dysfunction largely to itself. Allowing its neighbors of India, China, and Thailand to develop in peace, Burma has long been a problem we can deal with later.
Then Burma, lacking refinaries and experiencing the sort of economic problems states do, raised gasoline prices. They did this at the same time of mountain economic pressure over lack of both economic and political reforms. Burmese political activists lept at the opportunity, mass-rallied, and were quickly killed.
The outrage against Burma's rulers is a product of these facts, with one more: Burma's neighbors are becoming rich. If the same events happened twenty years ago, the world would pat itself on the back for larger achievements elsewhere. If the same events happened in Africa, the world would not care. That the events did happen a generation agian, and are happening in Africa, testifies to this fact.
So what should we do?
Remove the junta, of course. That others are worse does not give them an excuse to remain in power. Burma is not democratizing in the idealistic (leading to free and fair eleections) or materialistic (leadering to free markets) sense. It kills its own people, and does not meaningfully participate in regional economic growth.
Mark and Shane share their thoughts.
This was actually being talked about at the lunch table today. . . it occured to me that- between American air power and Chinese, Indian, Thai, Bangladeshi and Lao armies- taking Myanmar down and rebuilding Burma wouldn't be hard. It would save those countries from worrying about their oil supply, worrying about refugees and worrying about their reputations.
Posted by: Michael | Friday, October 05, 2007
To steal an idea from Tom , China worries about the precedent. What if there is a similar level of popular discontent in Tibet or Hong Kong? What if Beijing acts the same way as the generals?
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, October 05, 2007