Burma Renamed MyanmarMyanmar renamed Burma
The crisis puts Burma back in the limelight
Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's leading opponent, in 2002 during her brief freedom: The occasional critique must be substituted by a sustainable focusing. WASHINGTON: Thanks to the web and sat TV, Burma is back in the foreground. This is because the government has taken its Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi back into detention.
Burma's resurgence on the face of the earth shows both the clout of the international press and the limits of Episodian awareness of a protracted issue. This is due to the recent close combat in Burma - renamed Myanmar by the Myanmar army in 1989 - between ruling groups and the Burmese oppositions.
Suu Kyi's original record of injury proved untrue, but the army was not prepared to free her, as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for. Despite the fact that the army has held the resistance responsible for the instigation of the uprising, they themselves have full oversight of their own grassroots mobilisation organisation, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and its 16 million members.
Rangoon's administration must take full accountability for the event, apologise to the population and press charges against the relevant state agencies. We are reminded by the media's awareness of this terrible event that the coverage of Burma, informative as it may be, has been ephemeral. And, as with the global press, the US administration only looks at Burma in periods of severe crises.
Washington has for years ignored the US's long-term interests in Burma and little thought has been given to the country's importance to the area. However, efficient policy-making requires sustainable awareness. Following the virtually self-imposed post 1962 post-civic isolation, the Burmese community ignored Burma until the 1988 popular revolt ended with another armed putsch, this year in support of the militarised state, which had become a political and economic bankruptcy.
In May 1990, the government also took notice of the fact that the majority of the opposing party won a free vote, although the results were then ignored by the warlords. Burma came back in the news when Aung San Suu Kyi won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, but only briefly. The United States took "high ethical ground" six years later - inspired by a number of international humanitarian organisations and groups of the regime's opponents - and sanctioned new US investment in Burma.
However, Burma again dropped off the US political and general security radars until May 2002, when Aung San Suu Kyi was discharged from her second block. Earlier this week the invitations were extended to the world' s leading journalists, which led to significant reporting on the "reconciliation process" - a open dialog between the opposing parties and the army, which was intended as a follow-up to the clandestine talks that had been going on for some while.
There has been widespread cybernetics in most mass media since then, and the US has done little to promote substantial dialog. It is dismayed that the dialog has not continued and that, despite the releases of several hundred detainees, a very large number are still in prison. Army leaders are probably also frustrated that she was welcomed on Suu Kyi's extended, authorised travel across the nation by a large crowd, even a decade after the elections that were theft.
Ongoing enthusiasm in the press about this latest event is likely to fade away soon, unless something out of the ordinary happens. Because of the event, the US declined to issue a number of US foreign visa applications that go beyond the already forbidden higher ranking warlords. Here, too, the high point of morality is reached and the outrage will be met, but the collapse of the present penalties to displace the Myanmar army will being overlooked.
Myanmar merits continued vigilance. It will not be supplied by the masses, but the political interests of the United States must be rationally taken into account. An undisclosed but thorough US political examination of Burma should look at all facets of the current and future interests of the US in that state. US policies to date have concentrated only on government leadership (appreciating the results of the May 1990 elections and allowing the government to the opposition) and the improvement of these.
Are these general misgivings necessary in any political reassessment, but are they enough? Isn' t Burma's political stance on the flanks of US contracting party Thailand important for the US? What is the US's assessment of the Chinese-Indian competition (relatively calm at present, but of great importance) in the face of Burma's widespread China's involvement in Burma's massive involvement in the sale of weapons, infrastructural aid, education, aid and trade and access there?
Myanmar is in the strategical interest of China and India. What would the US see as a China present at the west end of the Malacca Strait, the world's main river and the US connection to our Diego Garcia based in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf and Middle East?
Which interests does the USA have in the control of opioum output in Burma and the dissemination of methamphetamine? How could the Burmese economy be affected? Direct Burmese politics, economics and safety policy have resulted in well over one million Burmese of all ethnic groups fleeing to neighbouring nations, Thailand and Bangladesh included.
It is important for the US and other nations to recognise the clear local impact of Burma's domestic disputes. Indeed, Burma's leaders should now realize themselves that Burma's past glory - its long-standing capability for economical self-sufficiency, its vast reserves of nature and the state' s capability to live in a state of social exclusion - has become meaningless.
Globalisation, new information technology and domestic population changes, coupled with inadequate economic governance and policy oppression, have eroded Burma's current benefits. It can no longer coexist in self-imposed insulation, regardless of what the army may believe. Both the Rangoon and Washington governments need to be aware of the reality of the emergency in Burma.
In particular, the US cannot allow itself to concentrate on Burma only in crisis time. Those who are most affected by the blinkers carried by civil servants are the Myanmar population. But untreated, the grief of Burma's troubles could quickly spill over to its neighbours and the whole wide globe.