Myanmar Cozzying Up with the US

Discussion in 'China' started by asianobserve, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    What can Clinton achieve in Myanmar?
    By Hilary Whiteman, CNN
    November 30, 2011 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)



    Hong Kong (CNN) -- Hillary Clinton's arrival in Myanmar is something many never expected to see.

    It's been 50 years since a U.S. Secretary of State stepped foot in the country, now shattered and isolated after decades of military rule.

    U.S. President Barack Obama announced Clinton's impending visit in late November, an unexpected move following a series of surprising concessions by Myanmar's new government.

    At the time, Obama said the U.S. was seizing an opportunity to forge a new relationship with the country, which is also known as Burma.

    "That possibility will depend upon the Burmese government taking more concrete action," Obama said.

    Clinton added that she wanted to test Myanmar's commitment to both economic and political reform. "How real it is, how far it goes -- we will have to make sure we have a better understanding than we do right now," she said.


    What concessions has Myanmar's government made?

    One of the first came with the election last year of Thein Sein -- a formal general -- as the country's president, albeit in a vote called by the country's military rulers and at the time slammed by Obama as a "sham" election.

    Days after the vote, the new government released long-time political prisoner, Aung San Suu Kyi whose party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), recently announced its intention to contest upcoming parliamentary elections.

    Since her release, Suu Kyi has hit the road to spread her message of political reform, something that would have been unheard of a little over a year ago.

    The Nobel Peace Laureate has said she "deeply believes" President Sein wants change in the country.

    One of the president's political advisers, Nay Zin Latt, recently told the Wall Street Journal that the country's reform process was "not (in) the initial stage. It would be in the middle of the democratization process."

    Last month, dozens of other political prisoners were released and there are promises that more will follow, this is viewed as a huge step forward for a country that previously denied it imprisoned people for their political views.

    There have been calls for greater press freedom from the head of state censorship, and Human Rights Watch reports that the government has passed reforms protecting basic human rights. However, the group has also noted that the government retains tight control over the country.


    What is the reaction to Clinton's visit inside Myanmar?

    "A lot of people inside Burma are very excited," says Aung Zaw, the editor of Irrawaddy Magazine, adding "I think it's a huge, major development."

    Irrawaddy Magazine was founded in 1993 by a group of Burmese journalists living in exile in Thailand, who say they aspire to report news from Myanmar without political interference.

    Aung Zaw says Clinton's arrival is a victory for Myanmar's new government which yearns for international approval, despite international criticism that it was elected by a vote that was neither free, nor fair.

    "They are craving for international legitimacy and recognition and this visit will boost the government's ongoing reform process and legitimacy, no doubt about it," he says.


    How has China, Myanmar's long-time ally, reacted?

    In the days leading up to Clinton's visit, China sent its own envoy to Myanmar in the form of Vice President Xi Jinping, who is also vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.

    Xi emphasized the close relationship between China and Myanmar, and the country's commitment to deepening their ties. "China will work with Myanmar to further bolster the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation," he was quoted as saying by Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua.

    Myanmar shares a border with China, which became an important source of trade and investment for the country during its years of isolation from the West.

    Aung Zaw says Myanmar will need to engage in "delicate and sophisticated" diplomacy to retain its close ties with China while improving its relationship with the U.S.


    After years of isolation, why change now?

    "There's a realization from the government as well as the opposition that it has to change: 'We can't keep going on like this'" Aung Zaw says. "So I think also there's their own self interest, geo-political strategy concerns and a combination of pressure from inside and outside."

    He says it's in Myanmar's interests to nurture a relationship with the U.S. to balance its close ties with China.

    "Burma will have to maintain a good relationship with China but also it has to find a major power to counter-balance China and its growing clout. I think this is how Burma wants to play a balancing game," he says.


    What does the U.S. stand to gain?

    In a recent article for Foreign Policy magazine, Hillary Clinton wrote of the importance of the Asia-Pacific as a future focus for U.S. diplomatic relations.

    "At a time when the region is building a more mature security and economic architecture to promote stability and prosperity, U.S. commitment there is essential," she wrote.

    Obama has said the the U.S. remains "concerned about Burma's closed political system, its treatment of minorities and holding of political prisoners and its relationship with North Korea. But we want to seize what could be a historic opportunity for progress."

    The secretary-general of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Surin Pitsuwan, has said the benefits of bringing Myanmar in from its political isolation extend far beyond the U.S.

    "It's the beginning of a new chapter of the region because the integration of Myanmar into ASEAN more effectively and Myanmar into the international community will be a benefit for everyone," he said earlier this month, as Asian nations endorsed Myanmar for the chairmanship of its regional grouping in 2014.


    Is Myanmar really headed towards democracy?

    Outside observers have expressed skepticism as to whether Myanmar's leaders are truly committed to providing greater freedom for its long-suffering people.

    Human Rights Watch says the country continues to hold hundreds of political prisoners, and it has not repealed repressive laws on free speech and assembly.

    "With this backdrop, it is too early to know whether the government's change of tone and talk of reform is cynical window-dressing or evidence that significant change will come to the country," the group wrote in a briefing paper.

    "It's been hit and miss," Aung Zaw says. "I'm not fully convinced that Burma is heading toward concrete reform."

    "The reform is encouraging - we should encourage it -- but I also think that some people have a doubt (and think) that the government is making small token gestures to gain international legitimacy. If that is the case it would be very disappointing for a lot of people."


    What can Clinton achieve in Myanmar? - CNN.com
     
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  3. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    And Chinese in this forum are saying that US is now a passe in Asia? Who is the passe now? Last time I heard Myanmar is right at China's border... Why is everybody leaving China? :pound:
     
  4. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    leaving China? What abt this ?
    Whoever in power, would hv to face the inescapable theme of economic revival. But who'll be the main source of FDI, from ailing EU or American economy?
     
  5. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    You better ask the Maynmari government. Why embrace the US when China is the "main source of FDI"? Res ipsa loquitor. :pound:
     
  6. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    that sounds asking a girl not to see other boys while dating with u :rofl:
     
  7. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Oh China is a permissive boy friend... how sweet. I don't see it that way though. It's either one of these: (1) Myanmar does not see China as an all-dominant power long term, hence, the need to hedge strategic considerations with the US, or (2) Myanmar Generals has come to the realisation that China simply cannot protect them from crimes against Humanity violations indictments or similar actions when Myanmar becomes a democracy (which is inevitable), hence, the need to mitigate this danger with a closer relations with the US. Either way the pictures do not augur well for China.

    This very public Myanmari turn around (even if nothing really concrete turns out from it) for me is the biggest slap in the face so far for China (I can sense more are coming). :scared1::laugh:
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  8. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    The myanmar junta is fundamentally incompatible with the west particularly with a lady named Ann San Suyi? in the house. For Myanmar to really tilt towards the US a regime change needs to take place. That won't be easy as we have seen from Libya to Syria, the will of the incumbent to hang onto power is tremendous. It's about their fundamental survival, something they won't give up easily. Myanmar is trying to strike a balance betwen China and the west and also India. But in the end, the junta needs China to survive.
     
  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The interesting part of the world is that when it is critical, funds and other 'assistance' somehow just seem to appear!

    Maybe the principle of Rob Peter to Pay Paul seems to be at work in such times.
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The elections are in the offing.

    Regime change through the ballot is guaranteed.

    She won a landslide the last time.

    Now she is a greater heroine!
     
  11. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Another Chinese late on the news. The Junta already is in the midst of voluntary losening up on its abdolute political grip. I didn't recall China pushed for this reforms. I can recall though China claiming that Myanmar is entitled to define its domestic affairs (meaning the Junta can do whatever it wants and China will protect it). The US on the other hand was demanding for agrressively for it. If China is such a secure superposer host why is there a need of the Junta to warm up with the West and go to the extent of losening up its grip on power? Obviously, China is not the gleaming unshakable Asian superpower that it is advertising itself to be. Even its long time client state Myanmar is not so sure about this. :pound:
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  12. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    There is no way she can win. If you push the junta too far, you will be put under house arrest again. Junta freed her not because they were ready to give up power, rather it's an oliver branch they tried to extend to the west.
     
  13. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Every nation acts in its own interest to develop multi dimensional foreign relations. And so far no relation is exclusive. Mind u even our mountain high ocean deep friend Pakistan has been milking the US at the same time for decades without jeopardizing our all weather partnership :thumb:

    And spare me from your democratic preaches. Among 3rd world Asian countries isn't Philippines a good pupil? Democracy? u know more than I do abt Philippines - a few families dominating politics, Marcos, Aroyo, Aquino, corruption, no land reform... Once PH had the highest GDP per capita in Asia. Now purely an origin of maids in Hong Kong and Gulf.

    And Malaysia - democracy? the ruling party BN (UMNO/MCA/MIC) has never failed a single election in 54 years after independence. :rofl:
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
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  14. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    In any election, Aung San Suu Kyi will win hands down.

    Logic indicates that if the junta freed her to extend an olive branch to the US, to only lock her again when the elections are over!

    As I see it, it sure does not make sense that the junta will lock her up again, then that is hardly worth the trouble!
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    What you say about monopolies some party/ families seem to have garnered for themselves, but nonetheless, they maintain their supremacy through canvassing in public for the votes, and win the right to rule by votes!

    That is democracy!

    In China, it is said that leaders are selected by votes.

    However, they do not canvass in public for selection!
     
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  16. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Junta will win the election. How is technicality.
     
  17. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    Show me a nation which dpesn't fit into the Philipiness category.Is the CCP smelling of roses? In here democracies atleast they face the ballot everyyear and Iam not expecting u to know the complexities the ballot box throws.Where as in China If you are a princeling the whole of China is ones oyster and the horrible thing is the princeling need not try too hard to land in a good place.Isn't your next president a princeling ?.Face the new CCP the revolutionary relics are long gone in CCP.

    By the way Himalaya the Challenges of the ballot are many and facing it is no easy task
     
  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    If they could win elections, how come they did not win the last time when Suu Kyi won by a landslide.

    How was it possible then when the junta had a greater hold of the administration then and no liberalisation, as is being seen now, was there to skew the machinery?!
     
  19. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    The farts in the junta will not stay forever and once a cocept called "elections" enter into the system.The push and pulss they demand will be very great.

    Have you ever taken part in an election school,college president or your ward election?
     
  20. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    The Junta wants to honourably retire with their moolah sir.The arab springs and the domestic rebels are making the junta's rule slippery
     
  21. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    I find a lot of naivety going on here.
     

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