USA should wholeheartedly help Myanmar’s Democratization process

Is the better the enemy of the good?
Is the best the enemy of the good?
Is the perfect the enemy of the good?
Is Guided DEMOCRACY the enemy of the Full democracy?
Is improved Governance the enemy of the Good Governance?
I am referring to the dawn of US-Myanmar relations….

Communist China had successfully objected the US sponsored Rangoon-Mandalay project. They had given excuse as US aircrafts could use the designated sections of the highway as runways for landing. Even before they could not persuade to stop that project, they indicated that they would be willing to donate lamp posts and decorating trees to plant on the road dividers.

Now the Chinese got the Gas and petrol pipelines, constructing 5 highways and 5 high speed bullet train railways. They already got 2 islands in the Indian Ocean and lobbying for the use of the Irrawaddy water-ways.

If there is a conflict between China and US or India in the future, say few decades later, Burma/Myanmar would be the strategic point for USA.

Actually, few years ago, I have met with few diplomats including the Chinese Military Attaché’ at Myanmar Embassy function. Since then, I learnt that if something untoward happened, Malacca Straits would be useless as all the related countries there are very closed to USA. (Read USA, indirectly telling that there could be problems with USA) And if China could build all the bullet train railways, use Irrawaddy, oil and gas pipes and Myanmar Islands….!!!

And for Myanmar, we got all the loans, grants, projects and of course massive Chinese Influx up to Mandalay as a Chinese commercial and further diplomatic penetration. We could not expect much from them. We need to exploit from USA’s willingness to help. We could remain friend of China but it is time to embrace USA, EU, Australia, Japan, South Korea, ASEAN and India. In order to do that Myanmar Government need to work with Daw Aung san Suu Kyi led NLD, Ethnic Minorities and Democratization, Good Governance, Respect Human Rights, fight corruption and open up the economy.

In Burma’s case, hard-line consistency of “principle” has an extra twist _ giving China a free pass in Southeast Asia’s most important “straddle” state. Burma sits at the Sino-Indian crossroads and how this resource-rich country tilts in future is going to matter a lot to American and Asian interests.

Of course, these positive trends could come off the rails. But what would we prefer? Wait for a perfect world? Remaining impervious to an obvious altered reality guarantees that America will miss an opening which, if closed again, could seal Burma’s semi-status as a Chinese colony, consign to marginality another generation of young Burmese.

Looking forward to the dawn of a closer cooperation between Myanmar and USA…

President Obama’s Pacific swing has been dedicated towards ramping up the US presence in the Pacific Ocean, at least partly to contain China. (One Bama Professor told me, last wk, in the FB, that I was wrong in revealing this idea. I had used that exact words: to contain China )

Wall Photos

      • ‎1. US        President Barack Obama announced in Bali today that he will send        Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Burma next month—
        • for the first visit to the country by a US secretary of state
        • since military rule was first imposed nearly …50 years ago.
        The full text of his statement appears below.
        2. Throughout my administration—and throughout this trip—
        • I’ve underscored America’s commitment to the Asia Pacific region, but        also
        • I’ve underscored America’s commitment to the future of human rights in        the region.
        • Today I’m announcing an important step forward in our efforts to move        forward on both these fronts.
        3. For decades, Americans have been deeply concerned about
        • the denial of basic human rights for the Burmese people.
        • The persecution of democratic reformers,
        • the brutality shown towards ethnic minorities,
        • and the concentration of power in the hands of a few military leaders
        4. has challenged our conscience, and isolated Burma from the United        States and much of the world.
        5. However, we have always had a profound respect for the people of        Burma,
        • and the promise of their country—
        • a country with a rich history,
        • at the crossroads of East and West;
        • a people with a quiet dignity and extraordinary potential.
        6. For many years, both the promise and the persecution of the Burmese        people has been symbolized by Aung San Suu Kyi.
        • As the daughter of Burma’s founding father,
        • and a fierce advocate for her fellow citizens,
        • she’s endured prison and house arrest,
        just as so many Burmese have endured repression.
        7. Yet after years of darkness, we’ve seen flickers of progress in these        last several weeks.
        • President Thein Sein and the Burmese Parliament have taken important        steps on the path toward reform.
        • A dialogue between the government and Aung San Suu Kyi has begun.
        • The government has released some political prisoners.
        • Media restrictions have been relaxed.
        • And legislation has been approved that could open the political        environment.
        So, taken together, these are the most important steps toward reform in        Burma that we’ve seen in years.
        • Of course, there’s far more to be done.
        • We remain 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 an historic opportunity for        progress,
        • and make it clear that if Burma continues to travel down the road of        democratic reform,
        • it can forge a new relationship with the United States of America.
        8. Last night, I spoke to Aung San Suu Kyi, directly,
        • and confirmed that she supports American engagement to move this        process forward.
        • So today, I’ve asked Secretary Hillary Clinton to go to Burma.
        8. She will be the first American Secretary of State to travel to the        country in over half a century,
        • and she will explore whether the United States can empower a positive        transition in Burma
        • and begin a new chapter between our countries.
        9. That possibility will depend upon the Burmese government taking more        concrete action.
        • If Burma fails to move down the path of reform, it will continue to        face sanctions and isolation.
        • But if it seizes this moment, then reconciliation can prevail, and        millions of people may get the chance to live with a greater measure of        freedom, prosperity, and dignity.
        • And that possibility is too important to ignore.
        10. Later today I’ll reinforce these messages in America’s meeting with        Asean—
        11. including with President Thein Shein.
        12. Meanwhile, when she travels to Naypyidaw and Rangoon,
        • Hillary will have the chance to deliver that message
        • to the government,
        • to civil society,
        • and to democratic activists like Aung San Suu Kyi.
        13. Again, there’s more that needs to be done to pursue the future that        the Burmese people deserve—
        • a future of reconciliation and renewal.
        14. But today, we’ve decided to take this step to respond to the        positive developments in Burma and to clearly demonstrate America’s        commitment to the future of
        • an extraordinary country,
        • a courageous people,
        • and universal values.
        Thank you very much.

With Barack Obama sending a US Marine Corps ”Air Ground Task Force” on regular station in Darwin, a line from the movie Crocodile Dundee seems appropriate: ”This is a knife.”

What was gently broken to the Australian public and the regi…on over several days before the American President’s visit as something incremental on what our two militaries do already is turning out to be something with a lot of new punch.
And the much-postponed visit by Obama to retrace childhood journeys and mark an alliance anniversary allowed him to place the marine deployment into an assertive new strategic doctrine in the face of rising Chinese power.

Read the following reference sources:

  1. Call it whatever, but US must make its move now @
  2. Obama’s Pacific punch…@
  3. 3.       Full Statement by President Obama on Burma
  4. 4.       Secretary Clinton Acknowledges that China Questions US Motives in the Pacific @
  6. 6.       Voltaire – Wikiquote @
  7. A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of THE JOHN F. KENNEDY. NATIONAL SECURITY FILES, .1961–1963, ASIA AND THE PACIFIC. FIRST SUPPLEMENT. A UPA Collection. fromBurma (½ reel)

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2 Responses to “USA should wholeheartedly help Myanmar’s Democratization process”

  1. drkokogyi Says:

    Emboldened by Obama, Myanmar maps out reforms
    Source: Reuters
    1. Myanmar’s government
    a. vowed on Saturday to address concerns raised by President Barack Obama,
    b. outlining far-reaching plans :
    i. to make peace with ethnic rebels,
    ii. gradually release more political prisoners
    iii. and relax controls on freedom of expression.
    2. But its government also:
    a. expressed caution,
    b. stressing that reforms must be gradual
    c. to ensure a stable transition to democracy
    3. Citing “flickers of progress” since the election, Obama dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the country
    a. for a two-day visit next month
    b. to explore the possibility of new ties
    c. with the resource-rich country
    d. neighboring China.
    4. Ko Ko Hlaing, Chief Political Adviser to President Thein Sein, told Reuters that:
    • Some conservatives, however, want to keep the pace of that progress slow
    • and a very small minority want no change at all,.
    a. “We don’t know all about the democratic systems
    b. but we are trying our best to make an effective transition to democracy,” Ko Ko Hlaing, Chief Political Adviser to President Thein Sein, told Reuters
    c. “We have to change mindsets and the attitude of all society.
    d. It is very difficult to change a mindset,”
    e. But the government, would address concerns raised on Friday by Obama,
    i. who praised Myanmar’s recent reforms
    ii. but said more needed to be done on long-standing issues of
    1. human rights,
    2. treatment of ethnic minorities
    3. and the continued detention of political prisoners.
    f. He said more political prisoners would be released
    i. but the government first wanted to assess
    ii. whether the 230 activists freed in an October 12 amnesty were integrating into society and national politics smoothly.
    iii. “We would like to see that everything is running well
    iv. and that they are taking a role in our politics.
    g. If it is OK, there will be a more immediate release of the next batch.
    5. Many released prisoners have said
    a. they planned to rejoin the pro-democracy movement led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi
    b. and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party,
    c. whose landslide electoral victory in 1990 was voided by a military intent on maintaining power.
    6. The NLD re-registered on Friday to contest upcoming by-elections that will be a test of stability.
    a. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), a group that tracks prisoners, identified some 1,245 “political prisoners.”
    b. The party led by Suu Kyi, herself released from house arrest last year, says about 400 activists remain behind bars.
    c. “I can’t say exactly the time but there is no concrete reason to delay the release of the political prisoners,” said Ko Ko Hlaing,
    i. noting that Arab pro-democracy uprisings made Myanmar cautious in moving too fast in releasing all prisoners.
    ii. “As you can see in the Arab states and also in Syria, there is some turmoil. Even in Egypt.
    iii. There were mobs. So what our leaders would like to see is a stable and smooth transition to democracy,” he said.
    iv. “Some prisoners committed terrorist acts. We are worried about this, that they may shake the boat.”
    7. Diplomats say:
    a. the government may especially fear former military officers arrested in 2004
    b. when former military intelligence chief and prime minister Khin Nyunt was accused of corruption and purged, but Ko Ko Hlaing dismissed this concern.
    c. “He will be equally treated as other prisoners,” he said.
    8. Ko Ko Hlaing also outlined:
    a. plans to reconcile with minority groups,
    b. including ethnic Kachin separatists who fought government troops this year after the collapse of talks aimed at ending a conflict that dates to the early 1960s along the border with China, an area rich in jade and timber.
    i. “The peace process with the Kachin group is very slow currently.
    ii. But we are trying to break the stalemate and we are trying to find other ways to make advances in the peace process,”
    iii. the government was reaching out to ethnic Kachin elders but did not want international mediation.
    iv. The group agreed to a ceasefire in 1994 but that fell through last year when the government tried to force all ethnic minority forces to merge with its military-run Border Guard Force.
    v. Guerrillas of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) refused, fearing a merger would erode their autonomy. The Kachin force numbers at least 10,000 well-armed and experienced fighters.
    c. The government is also at odds with
    i. the Karen National Union (KNU),
    ii. and its armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).
    iii. In late 1994 when a Buddhist faction calling itself the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) staged a mutiny against the Christian-dominated group, breaking away and defecting to the government.
    iv. A faction of DKBA fighters have resisted being forced into the Border Guard Force.
    9. Ko Ko Hlaing said the government aimed to pacify Karens and other ethnic groups
    a. with economic incentives, not violence.
    b. “Peace and development is entwined.
    c. Without peace and security, we cannot make any development projects in those areas.
    d. And unless those areas are developed, the insurgency is prolonged for a long time.
    e. It is a chicken-and-egg scenario and we have to break eggs,” he said.
    f. The government, he said, had made progress with other minority groups.
    g. “We are now negotiating with the Wa group in the southern Shan states and some associated groups, and these negotiations are under progress.”
    10. A new media law is also in the works, he said, after decades in which
    a. every song,
    b. book,
    c. cartoon
    d. and planned piece of art
    required approval by censors
    1. rooting out political messages
    2. and criticisms of Myanmar’s authoritarian system.
    11. “Our new media law will reflect guaranteed freedom of expression, so no censorship.
    a. But there will be some monitoring systems,”
    b. “The censorship will only be cultural and religious.
    c. Other than that they can express opinions freely.”
    12. In September, Myanmar lifted bans on prominent news websites,
    a. including some run by government critics,
    b. and unblocked online video portal YouTube.
    c. Some sites were blocked at the peak of an army crackdown on monk-led protests in 2007.
    d. In August, state-run newspapers dropped back-page banners attacking the West.
    • “There are some people who don’t want to make reforms.
    • But almost all of the people accept that changes are needed,” he said.
    • “Conservative people would like to see a gradual and cautious change,
    • and some reform-minded people would like to have rapid changes.
    • But there are very few people who would like to see no change,” he added.
    • “The train is leaving.” Source:

  2. stanleykyaw Says:

    Time to give up on old thinking and old ways of doing things.. Being a mature person is stop doing things in own way, and start following others 🙂 It is not about US or China or Burma or Democracy or etc. It is about the people who are living there. It is about lives.

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