Aung San Suu Kyi’s Superficial Win

via Guardian

Aung San Suu Kyi’s parliamentary win is a red flag, not a victory. Without any notice South East Asia’s most isolated country Burma decided to undergo massive democratic reforms. Many countries are eagerly offering ways to assist Burma in reengaging with the world, instead of viewing their eerily enthusiastic restructuring as a warning.

There are two explicit reasons why the U.S. has interests in to reengaging with Burma after decades of strict opposition. Most pressingly, there are concerns over Burma’s production of nuclear technology. On June 30, 2010 Democratic Voice of Burma, a satellite TV station based in Oslo, Norway,  released a substantial report detailing General Than Shwe’s plans to build underground tunnels and a compound for military generals. The report included extensive anecdotal evidence from an ex-military member that suggests that Burma’s plans to develop nuclear technology are real and immediate. There has been little mention of these developments in mainstream media and public discourse is limited, especially during Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s historic diplomatic visit to Burma in December 2011.


Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions from DVBTV English on Vimeo

Another explanation for our eagerness is that U.S. entrepreneurs are eager to establish industrial growth and development in Burma now that the masked military government has strategically given the green light. Sanctions must be lifted before foreign investment opportunities can become available. In order to ease sanctions the U.S. must decide that Burma has taken appropriate steps toward democracy. But foreign invest can and will worsen the situation in Burma if the country is not genuinely free. Currently only 1% of the nominally civilian government budget is devoted to education and health. Government transparency remains to be an issue, mysterious off shore accounts hold the military’s massive “emergency military” funds and the exchange rate is constantly in flux.  The decision to give Burma’s nominally civilian government the benefit of the doubt is an unenlightened one.

Aung San Suu Kyi highly anticipated win on April 1, 2012 was necessary in order to appear democratic. Although her party the National League for Democracy won by an overwhelming vote there are clear holes in the credibility of the election. Deceased citizens were counted while sections of ethnic villages were completely shut out from voting. It will not be until 2015 when Burma holds general elections that world will know if Burma is serious about democracy. These by-elections should not be taken at face value. The pressure is still.

There are no comments

Add yours