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Myanmar

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[The Asia Times Online yearender, which appeared on Dec. 22, 2012. It can be reposted if ATOl is credited and a link provided.] The passing year was the People's Republic of China's (PRC) first opportunity to get up close and personal with the United States' pivot back to Asia, the strategic rebalancing that looks a... Read More
The piece reproduced below originally appeared at Asia Times Online on November 12, 2012 under the title Myanmar Fixates on Rohingya Calculation. Its thesis is perhaps better represented by the title of this blog post, Burma Washes Its Hands of the Rohingyas. It can be re-posted if ATOl is credited and a link provided. ATOl... Read More
The Belt of St. Mary Comes to Russia and the Buddha's Tooth Visits Myanmar One thing that’s pretty clear is that religious movements are, for the most part, conservative and have served as bulwarks of authoritarianism (and a shield against challenges to the wealth and power of the privileged) at least since the days of... Read More
Kim Jung Il has been very good to me. I have an article up on North Korea at Asia Times under the pen name Peter Lee, titled A convenient North Korean distraction. Kim Jung Il has also been very good to the United States and Japan, providing a conventional security threat that plays to America’s... Read More
Remember Burma? Or Myanmar? You know, the country that some people wanted us to invade after that big storm, Cyclone Nargis, in May 2008 because the junta wasn’t admitting international aid the way they thought it should be done? And China Matters attracted vituperative comments and cancelled subscriptions because I stated that: the Burmese freedom... Read More
One doesn’t have to be a paranoid Tatmadaw (Burmese army) jefe to believe that the United States, France, and the UK and the international NGOs would be perfectly happy to see the Myanmar government’s prestige and authority swept away as collateral damage as foreign personnel, money, and attitudes flood into the Irrawaddy delta after Cyclone... Read More
Covering Secretary Gates’ Statements on Myanmar
I was rather surprised to read that US SecDef Robert Gates had publicly blamed the Myanmar junta for causing the deaths of tens of thousands. His speech at the Asia Security Conference in Singapore was extensively covered, and produced dozens of headlines such as: Myanmar’s Delay on Aid Cost tens of thousands of lives: Gates;... Read More
To understand what’s going on now, and what the Myanmar government is doing, one needs only to understand three numbers: 5% 15% 30 The five percent of Myanmar’s population affected by cyclone Nargis accounts for roughly 15% of the rice produced in the country. For that 15% to get harvested, all the seed has to... Read More
To respond to considerable and thoughtful reader criticism and comments addressed to my Myanmar posts, I’d like to organize and expand my views on what’s happening in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. What the Myanmar regime is doing: Disaster relief on a brutal triage basis Exerting iron control over the delta to make sure it... Read More
There has been a lot of “Myanmar is refusing aid” reporting which, I think, has been a distraction that has obscured the heroic efforts and contributions on the ground from local disaster relief personnel and in-country NGOs. Now that Myanmar has agreed to permit entry to “all aid workers”, hopefully the full story of disaster... Read More
The Dangers of Playing Politics with Disaster Relief
In the matter of Myanmar, you can have humanitarian aid or you can have politics...but you can’t have both. I’ve taken a certain amount of heat for questioning the blanket condemnation of the Myanmar regime’s disaster relief measures in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. Some of the dissatisfaction has to do with my unwillingness to... Read More
China Hand looks at the math of the Myanmar cyclone and doesn’t give France a passing grade. Also examined is the as-yet unreported but vital $2 billion question: getting the monsoon rice planting in the ground in the next five weeks. The Myanmar government is thinking about it, but is the West paying attention? Thanks... Read More
Aaah...from China Matters’ lips to Gordon Brown’s ear. I wrote a couple days ago how I expected the Myanmar story to evolve: Today, UK Prime Minister Brown unburdens himself to the Beeb, as reported by the Guardian: Emphasis added. I particularly enjoyed the line “failing to...allow the international community to do what it wants to... Read More
From the Annals of Burma Relief
Remember the Mistral? That’s the French naval ship that Bernard Kouchner announced would deliver aid to Burma whether the Burmese junta liked it..or not! The Mistral was supposed to arrive in Burmese waters the middle of this week on its unilateral mission of mercy. But it’s not there. What happened? This unintentionally hilarious English-language video... Read More
From Bad...to Bad?
[Correction: A sharp-eyed and helpful reader has pointed out that the excerpt from the Christian Science Monitor quoted below refers to aid teams from two separate Taiwanese organizations, not just Tzu Chi, as I erroneously stated. The group referenced in the first paragraph of the quote is Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society. In a separate... Read More
The drumbeat of demands that international aid workers get visas to enter Myanmar continues. But some of the rationales seem a little shaky : From some personal experience a while back, I recall the leading weapon in disaster relief water purification is still good, old-fashioned chlorine a.k.a. household bleach, applied to tainted water in large... Read More
...in the wake of Cyclone Nargis
News reports on the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis reported on a “huge concession” in the matter of a U.S. C-130 loaded with 17 tons of aid that landed at Yongyon International Airport in Myanmar. Casual observers will be forgiven for believing that the “huge concession” was the Myanmar regime giving permission for the plane to... Read More
To Seek Geopolitical Advantage from Myanmar’s Crisis
For the impassioned interventionist, Myanmar has it all: a corrupt and despotic junta, a gallant pro-democracy princess, and brave, battling monks. Now it’s got a colossal humanitarian crisis that throws the failures and flaws of the detested regime into sharp relief. One thing it doesn’t have: a government so callous and shortsighted it will refuse... Read More
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