Suu Kyi “cannot stop her calls for sanctions”

5 Oct

I wrote a paper a couple of days ago and submitted it to an online independent website explaining how the fuel hikes are in fact neoliberal efforts from a military regime intent on attracting foreign investments.

True to form, and as I have predicted, just days after the protests are quelled, the regime has hastily asked Aung San Suu Kyi to stop her calls for international sanctions.

Though Suu Kyi faces a very dire dilemma, she cannot not fall into the “trap” set up by the regime. Supporters of Burmese and Burmese democracy should also take note as I explain why she cannot agree to these conditions in the posting.

If she agrees to it, it means she will be able to negotiate with the military. However, without much bargaining power on her end, her ability and chance to wrestle a deal which will benefit the people and continue on the process to democratisation is extremely low.

It is likely that if she agrees, the junta might hold a farcial process or “roadmap to democracy” which will either take ages to implement or make a mockery of the democratisation process. There is a slight chance they may even allow an election in the near future or let her resume her prime minister position, but only in name.

The downside is that her powers as Prime Minister will be strongly curtailed. Decisions affecting the economy will fall onto the hands of the junta or its cronies. The Generals may insist they place their own economic advisers in the newly formed government. The junta understands that what they really desire is economic power in this country and if international opinion is to advocate sanctions because Suu Kyi said so, they cannot have legitimate access to these foreign investments.

I also wrote in my paper, based on research, that prior to the fuel hike, that the junta has met up with the IMF who might have possibly influenced their decision to end the fuel subsidies.

It is likely that the IMF or the Chicago school economic advisers might be roped in to consult and aid in the flailing “economic situation” in Burma. This is highly possible since the institution stopped all its projects in the country since the late 80s and poverty has reached an alarming level in Burma. The junta understands it needs these aid packages to get back into the international arena respectfully.

Considering that the institution is notorious for its “economic shock policies” and keeping the third world or Global South in debt, it is highly likely that the Burmese would have no choice but to embrace these reform packages.

Ultimately, the ordinary Burmese would bear the wrong end of the brunt as multinational corporations gain legitimacy to operate in the country.

This is what might happen if Suu Kyi stops the call for international sanctions.

If she does not agree to this condition, the world might forget about the Burmese in due time. The people will continue to suffer under the regime who has access to military weapons and investments from the neighbouring regimes such as China and India. Foreign corporations would still operate in the regime though perhaps secretly or under constant condemnation from various human rights groups. However, that is something which the regime has learned to live for the last 20 years. It is unlikely to matter much to them.

Suu Kyi does not have much room to manoeuvre but activists concerned about Burma does.

Again, the UN has a vital role to play in this deadlock though one should not hold their breath.

It needs to strongly condemn the Generals for placing such restrictions; and that any form of meetings between the junta and the pro-democracy activists and Suu Kyi cannot come with such ridiculous pre-conditions.

Hopefully UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, and ASEAN would reflect those sentiments. The chances of that happening though is extremely slim.

Instead, ASEAN might jump on the chance and urge Suu Kyi to accept those conditions. The security and trading bloc itself, is likely to welcome this condition as it is eyeing on Burma’s natural resources for exploitation. Moreover, it needs the country, of which it is a member of, to be on the process of “national reconciliation” to help the body regain its international respectability.

At the United Nations in New York, China and Russia argued that the issue should stay out of the UN Security Council. U.N. Ambassador Wang Gunagya said, “No international imposed solution can help the situation.” It is obvious China wants trade restored with the regime but with a cloak of respectability. This need for “respectability” is running on a tight timeline as the country is holding the Olympics next year and there are already calls from activists around the world to boycott the event.

The junta has also demanded Suu Kyi to urge ordinary Burmese not to “confront the military regime”. This is unlawful considering the right to peaceful protest is a protected human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To sum up, the world cannot give up on Burma at this crucial moment. Any forms of negotiation cannot be held under secrecy or such ridiculous pre- existing conditions.

International pressure must continue to be directed towards the Burmese regime and its supporters – China, India, and remaining foreign corporations operating in Burma.


One Response to “Suu Kyi “cannot stop her calls for sanctions””

  1. lily October 5, 2007 at 8:05 pm #

    ”we love daw aung su kyi’ free burma. free monks, free peoples.

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