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Old 11-09-2012, 07:28 AM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Obama set to visit Burma within a month.

In about a month the President continues the country's diplomatic pivot to eastern Asia by visiting with Burma.

Genuinely outstanding news for human rights activists, as Burma has been one of the most brutal oppressors of human rights and democracy and, honestly, just societal decency for most of our lifetimes.

I actually posted about Burma two years ago:

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There are few stories I follow more diligently than the international spread of democracy. But in this day of increasing technology which gives individuals the power of communicating better, and increasing one's knowledge of what the rest of the world possesses, governments also gain sophistication needed to fend off any assaults from their citizens, for good or bad.

In the case of Iran and especially Burma, bad. These are two countries starving for democracy that simply can't get it because those power won't give it up.

In Iran, you have people that have tried revolting against the government in the most democratic way possible: demonstrations and protests that involve Iranians of every walk of life AND BOTH GENDERS, while doing so without guns and weapons, and getting beaten down every time by the entrenched military government and the thugs they hire to terrorize their neighbors.

Burma is an even more hopeless cause, because the junta there will fire live rounds into crowds, imprison anybody that says the slightest thing against the government FOR DECADES, and they purposefully starve their population while shutting down the internet so they can't reach the outside world.

Both of these countries are international hostage situations, pure and simple. International opinion does not budge them. The options for these countries are seemingly hopeless.
There are a couple different directions you can take with governments this brutal: you can attempt to close off from them and promise not to open up to them until they reform, or you can take the far more successful route of opening up to them, deepening some ties with them to create some strings between you that you can pull at various times to reward pro-democratic reform. For decades the United States has preferred the former approach, but the Obama administration has opened up the latter approach since he took office.

The Obama administation has already sent Bill Richardson (in the very early days) and Hillary Clinton there, and Burma (its junta leaders have attempted to re-name the country Myanmar) has opened up considerably. They're still in the stone age compared to the Western world, but progress has been made that we haven't seen out of the junta, ever.

Applause to the President for sticking his neck out there and taking a dramatic chance at continuing this trend.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingvie...job-half-done/

O-Burma trip rewards reformists for job half done
By Wayne Arnold
November 9, 2012

Barack Obama’s planned trip to Myanmar this month risks rewarding the country’s rulers for a job half-done. The visit would justifiably herald recent reforms and cultivate a key ally as U.S. foreign policy pivots to Asia. But it is sure to antagonize China’s new leaders and could reduce pressure on Myanmar to make the tougher changes it still needs.

Though Obama will be the first serving U.S. president to visit, he may find the red carpet slightly worn. Since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited a year ago, British Prime Minister David Cameron, South Korea President Lee Myung-bak and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have all made the trek.

Still, the trip is fitting of historic change: to end 50 years of isolation, Myanmar has freed Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi along with hundreds of political prisoners, lifted media censorship and held democratic elections.

The country’s economic reforms are equally profound. It ditched a fixed exchange rate in April and has just passed a new investment law tailored to foreign investors. The rules allow 100 percent-owned foreign ventures with no minimum capital in all but a few sensitive industries, according to law firm VDB Loi.

But Myanmar’s toughest reforms lie ahead. It has no independent judiciary; its military is guaranteed a quarter of parliamentary seats and its border areas are torn by ethnic strife. It needs effective land reform to stop property grabs and promote agricultural exports that don’t create Philippine-style rural peonage.

Obama may agree with President Thein Sein that Myanmar’s reform path is irreversible and feel pressure to leapfrog nations like Japan, which have already rushed in. Washington is also clearly eager to add Myanmar to its growing constellation of Asian allies.

But China’s new leaders won’t like such a high-profile visit to a country they view as their back door to Africa and the Gulf. So the U.S. needs to be certain who is in charge. Myanmar’s reforms were undertaken despite Western sanctions – not because of them – in part to escape China’s domination. Though U.S. restrictions remain on the books, Obama has suspended them. Endorsing Myanmar at this stage leaves him with mostly sticks, but few remaining carrots.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:10 PM   #16
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loochy View Post
So is there oil in Burma or something?
Not so much, but America has tried to open up more economic relations with the southeastern Asia penninsula.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:15 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
He'd better do some stretching. Those people are short. It's gonna take a pretty deep bow to show the proper level of subordination.
Yeah, I was going to post that I wonder how much he is going to apologize for our ways and how big of a check he is going to write.
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:59 AM   #18
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:53 PM   #19
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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So cool.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...e-journey.html

Obama to Burma: A “Remarkable Journey”
Posted by Evan Osnos
November 19, 2012

The clearest measure of the symbolic significance of President Obama’s visit to Burma on Monday came not in his surprising speech, or in the sight of him towering over the Nobel laureate and former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. It came from a less likely source: the Chinese Propaganda Department.

In the past year, as Burmese leaders released wave after wave of political prisoners, ended its censorship of the press, and welcomed former dissidents into government, China and its fellow-autocrats, have looked on with bewilderment and no small degree of concern that the infection of openness could spread beyond Burma’s borders. So in an internal notice to national media last week, China’s Orwellian agency, which oversees the world’s largest censorship apparatus, made clear just how it feels about witnessing an American President welcomed by once-hostile generals in Burma, a nation that was, just two years ago, one of China’s most avid partners in authoritarianism: “Downplay Obama’s visit,” the Chinese Propaganda Department ordered.

In becoming the first American President to set foot in Burma—he stayed just six hours, then headed to Cambodia, also a first for a POTUS—Obama was taking a series of symbolic steps. Most broadly, he was signalling his confidence in Burma’s halting, maddening, imperfect but utterly astonishing transformation. During my visits to Burma this year for an article about its tentative changes (“The Burmese Spring”), I tried to answer the question that was on the minds of anyone who cares about authoritarianism: Was this for real? Had one of the world’s most dedicated dictatorships actually decided to give up a measure of its control in return for a seat at the table of international society?

Obama—who began his Administration with a pledge to dictators around the world that the United States “will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist”—has found that Burma decided to take him up on the offer, and now he has decided to hold up his end of the bargain, even if many remain skeptical. He even did the government the favor of using its preferred name for the country, Myanmar, though America still officially calls it Burma. For many, part of the answer is now clear. Nick Kristof wrote today, “I used to argue against Burma sanctions, saying they would hurt the public but not bring change. I was flat wrong.”

But in the months since the Administration embarked on its efforts to encourage Burma’s opening up—notably, by rewarding it for allowing Aung San Suu Kyi to take her seat in Parliament—the path to redemption has proved to be perilous because of sectarian violence, which is hardly less fraught for Burma’s political future than if the reformers had turned out to be frauds. Ethnic violence in Rakhine state has displaced more than a hundred and ten thousand people and killed at least a hundred and sixty, while Burmese security forces have failed to protect minorities. The violence has deepened fears that Burma’s leaders are more interested in trade, investment, and an end to sanctions than they are in ethnic pluralism. Human Rights Watch said that Obama’s trip “risks providing an undeserved seal of approval to the military-dominated government.” On one of my visits to Burma’s embattled ethnic borderlands earlier this year, a farmer in a refugee camp told me that political reform will not bring an end to the bloodshed. “The new government talks about peace, but if it doesn’t give us our rights, then the war will take a long time,” he said. He was right.

In his speech today, Obama hailed Burma’s “remarkable journey” but went on record with his reservations about the threat that ethnic violence poses to the country’s future. “National reconciliation will take time, but for the sake of our common humanity, and for the sake of this country’s future, it is necessary to stop the incitement and to stop violence,” he said.

For all the fears of what lies ahead for Burma, it is impossible not to marvel at the sheer improbability of all that has happened already: that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would be sitting in the open air in Rangoon, in the garden of the home where Aung San Suu Kyi once endured years of house arrest. If the Administration has been aggressive—hasty, some charge—in pushing for signs of progress in Burma, it is perhaps because moments of such stark political change are exceedingly rare, and they are desperate to seize it.

Burma has always carried more symbolic power than its obscure profile suggests. Orwell knew that, and it seems Obama does, too. Burma’s becoming, he said today, “a test of whether a country can transition to a better place.”
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:02 PM   #20
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Pretty strange, beautiful stuff happening in Burma.







The above picture is Obama meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's most beloved reform advocate, recently freed from a decades-long house arrest and now participating in a Burmese Parliament.

She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, and has been the pulse of democratic aspirations in Burma for generations.

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Old 11-20-2012, 06:04 PM   #21
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:09 PM   #22
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:10 PM   #23
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Better give him another Nobel prize.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:14 PM   #24
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:16 PM   #25
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Am I alone in thinking that perhaps Obama should be focusing on our issues right now, and not be halfway around the world doing whatever he's doing in Myanmar?
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:18 PM   #26
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Am I alone in thinking that perhaps Obama should be focusing on our issues right now, and not be halfway around the world doing whatever he's doing in Myanmar?
Strange and beautiful stuff is going on. Obama's almost angelic.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:27 PM   #27
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I really don't understand Direckshun's man crush on Obama.

The guy is LITERALLY one of the worst presidents we've ever had, and it's not even close.

He's ****ing scum. A god damn CIA-banking globalist puppet just like Bush, Clinton, and Romney all are.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:28 PM   #28
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I really don't understand Direckshun's man crush on Obama.

The guy is LITERALLY one of the worst presidents we've ever had, and it's not even close.

He's ****ing scum. A god damn CIA-banking globalist puppet just like Bush, Clinton, and Romney all are.
I give it 12 months until his, "Obama is a Top 5 President Ever" thread.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:32 PM   #29
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:53 PM   #30
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MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Apparently Thinks Obama’s Visit To Burma Is One Of The Greatest Moments In World History. Ever…

http://washingtonexaminer.com/msnbcs...s#.UKw0CLQ4un1


It seems Direck has a soul mate.

Greatest Moments in World History. Really?
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