Whoops, diplomacy really is mo’ better than war by mattsteinglass
May 19, 2008, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Burma | Tags:

Now that Andrew Sullivan has linked to my post on how it might have kind of been good if it were ’98 and humanitarian intervention in some form were still on the table in Burma, things in the actual world have taken place which tempt me to take it all back. Burma has announced it’s going to accept foreign relief aid and actual foreign relief personnel, albeit it only, for the moment, from other ASEAN countries. So it looks like the gathering drumbeat of diplomatic pressure and press condemnation over the past 10 days has actually done its job, in a fashion rather similar to the way things worked in the ’90s.

I see no very strong reason why it would be vastly better to have Western aid agencies and personnel involved in Burmese relief efforts, rather than ASEAN ; no doubt ASEAN countries lack some material capacities and expertise, but just how great do we really think MSF or UNHCR are? This seems like a very big first step, and in general if the blueprint for Burmese reform is gradual pressure to accept advice from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, that sounds very promising indeed.

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