Dump the Aid, Take Your Rhetoric Elsewhere

14 May

I recall .

When Kundu was first mentioned in season 2, it is led by President Nimbala. In January 2003 of the series’ timeline ("Inauguration, Part I"), the Arkutu-run government of President Nzele (described as a "sadistic madman") begins an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Induye in Bitanga, killing 200 people. The violence soon spreads outside Bitanga and into the countryside. In President Josiah Bartlet‘s second inaugural address ("Inauguration Over There"), he announces the new Bartlet Doctrine for the use of force: America shall intervene whenever there are humanitarian interests at stake. With that new doctrine, Bartlet sends a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division, and a Marine expeditionary unit, a force of 11,000 troops in total, to Kundu ("The California 47th"). As of the episode "Twenty Five," US forces are still operating in Kundu.

So, before you

If we fail to persuade the junta to relent soon—despite what I hope are assurances that Oxfam, Médecins Sans Frontières, and the American military will bring only food, not regime change, much as we all might like to see it—then we have to start considering alternatives. According to some accounts, the U.S. military is already looking at a range of options, including helicopter food deliveries from offshore ships, or convoys from across the Thai border. The U.S. government should be looking at wider diplomatic options, too. The U.N. Security Council has already refused to take greater responsibility for Burma—China won’t allow the sovereignty of its protectorate to be threatened, even at the price of hundreds of thousands of lives—but there is no need to act alone. In fact, it would be a grave error to do so, since anything resembling a foreign "invasion" might provoke military resistance.

Unfortunately, the phrase "coalition of the willing" is tainted forever—once again proving that the damage done by the Iraq war goes far beyond the Iraqi borders—but a coalition of the willing is exactly what we need. The French—whose foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, was himself a co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières—are already talking about finding alternative ways of delivering aid. Others in Europe and Asia might join in, along with some aid organizations. The Chinese should be embarrassed into contributing, asked again and again to help. This is their satrapy, after all, not ours.

Think of it as the true test of the Western humanitarian impulse: The international effort that went into coordinating the tsunami relief effort in late 2004 has to be repeated, but in much harsher, trickier, uglier political circumstances. Yes, we should help the Burmese, even against the will of their irrational leaders. Yes, we should think hard about the right way to do it. And, yes, there isn’t much time to ruminate about any of this.

…or, Ivo Daalder’s and Paul Stares’

The United States and Britain should join with the French government and introduce a resolution in the UN Security Council demanding that the Burmese government accept the offers of international relief supplies and personnel, let them to enter the country immediately and without interference, and allow the UN to take charge of the humanitarian mission. To make the case, Washington should show detailed imagery of the suffering and the extent of devastation in Burma (as it did so effectively in the cases of Bosnia and Darfur to shock a disbelieving United Nations).

The resolution should hold open the possibility of additional measures – including air drops of relief supplies – if the government did not comply at once. And the Security Council could commit to return to the matter in 24 hours, assess Burma’s response, and consider additional actions.

…read the Burmese.

I wonder if TIME’s editors think while the US military is busy invading Burma whether or not they should just go roll in and invade Tibet as well?  The TIME editor makes it sound like it would all just be so easy if the US military will just show up and the Burmese military will just give up and everyone will be singing kumbayah.  Where have I heard this scenario before?  You have to be really disconnected from reality to think launching a third war, in jungle terrain, with poor infrastructure, against a Chinese ally is really a good idea.

And, also, as China Hand points, the SPDC’s clumsy propaganda efforts aside, to Yangon’s demands to dump the aid and keep the advisors.

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