Reinforcing Delusions

16 May

Bathroom 02Robert Farley says it more succinctly, but invading Myanmar to help it "…." Mark Leon Goldberg concurs, calling intervention "…." The comments section on the first blog is excellent, too, and I won’t waste time pasting my comments on both here.

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There’s no excuse for the behavior of Burma’s leaders, but history offers an explanation that goes beyond sheer autocratic barbarism. As friendly as the Burmese can be to Western tourists, they have reason to be suspicious about their neighbors and outside powers — they have been sandwiched between empires in India and China; subjugated and exploited by Great Britain; devastated by Japan (and the Allies) during World War II; and vulnerable in the second half of the 20th century to meddling by Thailand, rogue Chinese nationalists, and other factions and interests. Hand in hand with that xenophobia goes a fierce pride: For much of their history they’ve been not just survivors, but builders of a Burmese empire that, at its zenith in the mid-11th century, controlled a large chunk of mainland Southeast Asia.

Finally, I don’t know what to make of Robert D, Kaplan’s NYT op-ed. After plugging intervention, he .

It seems like a simple moral decision: help the survivors of the cyclone. But liberating Iraq from an Arab Stalin also seemed simple and moral. (And it might have been, had we planned for the aftermath.) Sending in marines and sailors is the easy part; but make no mistake, the very act of our invasion could land us with the responsibility for fixing Burma afterward.

I didn’t think we (is that the imperial pronoun?) were trying to fix Myanmar, just help it. Are we so deluded that we believe we can just use force with a smile?

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