Burma Cyclone

Opinion/Editorial: The real reason Than Shwe declined U.S. assistance by carpediemdg

As news about the Myanmar cyclone and it’s aftermath recedes into the background (including in the media), an op-ed in the Burmese news magazine, The Irrawaddy, sheds light on why the junta refused assistance from the U.S. military. And I quote,

“What the generals truly fear is that if they allow US warships and foreign forces to come to the aid of cyclone survivors in the Irrawaddy delta, people will soon rise up and the regime would be overthrown. That fear prevented the Than Shwe regime from allowing the US to come in and help.”

As the fate of more than 2 million remains unknown, local Burmese sources such as The Irrawaddy are good to remain tuned in to what’s happening on the ground.

Some of the it’s top stories include:


Opinion/Editorial: Madeleine Albright ponders on “The End of Intervention.” by carpediemdg

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, former U.S. secretary of state, Madelaine K. Albright offered three reasons why the world didn’t intervene more forcefully in Myanmar.

The introductory excerpt to the piece:

“THE Burmese government’s criminally neglectful response to last month’s cyclone, and the world’s response to that response, illustrate three grim realities today: totalitarian governments are alive and well; their neighbors are reluctant to pressure them to change; and the notion of national sovereignty as sacred is gaining ground, helped in no small part by the disastrous results of the American invasion of Iraq. ”

Read the full op-ed here.


Opinion/Editorial: When natural disasters turn state-sponsored: Time Magazine by carpediemdg

This article is about Zimbabwe and Mugabe’s dictatorial ways that are proving all too self-destructive for his own country. It raises an interesting point for humanitarian relief, however, particularly in the wake of the Burma and China disasters, and I quote…

“Zimbabwe is in the midst of a slow-motion, man-made disaster. It is as if the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in China were state-sponsored tragedies.”

Read the full article here.

— Divya

Opinion/Editorial: To intervene or not to intervene? by carpediemdg

This week’s New York Time’s Magazine carries an article by writer and political analyst, David Rieff, entitled ” Humanitarian Vanities.” The question he poses is a simple one – What does the urge to intervene amount to?

One of his main points seems to be that there is a “law of unintended consequences” operating when a country or set of countries decide to intervene in another on humanitarian grounds. Regime change is never just that – it comes with baggage and unforseen challenges that the intervening country/countries have historically seemed ill equipped to handle. Case in point – Iraq.

Read the full article here.


OPINION/EDITORIAL: British newspaper columnist, Simon Jenkins, proposes “humanitarian intervention” in Burma. by karenzr

In a recent column in the Huffington Post, Simon Jenkins, former editor of “The Times,” asks where the saber-rattlers of the West are “as Burma’s dying cry out to be saved.”


I have opposed many of the macho military interventions conducted by the west over the past decade. Their justifications have been obscure, their motives mixed and their morality situational, especially those aimed at “regime change”. Those in Afghanistan and Iraq had the additional defect of built-in failure.

On the other hand the west did intervene to try to stop humanitarian catastrophes in Bosnia from 1992, Somalia in 1993, Kosovo in 1998 and Sierra Leone in 2000. The failure to intervene in Rwanda in 1994 and more recently in Sudan’s Darfur province was generally attributed not to timidity but to the logistical difficulty of deploying power in the African interior.>>

I disagree with that last sentence, but an interesting discussion nonetheless.

U.S. Campaign for Burma also compared Burma and Rwanda, calling on the U.S., U.K and France to send in aid without the junta’s permission and despite China’s block on a Security Council resolution to authorize such a move.


OPINION/EDITORIAL: Washington Post on the Burmese regime’s logic by karenzr
May 15, 2008, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Opinion/Editorial, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

A number of times over the last few days, people have asked me why the Burmese regime is, essentially, killing its own people, and whether there was any logic or reason behind it. The answer is yes, and Anne Applebaum did a great job of explaining it in the Washington Post.


OPINION/EDITORIAL: OP-ED offers Burmese military junta’s point of view by carpediemdg

In an editorial in TheStar, the online version of Canada’s leading newspaper, The Toronto Star, columnist Thomas Walkom provides a view that for a dictatorship, the Burmese military junta is not acting unreasonably.

In the editorial titled “Burma’s leaders are not irrational,” Walkon cites an example from Saddam’s Iraq to explain the junta’s stance of not taking up offers by the U.S., Canada and France to offer their troops to deliver aid.

“It is not even being unusually paranoid in its suspicion of the UN. The world used to belittle Saddam Hussein’s claim that some UN weapons inspectors sent into Iraq after the first Gulf War worked for the CIA. But, as former American weapons inspector Scott Ritter revealed in his book, Iraq Confidential, Saddam was correct.”

Walkon offers a fresh, alternate perspective on the cyclone response and concludes that factoring in the constraints, foreign governments should keep an eye on the ball i.e. – preventing further casualties and getting aid and relief to the maximum number of people, as fast as possible.

Read the full editorial here.