Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Thaw in Naypyidaw

Update : 23 Apr 2013, 06:00 PM

The long winter is over and the much-anticipated detente between the West and South East Asia’s hermit kingdom promises to put a new player on the Asian scene, compromising China’s stranglehold over its erstwhile ward and making a complicated power structure even worse.

But never mind that, there’s money to be made, geostrategic gains to be had, footholds to be secured and hegemonies to be challenged so in the rush to warmly embrace Myanmar, clumsy concerns like human rights violations, ethnic cleansing and military backed communalism are being conveniently overlooked. No pleas, threats or conditions are being issued to Naypyidaw, quite the contrary; they are getting pats on their back and are having their sanctions lifted.

A hasty rapprochement between the West and Myanmar looks not only like sudden, deliberate blindness, but it might also feel, to the authorities in Myanmar at least, like a bit more rope. They might even congratulate themselves for having played their cards well in satisfying a Western obsession with democracy and with Aung San Suu Kyi.

By giving away very little (the 43 democratic seats in Parliament are still outnumbered 15 to 1 by the regime) Thein Sein has gained a lot, and has also managed to throw a flowery blanket over all the stones that get cast in his delicate Glass Palace.

As a lucky bonus, he’s even got Mrs Suu Kyi struggling to walk the fine line between idealism and realism, as she looks – just slightly - like she might not be up to the task of bringing real justice to her deeply xenophobic and multiple-fractured country.  

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