Saturday, May 17, 2008

Should Burma Be Invaded?

Sunny Hundal is suggesting we start thinking about invading Burma. Having read the BBC article he links to HERE, it is easy to see why. However, military action against a country so close to China would be a big step indeed. Isn't it issues like this which show the United Nations to be such a useless and toothless organisation? Whatever China's failings - and it has many - its response to its own devastating earthquake has been in marked contrast to the lamentable failure of the Burmese regime to help its people.

While an invasion by western countries in unthinkable, a pan Asian force is something which could be considered. Discuss.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Typical of you Tories you want another IRAQ?

Hey said...

Just another in the long list of examples why all aspects of leftism are crimes against humanity. Were it not for the leftists infesting the British Government of the time and the Imperial administration there would have been no decolonization and no mass murder by the generals in Burma. There also would be no mass murder in Zimbabwe, cannibalistic dictator in Uganda, partition day genocide in imperial India, Tamil insurgency in Ceylon, Salafists in Kenya and Sudan...

All of this was caused by the left, the left continues to support and encourage genocide - adoration for all anti-western forces, especially Hamas and Hezbollah. They are vicious creatures that need to be treated as the genocidaires that they are. If you are to the left of Maggie, you are aiding and abetting the Maoist, Salafists, Khmer Rouge, Mugabists, et al and deserve a long drop with a short rope.

TheMadCobbler said...

There’s the possibility we could coax our steadily Westernized ally, India into some sort of response, however the Chinese would also potentially respond. The Chinese have their economic interests in Burma and have always adopted a very “non interventionist” approach. China’s lack of interest towards Human Rights [unless the workforce is under threat of completely dying off as in Africa with it‘s “Grand Bargain” agreements] means that any such “Pan-Asian” force without the Chinese and without their consent is completely laughable. Burma has oil and gas which China wants, and it doesn’t want a regime installed there that isn’t definitely friendly towards it.

So, no, I doubt there is very little we could do about the Burmese regime unless we managed to decapitate the current junta leadership definitively and disrupt the military, rather than invade the country.

Anonymous said...

I think it more a case of helping Burma trust those that will help.

Having seen first hand post Tsunami what the Yanks can achieve free of charge, I think the Burmese are mad to turn down their offers of support.

Having seen first hand post Tsunami what the Western NGO's can achieve I think the Burmese are completely sane to turn down their offers of support.

Let the Yanks in and the Burmese will end up with new roads, water treatment plants, electricity supplies and employment.

Let the NGOs in and the Burmese will end up with complete chaos and unemployment.

verity said...

A pan-Asian force. Really, Iain! The Asians aren't self-righteous busybodies like some countries in the West.

The Burmese will have to sort Burma out as every other nation that has freed itself of a corrupt and vile regime has freed itself. If the Filipinos, unarmed, could oust the Marcoses through sheer weight of people, the Burmese can do it, too. If they haven't done it, it's because they don't feel strongly enough.

I wish Westerners would stop trying to over Asia with Western mores.

Sai Kai Wee said...

Don't care about China. China will not do anything except selling old weapons and out of date weapon technology to Burma killers and China will shout in UN cofference. That's all.

Local Burmese will support. 70% will support.
20% of Killers will against and 10% of Burma conservatives will against.
Majority 70% will be happy.

DC said...

Well UK PLC has 32 Mess Tin Repair Battalion and 44 Horse Saddling Platoon left on the shelf. Everything else is either in Iraq or Afghan, has just has come back from Iraq or Afghan or is just about to go to Iraq or Afghan. (Apart from the reserve which is on a months holiday in Kosovo).

So I guess the question is pretty irrelevant for us. (Until we move to 12 month operational tours that is).

JessTheDog said...

No, there should not be an invasion.

However, there should be a limited intervention with the airdropping of urgently required aid and perhaps the establishment of a beachhead or airhead in the country with medical staff.

There isn't much the Burmese could do about a US carrier air wing with their 40-odd Russian and Chinese interceptors.

Shaun said...

In terms of the culture, China's response can do little but shame the Burmese regiome. Whether that translates as pressure is another thing entirely. Either way this disaster is the end of the regime, either fast if they do the decent thing and let foreigners in to help save their people or slow as if aid doesn't get in then in 15-18 years time there's going to be a wee manpower shortage for their conscript army.

More damningly, contrast the rapid and overwhelming Chinese response with the piss poor reaction of the USA to the catastrophic destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

Anonymous said...

On the one hand you say no invasion and on the other you say (a la US Republicans) that the UN is toothless. Have you thought about the contradictions here.

In any case Dave has already advocated an invasion - flying airplanes into hostile airspace even if it is to deop aid is every bit as much an invasion as sending in the 101st airborne

Darrell G said...

I dont think invasion with 'regime change' as the aim is the right idea at all...regime hasn't worked in Iraq and would definatly not work in Burma and would be like tossing a match on tinder...having said that I am in favour of a UN force being mandated to use whatever means are neccessary to dealiver the aid and save lives.

Air drops are problamatic because they are unlikely to be effective without the bodies on the ground.

verity said...

The Mad Cobbler writes: "There’s the possibility we could coax our steadily Westernized ally, India into some sort of response,".

No, there isn't.

India is not "steadily Westernised". It doesn't want to. What makes you think we're the template for another country and a culture that has survived for 5,000 years?

And to get up on your hind legs imagining that we, loftily knowing better than India, of course, can "coax" them to do what we see as fit (have you ever argued with an Indian lawyer?) is so untethered to reality, it takes the breath away.

Kai Wee "Local Burmese will support." Local Burmese will support what? The status quo? You don't say.

DC - What is wrong with all you people? We cannot just go invading other people's countries. (For God's sake, don't come bustling out of the woodwork shrieking "Iraq".) We absolutely must not even contemplate invading Burma.

Unsworth said...

Iain,

Setting aside all other factors, Invade? What with? We don't have an army available - unless you're thinking of the Salvation Army.

Sister Anna will carry the banner.

Anonymous said...

So you want to be in Iraq, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Burma? Where next, North Korea? You'd better join up, for some strange reason they're a bit short on troops.

An Englishman said...

Stuff Burma, we should be going to do Zimbabwe

(if we were not wasting our energy on Afghanistan and Iraq)

Auntie Flo' said...

Anon 8.05 PM and Verity are right.

Much as I want Burma to be free, an invasion would just result in another insane mess like the one in Iraq. It would produce far more death and suffering than it would ever mitigate.

allan said...

Agreeing with verity...something wrong...need air...

Palmerston said...

We should invade both Burma and Zimbabwe and run them properly for a while until we can identify some decent local chaps who are fit to take over.

Yak40 said...

catastrophic destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina

Shaun, get your facts straight, part of New Orleans, a city, got flooded by Katrina. In contrast, most of Mississippi, an area the size of England, got flattened by Katrina and is quietly rebuilding.
New Orleans ? Squabbling over patronage in awarding of rebuilding contracts, no change there.

Paul Pinfield said...

Inspired post Iain. I don't think a land invasion is on the cards due to China's locality / muscle. However, I think that civil air drops (though a blunt weapon) should have been instigated long ago.

You rightly highlight the marked difference in China and Burma's responses...

Anonymous said...

I don't think we can force our help on countries in these circumstances. We can offer our help, but we can't impose it upon people.

Libral interventionism led to Iraq. When issues in another state affect the interests of Britain, then we should intervene, but unfortunately this does not apply here.

I feel for the Burmese people suffering, but if their government will not accept our help then there is no way we can change this. It's sad, but unfortunately true.

The word verification is getting farcical said...

The government of Burma are leftists, so no chance of leftists from here invading them.

Although an attack by our ill-equipped forces would probably enable the Burmese to kill off quite a few of our "toffs" and "chinless wonders", so perhaps Labour will arrange something withal.

Anonymous said...

Why is it people who have never served think invading places is the answer to issues like this?

Don't seem to do anything to appalling regimes until it's too late. Look at Zimbabwe the UK's only course of action seems to be asking criket players not to turn up.

Adrian Yalland said...

China's response to the earthquake is great to see. But I suspect it is because (a) it wants a more favorable PR spin than Burma got and (b) cos of the Olympics!

I don't think we should invade Burma, but a few 'strategic' airdrops by helicopter wouldn't go amiss.

It shows how pointless the UN is though!

Adrian Yalland said...

Anon@8.19 Brilliant observation - and very true as well.

Ross said...

"More damningly, contrast the rapid and overwhelming Chinese response with the piss poor reaction of the USA to the catastrophic destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina."

Er a couple of hundred dead in hurricane Katrina compared to tens of thousands killed in China, and it's the Chinese example we should follow?

Ed said...

Burma is basically a cult, run by a bunch of generals who will take whatever actions to protect their own feathered nest. They are no better than cult leaders such as Jim Jones for example. Burma however are in the orbit and influence of China. Rather than invading Burma, maximum international pressure should be applied on China for China to effect the necessary change that Burma needs. At the very least the Burmese Generals should be persuaded by China that it is in their own interests to let in the much needed aid waiting just a few miles offshore. They must be convinced that rather than 'losing face' they will gain much respect if they let in aid.

The main reason that China is being so open and transparent in relation to their recent earthquake is the upcoming Olympic games. China must be convinced that them sitting on their hands with respect to Burma will result in severe negative international condemnation against them.

Ed

Ross said...

As for Burma, it is fairly obvious that an invasion isn't on the cards. However I wonder if it would be a good idea to support some of the anti Junta factions, perhaps those in the Karen areas, without directly involving ourselves.

verity said...

Yak 40 - I'm not sure why you harked back to Katrina, but the problem is, the Brits got their news about Katrina from the BBC via Matt Frei, he of the petulant, disapproving face and lip permanently curled in hatred of George Bush.

As you say, New Orleans got the fringe of Katrina. In other words, the hurricane did not put down in Louisiana at all, although it was fierce enough by then to carry heavy rain.

Lake Ponchartrain burst its levvies for one reason: cheap materials and poor quality work on the levées by companies awarded the work by Governor Blanco. All that happened was very heavy flooding, although it was destructive because the levvies burst.

The Brits were led to believe by the BBC that the hurricane put down in Lousiana, and that George Bush, sleeping in air-conditioned splendour in The White House, couldn't be bothered to send in Federal troops.

Yet President Bush called Blanco on three separate occasions asking permission to send in Federal troops. But she twice refused. (What excuse she gave the people of Louisiana, I cannot remember.) Anyway, finally she allowed them in.

I'm not quite sure why Yak40 tied these two issues together, but to re-iterate: No, we should not invade Burma.

Maybe Mr Bush could call the junta and ask for permission to send Western troops in, and if they say "no", end of story.

verity said...

PS Adrian Yelland writes: "It shows how pointless the UN is though!"

Thank God!

No One World Government and no One Worlder, aka Common Cause, agencies with any power.

Dynamite the UN and the BBC on the same day. That should clear the air.

not that nostradamus said...

recalling Iain's recent post on "the worst jobs in politics" I wonder how the Burmese junta's astrologers are going at the moment?

Anonymous said...

Since we can't invade ( no army left ) , do mercenaries do Aid ?

neverstartalandwarinasia said...

the real question is why is the media putting this ridiculous proposition out when there is no political or public support for it? Are they perhaps bored with the conflagration they helped start pushing weak minded politicians on Iraq? Would sell a lot of newspapers I guess.

Anonymous said...

at the very least if the Burmese junta does allow some (say China) relief workers in then the other countries should just give all their aid to them to distribute and stop trying to use this as a pr exercise.

Andy said...

Iain, for once you are right: The UN is a useless, toothless organisation. So the sooner we stop sucking up to the countries who have made it and kept it as such (mostly the US and the other Security Council countries), the sooner we can make the world a better place.

A more robustly internationalist foreign policy position, including signing away our own right to veto things we don't want to happen, naturally follows.

Correct?

Anonymous said...

or just airdrop Verity in to give them a good talking to. Minimum casualties for maximum effect.

verity said...

Anon 2:02 - For a ripose to be funny, it has to contain truth.

"or just airdrop Verity in to give them a good talking to."

Is English your first language?

I have been steady in my opinion that we/the West do not have a role.

Do you have any idea what an irritant stupid people are? It's worse than fire ants.

Younghusband said...

If any regime deserves forcible change from outside, it's Burma. Kind of reminds me of the argument that Hitler could have killed all the Jews in the Greater German Reich and died, like Stalin, of old age, but it takes an invasion and war to do something.
What intrigues me is the fact that US and French ships are left waiting outside its territorial waters. Given Britain's historic responsibilities to this area, what is the Royal Navy doing?

verity said...

Verity,

STFU.

javelin said...

And WHAT exactly is the plan once the country has been invaded?

My history isn't brilliant but I seem to remember alot of asian soldiers doing alot of nasty things to people in asia.

The mistake most people think is to believe that other people are like themselves (it's the most natural way to view the world).

We view the chinese as being like us. Their communism was brutal and their capitalism will be brutal - they do not believe in the Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith) - only their own. We are about to learn that lesson over the rest of our lifetimes.

Anonymous said...

verity said...

"The Brits were led to believe by the BBC that the hurricane put down in Lousiana, and that George Bush, sleeping in air-conditioned splendour in The White House, couldn't be bothered to send in Federal troops.

Yet President Bush called Blanco on three separate occasions asking permission to send in Federal troops."

Very true. I was in Australia when Katrina happened and all this was reported. Then I came home to find the dribbling inadequates of British journalism lying their heads off as usual.

Roger Thornhill said...

Scratch these faux liberals and you see the fascist underneath. Once things turn nasty all these hand-wringers will reach for their knives to stab the army in the back.

Anonymous said...

This is dangerous arrant nonsense.It's a "pipedream" of the liberal left.Nothing more. It will NEVER happen

Who exactly would supply the troops and military assets ? Certainly no-one in the West(i.e. U.S.A); Russia;the rest of Asia or even China itself

So the only route left open to the United Nations is diplomacy.Unpalatable but that is the "realpolitik" of the situation and the sooner we all stop having these delusions of military power being readily available or even possible the better.

Unsworth said...

Never mind all this cringing hand-wringing and the loopy proposals for 'air drops' from those who fail to understand just what is involved, the sheer size of Burma and the extent of devastation, just who is going to do this?

Does Britain have any resource - apart from hard-pressed taxpayers' money, of course? Or are we going to send Milliband over there to sort things out? If we do, may it please be a one-way ticket?

In any event, is intervention really in the interests of Britain? What about other groups, such as ASEAN and SEATO? And, as The Cobbler has mentioned - China has yet to give its permission.

mitch said...

Invade them with what? the scouts,the WI eh? nulab have ensured that the military are overstretched and incapable of doing anything else.

It may well be a good idea but we can`t help and because there is no oil nobody else will either.

Shaun said...

Yak and Verity - re Katrina.

The simple fact is that a large city in the US was devastated by a natural disaster, whether the fringe of it or whatever, and large numbers of people left to die for no particular reason. Yes the levees broke due to (gasp) cheap construction but so have the chinese schools. The difference will be that the contractor may not get any more money in the US but someone is going to get shot in China.

When, belatedly, Bush's 'regime' woke up to the disaster in New Orleans and surrounds, they sent in troops but only to restore order and shoot looters (since the police had largely scarpered). This contrasts unfavourably with the Chinese sending in 50,000 troops at almost no notice, at parachuting in medics and telecomms troops to critically smashed areas. Sorry about that as it must be hard for people to accept that American showed less humanity than China. And THAT, I think, is the point.

JessTheDog said...

This article, by a retired Belgian general, sums up the course of action that should be taken:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/karel-vervoort-air-drops-work-burma-needs-them-now-830225.html

Airdrops now.

Those who claim that there would be a significant miltary risk are wrong. A US aircraft carrier would provide air supremacy against any limited Burmese air threat. The prospect of land operations by the Burmese army are limited, if the roads infrastructure is wrecked. They may be able to get there disperesed, but how would they be supplied? (if anyone mentions "Western air drops" this is a facile objection - you don't field an army on this basis!) And don't bash the Belgians with any Little Englander slurs, I am an ex RAF officer who has worked with NATO US and European forces, and they are generally good professional sailors, soldiers and airmen.

Incidentally, I wrote to my local (Labour) MP, to the PM, and to David Cameron a week ago.

Local Labour MP - no response
PM - no response
David Cameron - response within 6 hours.

I will be emailing the letters pages of the main newspapers thanking David Cameron's team for a quick response, and pointing out the failures of the PM and MP to respond, copied of course to their respective offices.

Man in a Shed said...

1. The Chinese won't stand for it.
2. It will increase the level of paranoia in many other regimes.
3. It the first step to world government, which will by its nature be repressive.
4. We have no military capability to spare. Our transport aircraft and helicopters are all falling appart.

verity said...

The Phony Verity 8:01 a.m. What an interesting, unique and informed comment! And a real talent for coining a phrase!

Javelin writes: "My history isn't brilliant but I seem to remember alot of asian soldiers doing a lot of nasty things to people in Asia." Asia is a vast area of the world with many different races. "Asian" is not a race, no matter how the socialists have tried to mould the definition into a racial one to avoid saying "Pakistani".

Anonymous 8:45 - Thanks.

Shaun writes: "The simple fact is that a large city in the US was devastated by a natural disaster,".

Incorrect, it wasn't a disaster. It was the FRINGE of a hurricane. The disaster was that the deeply corrupt Governor Blanco, descended from a family of deeply corrupt Louisiana politicians (Blanco is her married name), and the deeply corrupt Mayor Nagins, who dithered around in his safe hotel room while the two of them figured out what to do to try to hid the fact that the levées were poorly engineered and built with cheap materials that couldn't have stood up to a moderate storm.

A large American city was not devastated at all. It was mainly the French quarter and surroundings. The suburbs, away from the Lake, were fine.

Nevertheless, all the middle class and rich (of both races) had planned for a disaster by getting the hell out. All that was left was the welfare class who sat around waiting for the government to do something. Mayor Nagins had ordered 300 school buses gassed up and ready to go, then chickened out of actually organising drivers, so they put all the folks who had sat around watching TV and eating junk food while waiting to be rescued in the Dome. This has got to have been the worst city disaster management in the history of the human race.

"The difference (between the US and China) will be that the contractor may not get any more money in the US"... You're joking, of course.

"When, belatedly, Bush's 'regime' woke up to the disaster in New Orleans and surrounds,". There is no such thing as a "Bush regime". It is the "Bush administration". Don't play Sixth Form debating tricks here, thre's a dear boy.

Mr Bush, did not "wake up" to what was happening. He was informed every minute and put in a personal call to the now-panicky Governor Blanco asking for permission to send in Federal troops THREE TIMES. Shaun, you seem to be a little bit limited in your understanding of the structure of the United States.

The President of the United States cannot order Federal troops into a state - read that sentence again - without the permission of the chief executive of that state. The Governor. Blanco twice refused. (God knows what reason she gave.) Only when she finally agreed the troops, who were already massed and ready, rolled into LA.

The Army/The White House had very intelligently, knowing the troops were going to encounter chaos and a not overly-bright populace (the smart ones had all gone) put a seasoned Three-Star General in charge of the ops - the wonderful General Honoré, himself a native of NO and black - and wow, did things move!

I remember the footage of him stopping the whole giant convoy on a freeway overpass on the edge of the city, and he jumped out of his truck and started directing operations over his mobile phone standing on the overpass. It was glorious.

Speaking of looters, Shaun, only a couple of whom got shot, there's CCTV footage of NO police going into devastated stores and TRYING ON merchandise before walking out with it. The police answer directly to Mayor Nagins.

Re Burma, this may be the impetus the people need to organise and revolt. If they don't, they don't.

Ex Army Bloke said...

What is this airdrop nonsense? Does anybody have any idea how difficult nthat is? how many aircraqft you need? where do they fly from? How do they know where to drop the stuff? who sorts it out on the ground? even theb yanks don't have the resources to even scratch this problem with airdrops.

I know.. as ex military I have done this several places and it is actually a waste of time, just looks good on the telly

Mind you, dropping a couple of good bombs on thier government HQs would be worth it, even just for the laugh

Shaun said...

Nevertheless, Verity, the American response to a civil emergency was lacking. Blame whoever, blame the system, if you like. But the fact remains that the American response to Katrina or the fringe of it (if you insist) pales into insignificance compared to the scale of the Chinese response to this earthquake. Doesn't it?

verity said...

Shaun, No. The response from DC was not "lacking". What was lacking was the corrupt governor of the state of Louisiana and the corrupt mayor of New Orleans. The Federal Government was already prepared way ahead of the hurricane, before it veered off over into Mississippi. Nevertheless, the Governor of Mississippi had already requested Federal aid and it was on his doorstep by the time the hurricane hit. There were troops on the ground in Mississippi by the time it had blown itself out and had become reduced to just heavy rain.

The Chinese - do correct me if I'm wrong, as I intuit that you are immensely well informed about international affairs - do not have a democractic federal system, as the Americans do. The Americans have checks and balances, so that no president can order troops to march on a state whose chief executive did not request them.

Anyway, dismissing Shaun's excitable comments, I just remembered another segment of BBC coverage of THE FRINGE of Katrina. (BTW, odd that they never covered the actual hurricane itself, devastating the state of Mississippi is it not? They just covered the French Quarter - a tiny area.

Anyway, the BBC, which failed to concentrate on Mississippi, stuck with the French Quarter of NO and they had some prat reporter, Gavin someone, in a safari jacket and a smart little solar topée if memory serves, all togged out to pole his way up the Limpopo.

He was indeed poling a flat-bottomed boat through the flooded streets of New Orleans, although the effect was wrecked somewhat by people walking past in shorts with water up to their knees.

Anyway, Gavin poled his little heart out, and, facing the camera with an intense, concerned look, berated the American government for doing nothing about rescuing all these disadvantaged people, MOSTLY BLACK!, from their terrible misery. At this point he had to raise his voice and strain to make himself hears as he was being drowned out and the camerman panned upward to two US military helicopters flying low and winching people up to safety.

It was one of the funniest unscripted moments I've ever enjoyed!

Shaun, the middle and upper (and Louisiana has many rich, rich, upper class black families who come from old money as well as many similar white families) had all gone. Some in their private planes. Some on flights to Houston, Dallas and other big southern cities where they had relatives and friends. Most on the highways. In other words, anyone with any get up and go had got up and gone.

Finally, and then I will shut up about Katrina who somehow slid onto a thread about Burma - yes, Yak40, I am looking at you - harking back to all these hundred or so school buses Nagins had ordered gassed up, yet never used in a rescue mission, a black 18 year old kid knew where the buses were parked and went of his own accord, got into the shack where they kept the keys, commandeered a bus and drove to the Superdome.

There he offered places on the bus to the elderly and to young children. When his bus was full, he got on the highway to Houston. Now this kid was 18 years of age, don't forget.

All the buses had had a full tank of gas, but Houston's around 350 miles away and he ran out of gas a couple of times. Both times, he did a whip round (he also stopped cars on the highway and begged for some spare change), managed to buy gas and delivered his contingent of elderly people and children safely to the Houston Astrodome, which had been set up (very nicely, with swipe cards to get in) with bedding and kitchens.

I wonder what happened to that boy. I hope he got a scholarship to a university because he's a born leader.

OK, no more about Katrina.

Shaun said...

"The response from DC was not "lacking". What was lacking was the corrupt governor of the state of Louisiana and the corrupt mayor of New Orleans. The Federal Government was already prepared way ahead of the hurricane, before it veered off over into Mississippi. Nevertheless, the Governor of Mississippi had already requested Federal aid and it was on his doorstep by the time the hurricane hit." - Verity

Well then that's a systemic failure, isn't it? Or are you saying that was a successdul op to help/rescue those people? I didn't have you down as an American apologist but...

verity said...

Shaun "I didn't have you down as an American apologist but ..."

Then you are unobservant and have reading comprehension problems.

I am an unashamed apologist - if one were needed - for the United States, the freest and most democratic nation in the world. I say this unequivocably.

Back to the topic of this thread: Myanmar. We cannot invade a sovereign country because we don't like the way they behave. We didn't invade the Eastern Bloc countries or the Soviet Union before or during the Cold War. We didn't approve of them, either. We didn't approve of the Gulags. But we didn't invade them. We cannot and must not invade Myanmar.

Shaun said...

"We didn't approve of the Gulags. But we didn't invade them. We cannot and must not invade Myanmar."

And on that, Verity, we are both agreed; a more catastrophic use of hard power, were we even remotely capable of summoning it, cannot be imagined. Delivering democracy at gunpoint has had debatable results; delivering aid/saving lives at gunpoint surely can't end well...

verity said...

OK, Shaun. Pax. Democracy can only come from within. When people develop a hunger for it, they take it. Look what happened to the Ceauçescus. The Marcoses. To name but two recent examples.

One would have thought that both these couples, with the secret services infiltrating every nook and cranny of life, and their bodyguards and their control of the military, were invincible.

Also, re the military, the heart of the soldiers isn't in it. They don't want to accept orders to shoot their own people. I don't think the Philippine army would have accepted orders to shoot into the crowds. That's why, at the time of Tienanmen Square in Beijing, the Chinese brought soldiers in from thousands of miles away. They were another tribe, another distant people with no familial feelings for the Beijingers, which is why they were able to shoot. The Chinese are very guileful in warfare and they did exactly the right thing (for their purposes).

Myanmar is a sovereign nation. We must not interfere. In fact, I found even the suggestion that we should quite startling.

verity said...

I believe I'm right when I suggest that the only time democracy has successfully been forced on a people was when the Americans forced the Japanese to accept this way of government after WWII.

But the circumstances were unique and will never be repeated in the foreseeable future.

Yak40 said...

somehow slid onto a thread about Burma - yes, Yak40, I am looking at you

Verity, actually I was merely answering Shaun's nonsense, see May 17, 2008 8:56 PM.

Shaun said...

You are right about Japan being the only democracy-by-force successfully launched upon the world. And even that rellied heavilly upon entrusting power back to the zaibatsu which dominated the economy and military-industrial complex in the pre-war years (having risen to and consolidated power after the 1905 spat with Russia).

Ultimately, to get back on topic of Burma and out of the Louisiana swamps, I do feel (and did say earlier) that this disaster is the death of the regime. If it lets foreigners in to deliver aid, its going to go fast. If not, resentment will build up among survivors, manpower will be unavailable to the army in the future by dint of being dead and the regime dies at that point. I honestly don't see how it could continue unless its foreign backers prop it up.

Invading, however, would muddy these waters by creating a semi-legitimate resistance, primed on decades of anti-foreigner propaganda ("look! the forigners are here! And they're armed just like the Junta always said they would be! They must be coming to kill us!"). And that's assuming that our critically overstretched armed forces could do anything useful.

verity said...

I agree. Go in and create another Viet Nam. The West has to learn to leave people the hell alone. They are responsible for their own lives. Britain, as the ex-colonial power has absolutely no responsibility. They're an independent nation and they're responsible for themselves.

I do not think their foreign backers are going to make enemies of customers in the West by backing some stupid resistance.

Anonymous said...

Verity - I maintain my belief that you should be airdropped into Burma. What the hell made you think I was being funny?