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Is It Time to Invade Burma?

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by PosterChild, May 10, 2008.

  1. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    By ROMESH RATNESAR


    The disaster in Burma presents the world with perhaps its most serious humanitarian crisis since the 2004 Asian tsunami. By most reliable estimates, close to 100,000 people are dead. Delays in delivering relief to the victims, the inaccessibility of the stricken areas and the poor state of Burma's infrastructure and health systems mean that number is sure to rise. With as many as 1 million people still at risk, it is conceivable that the death toll will, within days, approach that of the entire number of civilians killed in the genocide in Darfur.

    So what is the world doing about it? Not much. The military regime that runs Burma initially signaled it would accept outside relief, but has imposed so many conditions on those who would actually deliver it that barely a trickle has made it through. Aid workers have been held at airports. U.N. food shipments have been seized. U.S. naval ships packed with food and medicine idle in the Gulf of Thailand, waiting for an all-clear that may never come.

    Burma's rulers have relented slightly, agreeing Friday to let in supplies and perhaps even some foreign relief workers. The government says it will allow a US C-130 transport plane to land inside Burma Monday. But it's hard to imagine a regime this insular and paranoid accepting robust aid from the U.S. military, let alone agreeing to the presence of U.S. Marines on Burmese soil - as Thailand and Indonesia did after the tsunami. The trouble is that the Burmese haven't shown the ability or willingness to deploy the kind of assets needed to deal with a calamity of this scale - and the longer Burma resists offers of help, the more likely it is that the disaster will devolve beyond anyone's control. "We're in 2008, not 1908," says Jan Egeland, the former U.N. emergency relief coordinator. "A lot is at stake here. If we let them get away with murder we may set a very dangerous precedent."


    That's why it's time to consider a more serious option: invading Burma. Some observers, including former USAID director Andrew Natsios, have called on the U.S. to unilaterally begin air drops to the Burmese people regardless of what the junta says. The Bush Administration has so far rejected the idea - "I can't imagine us going in without the permission of the Myanmar government," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday - but it's not without precedent: as Natsios pointed out to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. has facilitated the delivery of humanitarian aid without the host government's consent in places like Bosnia and Sudan.


    A coercive humanitarian intervention would be complicated and costly. During the 2004 tsunami, some 24 U.S. ships and 16,000 troops were deployed in countries across the region; the mission cost the U.S. $5 million a day. Ultimately, the U.S. pledged nearly $900 million to tsunami relief. (By contrast, it has offered just $3.25 million to Burma.) But the risks would be greater this time: the Burmese government's xenophobia and insecurity make them prone to view U.S. troops - or worse, foreign relief workers - as hostile forces. (Remember Black Hawk Down?) Even if the U.S. and its allies made clear that their actions were strictly for humanitarian purposes, it's unlikely the junta would believe them. "You have to think it through - do you want to secure an area of the country by military force? What kinds of potential security risks would that create?" says Egelend. "I can't imagine any humanitarian organization wanting to shoot their way in with food."


    So what other options exist? Retired General William Nash of the Council on Foreign Relations says the U.S. should first pressure China to use its influence over the junta to get them to open up and then supply support to the Thai and Indonesian militaries to carry out relief missions. "We can pay for it - we can provide repair parts to the Indonesians so they can get their Air Force up. We can lend the them two C-130s and let them paint the Indonesian flag on them," Nash says. "We have to get the stuff to people who can deliver it and who the Burmese government will accept, even if takes an extra day or two and even if it's not as efficient as the good old U.S. military." Egeland advocates that the U.N. Security Council take punitive steps short of war, such as freezing the regime's assets and issuing warrants for the arrest of individual junta members if they were to leave the country. Similar measures succeeded in getting the government of Ivory Coast to let in foreign relief teams in 2002, Egelend says.


    And if that fails? "It's important for the rulers to know the world has other options," Egeland says. "If there were, say, the threat of a cholera epidemic that could claim hundreds of thousands of lives and the government was incapable of preventing it, then maybe yes - you would intervene unilaterally." But by then, it could be too late. The cold truth is that states rarely undertake military action unless their national interests are at stake; and the world has yet to reach a consensus about when, and under what circumstances, coercive interventions in the name of averting humanitarian disasters are permissible. As the response to the 2004 tsunami proved, the world's capacity for mercy is limitless. But we still haven't figured out when to give war a chance.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20080510/wl_time/isittimetoinvadeburma
  2. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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  3. ologan

    ologan Well-Known Member

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    It seems the ads are starting to appear asking for monetary donations to be made for this relief effort. If they won't allow the aid to come in in the form of food and med supplies,maybe they'll take the money instead??? Not one damn penny from my pocket (Although your tax money and mine are sitting loaded in C-130's at Udorn or Utapao).
  4. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    What's wrong--don't you trust the military junta? :rolleyes:
  5. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    Factoid alert (I thought this was interesting; I didn't know all the details):

    Is the country called Burma or Myanmar? And what’s the difference between the two names?

    Interestingly, the conflict between the two names is in the English version; there is no such conflict in the Burmese language. The official name of the country in Burmese is
    Pyidaungzu Myanma Naingngandaw, meaning Union of Myanmar (or Myanma), which is often shortened to Myanma Naingngandaw. Myanmar has always been the official name of the country and the Burmese use this word when they want to be official or literary. But since the 19th century, the Burmese have used the name Bama or Bamar in everyday, colloquial speech. This colloquial usage has been turned into Burma in English.

    In Burmese, both names coexist without conflict, each being used in its proper place. The ultimate etymology and what the name means is unclear, but both
    Myanmar and Bama ultimately come from the same root.
    In 1989, the military junta that rules the country decided to change the official English version of the name from Burma to Myanmar. At the same time, they changed the official transliteration of several other place names to better reflect their pronunciation in Burmese, one of these being the English name of the capital, which was changed from
    Rangoon to Yangon.

    But in protest of the military government, which they considered illegitimate, several Western nations, including the US, Australia, Canada, and Britain, refused to recognize this change and went on calling the country
    Burma. Some Western news organizations follow the lead of their government and use Burma. Others use Myanmar. And other compromise and use both.
    (Sources:
    BBC News, CIA World Factbook)
  6. ologan

    ologan Well-Known Member

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    Well, You can call me Ray....Or you can call me Jay...You can call me Ronnie....Or you can call me Johnnie...But you don't hafta call me BAMA!!!

    (Roll Tide!) PS- They still ain't gettin'a penny!
  7. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    The UN has said that Burma must allow aid and aid workers in or else. I love how the UN loves to flex US muscle
  8. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    The idea of invading Burma is absurd.

    The US gains no strategic advantage by doing so, The US has not been attacked and furthermore, crises such as these should be solved diplomatically.

    This really is a time for China to step up, as it is the major player in that reason. But they won't.
  9. canters

    canters Active Member

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    Good post. The mere thought of such a military action if typical of far left types in this country who oppose military action even when it is in our strategic insterst, ie: Afghanistan. But, they would support such an action when it is a "meals-on-wheels" operation where the US has no interest in the area.
  10. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    This isn't a Left/Righ or Liberal/Conservative topic.

    The role of the United State Military and the Government with regards to foreign policy in my opinion is soley to protect its citizens and allies and the interest of the aforementioned.

    A strike on Myanmar fails to past muster.

    This is what the U.N. is for.

    As stated prior, it would be great if China were to step up and attempt to assuage the situation, but they won't.
  11. canters

    canters Active Member

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    I agree that it should not be a left/right issue. But in reality, most issues this day and age are about the issue of left/right.
  12. Ren

    Ren Well-Known Member

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    let China deal with them, it's their backyard
  13. Dallas

    Dallas Old bulletproof tiger

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    The US isn't going to invade Burma. Come on.

    The notion that folks keep calling for diplomacy from China is laughable.

    China could give a RATS patoot about the rest of the world. When will you folks calling for diplomacy realize that?

    When has China ever done anything positive for the world body?


    Ummm...never!
  14. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    I disagree.

    This is what the political class wants you to believe.

    The term "Divide and Conquer" come to mind.
  15. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    Crappy food? :laugh2:
  16. Ren

    Ren Well-Known Member

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    since when does china not giving a **** make it a U.S problem?
    the point in calling for them to do something about it is the same as saying "not our problem" and it's really not as harsh as the might sound
  17. Dallas

    Dallas Old bulletproof tiger

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    Did you see me say anywhere that it was a US problem? Hrmmm?

    I said China could care less. That was my whole point. Don't start selling the Jumping to Conclusions game just yet please?

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