October 4, 2007Foreign Affairs

And just why will China join the party?

Is the world ready to move without China?

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Michael Green and Derek Mitchell have timely piece in Foreign Affairs on what the world should do about Myanmar (via Dan Drezner).

Given the differing perspectives and interests of these nations, a new multilateral initiative on Burma cannot be based on a single, uniform approach. Sanctions policies will need to coexist with various forms of engagement, and it will be necessary to coordinate all of these measures toward the common end of encouraging reform, reconciliation, and ultimately the return of democracy. To succeed, the region’s major players will need to work together.

Bringing them together will require the United States’ leadership. One way to proceed would be for Washington to lead the five key parties—ASEAN, China, India, Japan, and the United States—in developing a coordinated international initiative and putting forth a public statement of the principles that underlie their vision for a stable and secure Burma. The five partners should develop a road map with concrete goalposts that lays out both the benefits that the SPDC would enjoy if it pursued true political reform and national reconciliation and the costs it would suffer if it continued to be intransigent. The road map should present the SPDC with an international consensus on how Burma’s situation affects international stability and the common principles on which the international community will judge progress in the country. One purpose of such a road map would be to reassure the SPDC of regional support for Burma’s territorial integrity and security and demonstrate the five parties’ commitment to provide, under the appropriate conditions, the assistance necessary to ensure a better future for the country. This would be an important guarantee given the Burmese military’s traditional paranoia. [Foreign Affairs]They are fairly on the ball when they contend that bringing about positive change is in India’s interests. But the big question—not adequately addressed by the authors—relates to China. Why would China want to join this party? The six-party talks over North Korea is not good enough a precedent: for Pyongyang posed a threat to the security of all the parties that engaged him. Myanmar doesn’t threaten China’s security in the same way.

Green and Mitchell don’t have a good answer to Salil’s question:

Of all the inanities diplomats utter at the time of an international crisis, the one that towers over all is this: that some foreign ministries expect China to restrain the Burmese junta.

The Chinese have ignored many calls over Darfur; they sent the People’s Liberation Army to attack their own unarmed students at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Why would they care for Burmese monks? [IHT]

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