Luminaries smelled blood. Hillary Clinton, Kevin Rudd, and David Cameron came and went, openly advocating for continued democratic reform. All met with Ms. Aung Sun Suu Kyi.
In the aftermath of grandiose state visits from such luminaries to Burma (officially known as Myanmar), Aung Sun Suu Kyi and military leaders face a long and difficult task to bring about political, social, and economic reforms in a country that has remained under a brutal military junta and isolated from most of the world since 1960.
In politics, relationships matter less. Interest matters most. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, a high-ranking Republican, recently expressed his glowing enthusiasm and hopes for the reform in Burma. He thought Burma is on the path to achieve something that once seemed impossible. Ironically, Sen. McConnell is also the “architect” of the economic sanctions against Burma. The U.S. and Western interest in Burma is palpable in light of Burma’s strategic geographic location, its ties with China, and its natural resources. The integrity of this interest must be tested against what is really at skate for Burma.