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May 13, 2008

Should We Intervene in Burma?

There's been some speculation that the United States should intervene in Burma, renamed Myanmar by the ruling junta that has been slowly strangling that nation for over 40 years. Add to that the recent cyclone that may have killed up to 100,000 people and the fact that the junta is not allowing foreign aid workers in to help distribute food and supplies offered willingly by other nations (including American aid, which was rejected out of hand) and the human catastrophe becomes simply astronomical.

But should the United States lead the charge? As heartless as it may sound, I would say no...not at this time. Let me explain.

As horrid as the conditions are in Burma, the country itself poses little or no threat to American interests. They aren't planning to attack us or our allies any time soon. Bear in mind too that the Burmese junta has a great deal of support from China, and it's not really in our best interests to antagonize China right now.

The American military is stretched quite far these days, with troops in Afghanistan and Iraq -- not to mention our peacekeeping presence in nations like Germany and South Korea. And anti-war activists have been screaming about the cost in human and monetary terms since we first entered Iraq in 2003. Would they welcome our entering Burma as well? If they do, they are bigger hypocrites than I ever imagined.

And speaking of Iraq, yes, conditions for the Iraqi people were just as bad, if not worse, than they are for the Burmese. They were being tortured, starved and even eliminated by a brutal dictatorial government. But the main difference is this: in a post-9/11 world, President Bush -- along with former president Bill Clinton, members of Congress, the UN and a number of other world leaders -- believed Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs. We went on the intelligence we had at the time, which believed that Hussein was planning on using his stockpile against us and our allies. Knowing only what we knew then, we could not afford to call his bluff.

Five years later, even though the tide has turned in Iraq, we are still being pilloried for our presence there. We've been criticized by the Left at home and by naysayers abroad for our "unilateral" approach to entering Iraq. So why should we take the "unilateral" approach in Burma -- especially when there's nothing in it for us? What is anyone else doing about it?

The usual suspects believe that military intervention is fine as long as it's purely humanitarian (Darfur comes immediately to mind, as does Bosnia). When it comes to military intervention that would somehow benefit U.S. foreign policy goals, then such action is suddenly uncalled for.

If we had nothing else going on, I might agree that we should try to do something. But we have more than enough on our plate right now. As sorry as I am for the plight of the Burmese people, we cannot fix all of the ills in the world. As usual, damned if we do, damned if we don't.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:10 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | International

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Posted by: xlbnjnqjgo at May 13, 2008 11:30 AM

Yes, it is funny how the liberals don't remember Somalia. Started out as a humanitarian mission, ended up in a shooting mission, and then when we got our nose bloodied, we pulled out. This in turn encouraged those who attack our nation today. This is one more example of liberals not thinking something through and going on emotion. Let some other countries do the lifting for a change!

Besides, we can help out when they want us. That whole liberal "national sovereignty" argument.

Posted by: Chris at May 14, 2008 09:28 AM

I absolutely agree. I think we should sit this one out.

Posted by: Wyatt Earp at May 15, 2008 11:57 PM

Absolutely sit this one out! Enough of this already!

Posted by: Gayle Miller at May 20, 2008 04:14 PM

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