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Lame Self-Congratulatory Editorial on Democracy Promotion

The Washington Post editorials are increasingly weird, for instance today's Save Burma:
The United States and the European Union acted with admirable cohesion and aggressiveness yesterday, calling for a meeting of the U.N. Security Council and asking it to consider sanctions

What on earth is "admirable" about this? Isn't it a no-brainer to call for a Security Council session? Admirable is what the monks and nuns are doing.
Why have the US and the EU acted with "aggressiveness"? This nonsense is the talk of chicken hawks and talking heads with no field experience.

The West -- in particular the United States -- likes to portray itself as the promoter of democracy and human rights around the world, but there was no support for the democracy movement in Myanmar/Burma. And that is good. The monks and democracy activists would be discredited, if they received support from abroad. Democracy has to come from within. The West should not exaggerate its contribution. Calling for a Security Council session is easy. Getting Chinese and Russian support for a UN resolution is more difficult and the West has failed in this regard. 

Besides, rather than just threatening the regime with more sanctions, it might be more sensible to offer economic aid on the condition that the regime starts democratization in addition to the threats. Providing incentives and threats is better than only threats. Past sanctions did not work. Providing incentives might not work either, but it is always worthwhile to extend an olive branch.

Another noteworthy quote from the Washington Post editorial:
We can hope that the generals will be deterred by the warnings about the war crimes trials that could await them, or that their officers and conscripts will refuse to carry out their orders.
War crimes trials? Since when are the Washington Post editorial writers in favor of the International Criminal Court? Besides, sitting on your couch and "hoping" for the best is not all that "admirable" and "aggressive". Why are you guys not calling upon the US government to support the International Criminal Court?

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Anonymous on :

LOL. I will now eat my steak with much admirable aggressiveness, while calling for world peace.

Pat Patterson on :

Actually the Washington Post endorsed US participation in the ICC as early as 2001, one year before the Court was officially established. Besides, us guys, have noticed that so far only four investigations have taken place which have resulted in eight arrest warrants issued but only one arrest made. And since Myanmar is not a signatory then calling for action in an editorial seems, as noted above, ...lame."

Anonymous on :

I thought, even officials from non-signatory states can be send to the ICC. "Besides, us guys, have noticed that so far only four investigations have taken place which have resulted in eight arrest warrants issued but only one arrest made." Got a recent source for that? I thought there was already one conviction. Besides, the ICC would be more successful with US backing.

Pat Patterson on :

Go to the ICC site or even Wikipedia and there are only four investigations listed. No convictions at all. Charles Taylor is being held by the ICC but they will not try him. He'll be turned over to a special court in Sierra Leone when the ICC is satisfied to the fairness of the African court. Maybe you are thinking of the various convictions and acquitals of the International Criminal Tribunal? Now the other ICC, International Cricket Council, seems quite capable of acting quickly. Just last year, 2006, three players were banned for life for fixing games. The US seems quite amenable to joining this ICC except we're so bad at the international level in cricket, or at any level for that matter, that the ICC won't accept us.

Don S on :

"The Washington Post editorials are increasingly weird" How so, Joerg? You may find it a 'no-brainer' to do the obvious quickly, but certain bodies and states did not (and have not) found it a no-brainer to respond quickly to certain past and present crisises. Naming no names of course, but think of Rwanda. Darfur. Zimbabwe. It's all bootless however. Won't change a thing.

Anonymous on :

There were plenty of useless SC sessions on Rwanda, Darfur, Zimbabwe. Calling for such sessions is cheap.

Mr. Bingley on :

Joerg, not for nothing but are you confusing the politics of the Washington Post with the [i]New York[/i] Post? "Aggressiveness" is actually an appropriate term, given that those esteemed Olympians at State and their fully co-equal yet markedly independent counterparts at the EU are actually considering, you know, having their aides meet to begin negotiations on finding a site amenable to facilitating the shopping, er, drafting of a Very Strong Letter to Naughty Parties involved while the first bodies are still warm. Really, this may be a record for prompt action on their part. Quite admirable. Oh, and the Center for Disease Control has recently issued an advisory that the seemingly random insertion of the phrase "chicken hawks" into any form of discourse is one of the first signs of BDS; you may want to have yourself checked out.

Pamela on :

Joerg, it's the WaPo. Since the days of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers, one would be hard-pressed to find people who are more pompous or self-important.

Don S on :

No trouble at all to find those, Pamela. Georgetown and the Upper West Side of Manhattan are stuffed to the gills with them. Not to mention Georgetown West, the newsroom of the LA Times, the most pluperfect example of swollen egos without cause this side of Pinch Sulzbergerland.....

Pamela on :

Silly person. I wrote MORE pompous, not AS pompous. 'As' pompous is all over the place.

Don S on :

"Why are you guys not calling upon the US government to support the International Criminal Court?" Because the ICC is designed to be used against Tommy Franks, not the Burma generals. De facto if not De jure. That is why. Tell you what. I can go with the ICC if you give it jurisdictions over errors of omission as well as erros of comission. That is if we can jail Gerd Schroeder for sitting on his thumb was well as Tommy Franks for fighting a war. How about it? Deal?

Sue on :

The US government will never support the ICC because Congress will never ratify that treaty for fear of losing their seats. Senator Billy Joe Bob from Pennsyltucky will have a mighty hard time explaining to his constituents why their 19-year-old sons in the Army have to be held accountable to an unaccountable international tribunal and not US military or civilian law, which US most voters think is sufficient to the purpose.

Don S on :

Sue, I can stand it if Gerd Schoeder is in the cell to the right and Jacques Chirac in the cell to the left of the soldier. You know?

Mr. Bingley on :

And they think it is sufficient because, well, it [i]is[/i].

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