The ‘Virtuous Circle’ of Carrot & Stick Sanctions
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The ‘Virtuous Circle’ of Carrot & Stick Sanctions


By WILLIAM BOOT / THE IRRAWADDY Tuesday, March 27, 2012


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So, we are not looking for one particular event in order to say everything is normal, everything is right and is not reversible.”

Former British ambassador to Thailand and now chairman of the NGO Network Myanmar Derek Tonkin believes continued sanctions are “dumb”.

“Sanctions directed at the population at large have become a serious obstacle to the country's financial and economic reform programs, notably in rural development, poverty alleviation and social welfare,” he says on the Network Myanmar website this week.

“We should then have the honesty to recognize that it is the population at large which is being held to ransom by the Western pretense that their sanctions are ‘well-targeted’ when the overwhelming evidence is that almost all of them are not.”

In the same camp, Stiglitz argues: “It is clear that this moment in Myanmar’s history represents a real opportunity for permanent change. It is time for the world to move the agenda for Myanmar forward, not just by offering assistance but by removing the sanctions that have now become an impediment to the country’s transformation.”

Not so, says prominent Burmese exile Kyi May Kaung, a writer and analyst based in Washington.
 
“Countries that wish to see democracy and a free market in Burma should not lift sanctions too soon,” she wrote in an appeal for the Western world not to get carried away with what she says is the hype being generated by international media.

“Reporters love to preface their interviews by feeding the interviewee ‘Now that there is change in Burma’—in fact, there has been no meaningful structural or institutional reform. I and a few other voices are the only ones remaining skeptical, we think with reason, and our voices are all but drowned out by the sounds of the big media wheel.”

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has also urged caution, warning only days ago that media freedom in Burma was still being gagged by the authorities.

Turnell, who is in touch with a wide circle of opinion inside and outside Burma, thinks there is hope for what he terms a “virtuous circle of reform” in which sanctions can continue to play a part.

“One might also expect a narrowing and more specific targeting of measures, to ensure against unintended effects and to best encourage and hasten the reforms,” he told The Irrawaddy. “At the moment the ball is with Thein Sein. April 1 marks the next serve.”



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Wolfgang , Hong Kong Wrote:
29/03/2012
I much agree with SuuMaung & Nyi Nyi , sanctions have been an important catalyst for change ,contrary to all the business driven hype coming from Stiglitz & the like .Burma still has a long way to go on the steep uphill path to lasting reform , specially in view of the total lack of control over the Tatmadaw & it's unabated brutal warfare in Kachin & Shan State , as well as plenty of atrocities still inflicted on the ethnic people in Karen & Chin State .
I much appreciate the well - balanced policies coming so far out of the US [ TKX DEREK MITCHELL !] & the UK Parliament , much in contrast with the hasty eagerness in the direction of lifting sanctions we can see from other EU members , specially GERMANY with it's largely business-driven foreign policy !

Nyunt Han Wrote:
28/03/2012
@ Nyi Nyi

Exactly !

SuuMaung Wrote:
28/03/2012
A third line of opinion is that the sanctions could be gradually withdrawn bit by bit if reforms continue. Yes, I would agree on this.
The US & EU need to be very careful before they lift the sanctions. If they lift all the sanctions right away, who would benefit, not our country or our people. Only those junta & their cronies will take advantage of this right away. Since SLORC took over, 1988, our country became more & more in debt & poverty. But those generals & their Cronies like TayZa, ZawZaw, HtunMyintNaing, KhinShwe, AungThetMann, etc & few more Billionaires are getting richer & richer from our country’s resources. Now only they will benefit from lifting the Sanctions right away. I hope the US & EU should consider seriously before they lift all the sanctions.

tocharian Wrote:
28/03/2012
Peking definitely loves sanctions!
Sure, I'm also all for sanctions against undemocratic and repressive regimes, so why doesn't the US (and the West) just "sanction" China to get a "regime change" there? Is China's human rights record over the last 60 years better than that of Burma? What about Tibet and Sinkiang? (China wouldn't even allow them to have their own "ethnic armies" like the UWSA in Burma lol).
There is a lot of hypocrisy going on, on all sides. Politics is a game of "Liar's Poker" played by the top 0.1% on the back of the 99.9% of the people that has to suffer, sanctions or no sanctions.

Nyi Nyi Wrote:
28/03/2012
Sanctions have proven to work. Without the sanctions we would not have seen the reforms that are taking place in Burma. Why change something which has a proven track record? There has to be a good reason for change and it is right that the gradual reforms are met with gradual relaxation of restrictions. Disciplined democracy with disciplined sanction!

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