TALKING TO THUGS

Secretary of State Colin Powell has an op-ed in today’s WSJ strongly condemning the “thugs” who run Burma. He is so outraged by their recent actions that he’s going to get really nasty:

It’s time to freeze the financial assets of the SPDC. It’s time to ban remittances to Burma so that the SPDC cannot benefit from the foreign exchange. With legislation, we can, and should, place restrictions on travel-related transactions that benefit the SPDC and its supporters. We also should further limit commerce with Burma which enriches the junta’s generals. Of course, we would need to ensure consistency with our World Trade Organization and other international obligations. Any legislation will need to be carefully crafted to take into account our WTO obligations and the president’s need for waiver authority, but we should act now.

By attacking Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters, the Burmese junta has finally and definitively rejected the efforts of the outside world to bring Burma back into the international community. Indeed, their refusal of the work of Ambassador Razali and of the rights of Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters could not be clearer. Our response must be equally clear if the thugs who now rule Burma are to understand that their failure to restore democracy will only bring more and more pressure against them and their supporters.

That’ll teach them. That’s nearly as strong as the sanctions that we placed on Fidel Castro 43 years ago. I’m sure the thugs will now resign en mass and a wave of democracy will take over Burma any day now.

FILED UNDER: World Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.