Tuesday, May 13, 2008

People May be Dying Soon in Burma - There's a Solution

This is a quick follow-up to a previous post, "Burma / Myanmar / Myanma - Between Cyclones and Juntas, We Can't Ignore This" (May 11, 2008)

The situation right now in Burma is that a trickle of food and supplies is making it into the country, and a fraction of that may be getting to people who actually need it.

Odds are very good that between lack of food and rotting corpses, there's going to be a lot more death in Burma very soon.

Unless something is done.

The conventional wisdom seems to be that what is needed is for diplomats to deplore the ruling junta's lack of cooperation, the United Nations Security council to soberly consider why it's impossible to force Burma's bosses to let people in who can help Burmese citizens, and wait for the whole thing to blow over.

I'm being a bit unfair, but not by much, I'm afraid.

Another approach was brought to my attention in a comment on the previous Burma post. Oversimplified, here it is:

The starting premise is that the United Nations is not the only agency by which assistance can reach Burma.

An American-led coalition could assemble and deliver aid to the areas that need it most, without asking the ruling junta's permission. As an op-ed piece put it:

"The insertion of carefully targeted medical, clothing and food aid drops into the worst affected Irrawaddy delta region by US-led coalition aircraft would help prevent the deaths of many at risk of starvation and those at risk of succumbing to preventible diseases.

"Limited humanitarian intervention along these lines would probably provoke howls of outrage from China and others, yet these same countries would have little choice but to eventually acquiesce for fear of being seen as morally equivalent to the regime in Burma. Such action would also breach the legal sovereignty of Burma and the regime could argue it was justified in shooting down any aircraft as they entered Burmese airspace. But the regime would have to wear the consequences of this action, including Washington's almost certain military response to the targeting of US aircraft involved in leading an important (and widely popular) humanitarian mission."

I've seen worse ideas put forward: and this seems better than waiting the crisis, and the people in Burma, to die out while diplomats make speeches.

"Kosovo aid the model"
The Australian (May 14, 2008)

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

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In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.