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Sanctions and/or engagement

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Title: New role for India in Myanmar
Date of publication: 13 September 2013
Description/subject: "Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing. With ongoing communal and ethnic violence on one hand and the implementation of bold reform initiatives on the other, Myanmar's transition from authoritarianism to democracy presents immense challenges as well as opportunities for neighboring India. How New Delhi reacts to these tests will have wide-ranging impacts on the future of India-Myanmar relations. The challenges are many. The diplomatic row over pillar number 76 in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur on the Indo-Myanmar border in Holenphai village near Moreh has added to long-running border problems. Although the two sides have agreed to negotiate the issue peacefully, past misunderstandings and alleged intrusions have raised alarm bells on both sides of the border..."
Author/creator: Sonu Trivedi
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asia Times Online"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 May 2014


Title: Considerations for Future Economic Engagement with Myanmar
Date of publication: 20 November 2010
Description/subject: CONCLUSION: "We have come to a critical juncture in international economic engagement with Myanmar. We must recognize that this is an end to an era that has been characterized by two decades of frustration and disappointment with a lack of progress on national reconciliation, human rights, and a democratic transition that is genuinely inclusive. Despite all the criticisms of the new election laws, it seems inevitable the 2010 elections will usher in a new era of national governance, and the next two years will be critical ones for setting new directions for the future. Changes in economic policies and management will matter greatly in this period to build confidence that positive change can be real and sustainable. The international community faces a choice of maintaining distance from the new government by continuing existing “sticks-based” economic engagement policies, or of seeking to make a positive contribution to domestic efforts to implement the new constitution, which does contain elements of economic policy principles that we can broadly endorse and support. The time has come to make a bet on the younger generation and seek to engage in ways that can help move Myanmar in a positive direction in economic policy, in governance, and in the pursuit of broadly-held national aspirations."
Author/creator: Bradley O. Babson
Language: English
Source/publisher: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C.
Format/size: pdf (112K)
Date of entry/update: 20 November 2010


Title: Burma, the International Community, and Human Rights (with Particular Attention to the Role of Foreign Aid)
Date of publication: November 2010
Description/subject: There is a need, generally, in the international community for more honest assessments of the consequences of existing policies on Burma and clearer thinking about how change can be brought about. The paradigm of change favored by many democracy activists, envisioning the defeat of the incumbent regime followed by wholesale reform by new elected leaders, is entirely unrealistic, given the distribution of power and interests in Burma today and the deep-rooted structural obstacles to democracy, peace, development, and human rights. The expectation that authoritarian leaders will eventually come to respect universal human rights and “do the right thing” is equally unrealistic and too often, little more than a cover for the naked pursuit of national interests. Principled engagement may be neither politically nor economically attractive to foreign policymakers, but it is a practical approach, which puts human rights, humanitarianism, and the welfare of the Burmese people at the center and is true to the spirit of the International Bill of Human Rights, which holds that all human rights are inalienable and indivisible. Burma, the International Community, and Human Rights (with Particular Attention to the Role of Foreign Aid) | 127 | This not to say that principled engagement provides the answer to all of Burma’s human rights problems, or that it is the optimal approach to every issue all the time. In some areas, stronger international pressure may be necessary to induce the government to cooperate, possibly including carefully targeted and calibrated sanctions. Also, it must be acknowledged that the impact of foreign aid on development and poverty reduction in any country is secondary to that of other capital flows such as trade, investment, and remittances. These caveats underscore the need for a comprehensive international approach that exploits synergies between different tools and influence mechanisms. Yet, rather than the “poor cousin” to sanctions (or trade and investment) that principled engagement is often portrayed as, the evidence suggests that it must be the linchpin for any effective human rights strategy. While well-targeted, coercive pressure may create incentives for change, the net effect is likely to be counterproductive unless others are willing and able to engage with the government to help reduce the nationalistic backlash, co-opt local reformers, and identify compromise solutions. In a similar vein, principled engagement holds the key to promoting economic reforms and capacity-building, which can enhance the benefits of international trade and investment, both nationally and at the grassroots.
Author/creator: Morten B. Pedersen
Language: English
Source/publisher: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C.
Format/size: pdf (148K)
Date of entry/update: 20 November 2010


Title: US engagement with Myanmar falters
Date of publication: 17 May 2010
Description/subject: BANGKOK - After the only outcomes of a visit to Myanmar by a high-level United States diplomat were "profound" disappointment over its election preparations and a stronger line over its nuclear links with North Korea, President Barack Obama on Friday formally extended sanctions against the country. Washington's extension of the sanctions followed the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Kurt Campbell to Naypyidaw, the capital, on May 9 for a two-day visit. Campbell met top officials such as Foreign Minister Nyan Win, Information Minister Kyaw Hsan, Science and Technology Minister U Thaung - the point man for US-Myanmar engagement - and Labor Minister U Aung Kyi
Author/creator: Brian McCartan
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Times Online
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 18 October 2010


Title: First Do No Harm: Myanmar Trade Sanctions and Human Rights
Date of publication: July 2007
Description/subject: I. Introduction ¶ 1 One problem that has plagued international law has been the enforcement of human rights. There is no global supranational body to hold a state in breach of international human rights accountable for its action. Short of using force to initiate a regime change, the common options taken by international actors have been to either impose trade sanctions or to participate in engagement. Both these options have significant drawbacks. ¶ 2 One influential study on sanctions concludes from an analysis of more than a hundred cases that economic sanctions have only worked to some extent about a third of the time.1 However, even this relatively positive assessment has been disputed on the grounds that the authors were overly generous in judging what were successful sanctions and in not properly separating the effects of sanctions from the impact of the threat or use of military force.2 The study also does not clearly differentiate between sanctions imposed to affect relatively modest behavior modifications in a friendly state and those imposed to cause regime change in a rogue state. It has been suggested that sanctions are usually more effective in the former and less effective in the latter due to conflict expectations.3
Author/creator: Michael Ewing-Chow
Language: English
Source/publisher: Northwestern University Journal of International Human Rights/ Vol.5, Issue.2
Format/size: html, pdf
Alternate URLs: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/journals/jihr/v5/n2/1/Ewing-Chow.pdf'>http://www.law.northwestern.edu/journals/jihr/v5/n2/1/Ewing-Chow.pdf
http://www.law.northwestern.edu/journals/jihr/v5/n2/
Date of entry/update: 18 October 2010


Title: Myanmar and the Argument for Engagement: A Clash of Contending Moralities?
Date of publication: March 2006
Description/subject: Abstract: The domestic environment of Myanmar, in the wake of half a century of civil war and instability, has not shown any sign of an improvement. The Generals remain in control; the health and education systems are collapsing; and the people in the borderlands live under some of the worst conditions of poverty imaginable. Meanwhile, a clash of contesting moralities has emerged through a growing fissure (at least until recently) between those in favour of engagement (ASEAN) and those wanting to isolate and sanction (the West). Of these contesting moralities the most damaging has been economic isolation. Today, Myanmar receives less Official Development Assistance (ODA) per capita than any other developing country in East Asia. Laos, by contrast, is arguably little better in terms of governance yet it receives nineteens times more ODA per capita. Nevertheless, during the course of the past two decades neither engagement nor isolation has produced a tangible shift towards better governance and/or democracy. Through an analysis of the consequences of isolation and instability in Myanmar this paper argues that the international community needs to overcome its policy divide by embracing a combination of diplomatic pressure and targeted engagement designed to enhance, in the long-term, the security and stability of Myanmar and its people. Given the dire nature of the economy in Myanmar, large scale aid packages designed to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and also build the capacity of the state need to be implemented. For the purpose of capacity building and engagement, broad sweeping sanctions targeting the economy in general should be abolished while targeted sanctions (directed at the leadership) should have clear benchmarks for their removal. While the idea of even limited engagement may be repugnant to some; the analysis will show that the 'middle path' advocated by this paper represents the best sustainable option to resolve the crisis in Myanmar.
Author/creator: Christopher B. Roberts
Language: English
Source/publisher: Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies Singapore (Working Paper 108)
Format/size: pdf (540K - 47 pages)
Alternate URLs: http://www.rsis.edu.sg/publications/WorkingPapers/WP108.pdf
Date of entry/update: 02 March 2009


Title: Myanmar: Sanctions, Engagement or Another Way Forward?
Date of publication: 26 April 2004
Description/subject: Myanmar's National Convention, dormant since the mid 1990s, is due to reconvene on 17 May 2004. If Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and National League for Democracy (NLD) Deputy Chairman Tin Oo are released before then (as it is now widely assumed they will be) and if the NLD is able to effectively participate in its work (which is much less certain), the Convention process provides an opportunity to move beyond the desolate political stalemate which has prevailed in one form or another since the suppression of the pro-democracy movement in 1988.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Internal Crisis Group: Asia Report N°78
Format/size: html, pdf
Alternate URLs: http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-east-asia/burma-myanmar/078-myanmar-sanctions-enga...
Date of entry/update: 18 October 2010