Should U.S. taxpayers be forced to subsidize the mass murder of Syrian civilians?
Despite objections from both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, the Pentagon believes so.
Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.), perennially oblivious to the brutality of the Burmese military government, has always opposed United States economic sanctions on the junta. Despite his attempts to gut them, U.S. sanctions were not only maintained but strengthened and are beginning to produce important results.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says it is time to relax sanctions on Burma, and the business community is cheering. They promise that U.S. business engagement will bring rule of law and human rights to Burma.
Not so fast. We’ve heard these arguments before, and from the same business actors. Let’s not forget U.S. sanctions led to political reform in Burma. Now that reform has begun, it is important not to relax our leverage too soon, lest we squander the precious and hard-fought gains for Burma’s human rights and democracy activists.
Last Sunday international election monitors and media outlets reported a remarkable event in Burma. Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi — who spent years under house arrest, and sometimes in prison, fighting for democracy and justice — was elected to parliament. All week, calls have grown for all economic sanctions and international pressure on the Burmese regime to be lifted.
Heeding these calls would be a serious mistake.
United to End Genocide President Tom H. Andrews in a letter to the editor of the New York Times, "Aung San Suu Kyi’s movement from prison cell to house arrest to candidate for Parliament is good news. But so long as the government continues attacks on civilians, including recent violence in Kachin state where 50,000 people have been driven from their homes and cut off from aid, the need for sustained pressure remains."