The US must intervene in the Myanmar Coup – Democrat Article
Election allegations with no evidence to back it up? You would be forgiven for thinking that I am talking about the Republicans and Trump discussing the US 2020 Election. However, in this scenario, the consequences have arguably been a lot worse. Myanmar and Democracy are two words that until 2015 would not have been associated with each other; it appears that from 2021 this could once again be the case.
In November, Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) won over 80% of the vote. There were immediate calls of fraud. Calls that have been repeated over the past couple of months by the military-backed opposition. Although these accusations are unsubstantiated, on Monday the military overthrew the government and arrested Ms Suu Kyi. Whilst there remain questions about Ms Suu Kyi’s treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority, it is up to the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court to decide this and it cannot be a reason to accept the coup.
We cannot on the one hand condemn Trump if on the other we fail to question and condemn a similar disregard for democracy in Myanmar. The country has previously faced 50 years of oppressive military rule and they quite clearly do not want to go back to this. The international community and the main players in this community such as America have a responsibility to uphold democracy around the world. This case is no different.
Members of the UN Security Council were drafting a collective statement until the Chinese government vetoed this action. At the very least this is tacit support for the coup and the world cannot sit by and watch. Whilst the Chinese reasons are centred around scepticism of intervention by the international community, this reason is not good enough. To make things worse this scepticism only comes through a desire to protect themselves from the international community.
Biden has since denounced the coup and threatened to reimpose sanctions if democracy is not restored. This situation is a huge test very early on in the Biden administration; much bigger than many realise. Its importance is twofold: firstly, how Biden interacts with international allies and secondly, about America’s relationship with China under Joe Biden.
This is the first test of Biden’s pledge to collaborate with international allies and was a significant difference between him and Trump in the last election. If he can successfully work with others in this case, then this could set a good precedent for future relations over the next four years. In relation to China, this presents Biden with an opportunity. If he can show Republican voters that he can deal well with China, he could secure their vote for future elections. He must ensure China cannot continue to work against the international community.
A blatant refusal to accept democracy is taking place in South Asia and we cannot sit by and allow it to happen. Where is Aung San Suu Kyi? Where is President Win Mint? Where are the other ministers detained? Joe Biden must lead the way in restoring democracy in Myanmar. Words may not be enough, and he must go through with sanctions if it comes to it.
Written by Democrat Writer, Fletcher Kipps
Point of Information
Inaction against Myanmar will set a dangerous precedent – A Republican Response
I cannot agree more with my colleague Fletcher’s aforementioned comments on the current situation in Myanmar. In particular, the great potential President Joe Biden has to set a strong tone with China from the start. With Obama’s “Pivot to Asia“, the US must ensure it remains a strong force in the region. The crisis in Myanmar is an opportunity for Joe Biden to continue Obama’s shift in focus away from the Middle East towards East Asia.
Simply put, if the US sits by idly simply issuing a statement condemning the actions of the military, the Biden administration will indicate to China and others a certain reluctance to intervene in the region.
This reluctance to intervene can set a dangerous precedent in the region for two main reasons. First, it will empower China to continue to veto actions by the UN without any consequence. Secondly, it will signal to allies in the region that if China is to act unilaterally in the region in an attempt to expand their sphere of influence, the US will likely do nothing rather than step in to assist their allies. An empowered China is dangerous for East Asia, particularly for US allies such as Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines. One of the main goals of Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” was to advance democracy and human rights in the region. Inaction will demonstrate a failure of the Biden administration in dealing with East Asian affairs.
US interventionism has historically received mixed reactions from the global community. However, as the global torchbearer of democracy, it would simply be hypocritical of the US to not intervene. They must ensure that the people of Myanmar are heard and that their decision to democratically elect their next leader is not blocked by anyone, whether it be from within, or from without. As my colleague Fletcher said, if Biden shows he can be strong on China, it will allow him to gain popularity with the GOP, an important step towards reunifying a deeply divided nation.
Words are certainly not enough, but will sanctions be enough, or will the US have to go even further?
Written by Republican Writer, Sebastian Calcopietro
Action must be taken – A Foreign Perspective
There is no doubt about this that Joe Biden needs to react quickly to the escalating situation in Myanmar. I could not agree more with the comments made by Fletcher and Sebastian. International governments must intervene considering the military have effectively disregarded the principles of democracy. In essence, the coup is a breach of human rights as the population have expressed their desire for Aung San Suu Kyi to hold the office of State Counsellor of Myanmar. The military must be held accountable for their breach of democratic principles.
The spotlight will be put onto Biden, the new leader of the free world. He must unite with other nations but simply issuing a statement will only empower China. To reemphasise what Fletcher has said again, Biden must stand himself up against China which will be respected amongst the Republicans – a key move to promote unity, a message which was promoted highly throughout the presidential election campaign.
I do not think sanctions will be enough. Perhaps threatening the unelected administration by isolating the country completely through trade blocs. A move with the UN could be more effective such as drafting in peacekeepers but this could cause a number of issues. No response must be ruled out. Action must be taken at all costs.
Written by Foreign Perspective Writer, Max Jablonowski