Asia-Pacific

Jan 13, 2012

Burma sanctions just reinforce ‘siege mentality’

There is a growing recognition in the international community that engagement, rather than sanctions and diplomatic isolation, is fast emerging as a more productive strategy in pressuring the Burmese government to reform, writes David Hopkins, a foreign relations masters graduate and Burma researcher.

Sanctions — as a September 2011 report on Burma by the International Crisis Group maintains — only reinforce a “siege mentality” among Burmese elites, hampering engagement efforts and increasing the likelihood that mistrust and paranoia, two features that have historically dominated Burma’s foreign relations, reign unchallenged in regime thinking.

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One thought on “Burma sanctions just reinforce ‘siege mentality’

  1. Thomas Kean

    This article is particularly poignant given the signing of the ceasefire with Karen National Union yesterday – likely ending 63 years of conflict – and the release today of hundreds of political prisoners, including leaders of the 2007 protests.

    Western countries are naive if they think their policies of the past 20 years have in any way hastened what is happening in Myanmar. It is a completely home grown transition to democracy and if anything it has been slowed down by sanctions and withholding aid.

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