October 18, 2007
The Dalai Lama went to Washington and spoke with the prez and received the Congressional Gold Medal. (Photo above © Doug Miles and the NYT.) As expected, China's pretty steamed. Oh well. Maybe if every Western nation said it would boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as Richard Gere and others have suggested, China might budge on Burma. The Olympics are very important to China, so they are sensitive on this topic. The DL asked that the Tibet issue be resolved for the sake of long-term peace between India and China. He stressed that he wants autonomy, not independence, for Tibet within the PRC.
What is the UN doing on Burma? Apparently not enough to please Mitt Romney, fresh off his endorsement from Bob Jones III, chancellor of Bob Jones University, which for some reason is an obligatory stop for Republican Presidential candidates.
The Myanmar junta is drafting a new constitution. Don't expect sweeping changes. As if it's not obvious enough that the junta is one of the worst governments in the world, we should remember that, according to a 2002 Human Rights Watch report, Burma leads the world in numbers of child soldiers (most on the government side but some with rebel ethnic groups) and is also a big player in the world opium market. Remember the Golden Triangle?
Danny Fisher also has a great post with helpful information on what we can do so that the world will not forget about Burma.
Gordon Brown is threatening to step up sanctions against Myanmar. Must be because sanctions worked so well against Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro.
Speaking of great politicians of the 20th century, Benazir Bhutto is back in Pakistan. Time will tell what this means for General Musharraf and the Islamic radicals running around dynamiting historic Buddha statues in areas where the government has essentially ceded control to them.
- Philip Ryan, Web Editor