from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

More Progress in Burma

January 14, 2012

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In October, I wrote here about “Progress in Burma.”

This week, happily, there is more. The regime has released over six hundred prisoners, many of them key political prisoners. The United States will respond by sending an ambassador to Burma for the first time in twenty years. Moreover, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John McCain will visit Burma this weekend.

This is the beginning, not the end, of what would be a long path away from dictatorship. But it is a serious beginning and the regime has moved quite a bit already. The approach being taken by the United States, with a mixture of encouragement and caution (sanctions remain in place), is the correct one. We should push for the release of every political prisoner, and the ending of military cooperation with North Korea. The interest being shown by Congressional leaders and the careful and successful stewardship of policy toward Burma by the State Department give real hope that the “Burma opening” will continue.

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