Politicians say some strange things sometimes, but ASEAN statement yesterday that they had issued a strong response to last September’s crackdown on demonstrations in Myanmar surprised even me.
What strong response? The only response I remembered was…silence!
No matter whether it was September’s crackdown on demonstrations or the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, I don’t remember any ‘strong’ response. All I remembered is how Myanmar embarrassed the hell out of ASEAN by ignoring ASEAN. I applauded Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo for at least admitting that ASEAN’s response to Cyclone Nargis deserved only a “C" grading.
In fact, most countries have already decided that ASEAN is a toothless tiger after the mess in Myanmar last year and that’s not even counting the silence of ASEAN on the border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia. Both countries have troops at their border and ASEAN’s response…that’s right, silence again!
If ASEAN want people to take it seriously as a regional entity, then they must start responding to crisis in their own region. They can start with Thailand and Cambodia immediately.