Monday, May 18, 2009

What Credibility?

With her detention expiring at the end of this month, it’s no surprise that Myanmar's ruling military junta found a way to extend the detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The reason they found is when Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi got an uninvited American visitor who evidently swam across a lake to reach the house where Ms. Suu Kyi was under house arrest. Using this flimsy excuse, Ms. Suu Kyi has been charged with breaching the terms of her house arrest. How the hell a seemingly out-of-shape white American male managed to breach the security at the house is something the military junta is keeping quiet about.

Nobel Peace winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 11 of the past 19 years and it looks like she will be under arrest for a few years longer. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has been remanded at the country's notorious Insein prison in Yangon till her show trial which even Myanmar’s biggest foreign allies, ASEAN, believe is a joke.

Of course that’s as far as ASEAN will go. Whereas the U.S, the EU and the U.N have all expressed their unhappiness at these latest developments. ASEAN has merely expressed “concern” and hopes that “positive steps will be taken”. Getting ASEAN (and Singapore) to condemn the development is like trying to get blood from a stone as ASEAN countries (like Singapore) has lots of money tied up in Myanmar. If they weren’t going to cross the military junta for Cyclone Nargis, it’s hard to think that ASEAN will cross the junta for just a Nobel Peace winner.

I like to say that ASEAN credibility will be called into question by this episode but I can’t. When it comes to Myanmar, ASEAN has no credibility to speak of.

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