Barack Obama on Monday became the first US president to set foot in Myanmar, long considered a rogue nation controlled by a heavy-handed military junta. In his speech at Yangon University, President Obama said that pro-democracy political reform, oft the impetus for government violence in Myanmar, is here to stay.
Obama visited Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a democracy activist who now leads the country's opposition party. He also called upon the nation's president, Thein Sein.
But activists suggest Burma should be closely monitored and progress so far didn't warrant a presidential visit. John Sifton of Human Rights Watch tells the Wall Street Journal the president's visit didn't secure real concessions from the government, which still holds hundreds of political prisoners.
Obama said his visit wasn't an endorsement of the government, but a celebration of the country's progress towards democracy. The US aims to encourage that progress, the New York Times reports, by providing financial assistance.
Myanmar, often referred to as Burma by US officials and anti-junta activists, is considered a crucial country in the US's Pacific Pivot, seeking to strengthen US influence in the Pacific to counter China's growing sway.
@RobertJHarsh - The $1,4 billion was for a year previously. And I just do not understand how people can get sucked into something just because they read it in a book, saw it online, or some flounder made the claim. The $1.4 billion was made by some guy who wrote a book. Apparently nowhere does he indicate how he came up with those figures. Another fellow looked at a year in the Bush presidency and came up with $1.6 billion. As far as I am concerned this is a meaningless and stupid figure. As Ronnie used to say, "Presidents are never on vacation, they just have a change of scenery (paraphrased).
@MRMacrum I know it's difficult to keep up with the real world, but Bush was done being president 4 years, $5.6 TRILLION in debt ago. I got your point, Axleshaft's boy has accomplished nothing, is likely to accomplish less in the coming four years and as one of his Kool-Aid sippers you are going to do your part by blaming others for his failings. It's a great point, as lame and the person it supports.
Asia is going to be our next major competitor. Somebody has to go lay the groundwork for good relations with this part of the world, and encourage democratic government growth at the same time. Clearly, the GOP lacks the foreign relations chops to manage it, so, yeah, President Obama is correct to make this trip.
Yes - he is right to go there. Obama is the most well respected President in modern times. His visit will create goodwill towards our country and will help the spread of Democracy. The USA is very lucky to have such a fine President. That's why we rewarded him with a second term.
@PNWest how did spreading democracy help us in Libya, if he is so well respected, why do we have a dead ambassador, 3 dead security personal and a burned out shell that was once an embassy? Perhaps the kids gloves with which we treat these little pesky countries, the kind words and billions in tax payer funds isn't working. How many millions will we hand out to have this country turn and stab us in the back? When will we learn?
Sure he went. Looks like he needed a quick lesson on how to destroy the USA in the next 4 years. The United Nations and several other organizations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country, including genocide, systematic rape, child labor, slavery, human trafficking and a lack of freedom of speech.The country is one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, suffering from decades of stagnation, mismanagement and isolation. The lack of an educated workforce skilled in modern technology contributes to the growing problems of the economy. The country lacks adequate infrastructure. Goods travel primarily across the Thai border (where most illegal drugs are exported) and along the Irrawaddy River. Railways are old and rudimentary, with few repairs since their construction in the late 19th century.Highways are normally unpaved, except in the major cities. Energy shortages are common throughout the country including in Yangon and only 25% of the country's population has electricity. Under British administration, Burma was the second-wealthiest country in South-East Asia. Oh how I'm sure they now regret their "hope and change" from British rule.
That's a very old, very myopic argument. Sure, we have problems at home, but try this analogy: Suppose you have a nice house in a nice neighborhood and you and you neighbors keep your lawns and gardens nice and trim. Then suppose the elderly couple next door have lost income (like maybe a devastated pension or savings plan due to Wall St. actions beyond their control) and can no longer afford to pay a gardener, and are too arthritic to do much lawn maintenance on their own. As a result, their yard has become unkempt and ratty-looking. Do you ignore it because it isn't your yard? Or do you and your neighbors find some way to help this poor old couple because, if you don't, that one tacky house on the street could lower everyone's property values?
We share this planet with billions of other people. We cannot afford to ignore them.
But in the liberal mind this should be far worse. The corpse-man gaffe was only a mispronunciation of the job title of one of those baby killers. Never mind that a corpse-man is a navy medic like my daddy who saved both American and Korean lives during the forgotten war. Never mind that President Obama mispronounced corpse-man after he had already been in office for over a year... one would expect him to have learned th correct pronunciation by then...
I say it should be far worse because Aung San Suu Kyi is the a prominent human rights activist. I thought the Left was the home of human rights and the Right was the home of... inhuman rights?... I can understand a lefty not caring if President Obama mispronounced corpse-man... but a human rights activist?
For some reason, I have the feeling that President Obama isn't that big on human rights... well, not Individual Human Rights... He might be for Collective Human Rights... Rights for racial groups and genitalia groups and class groups... but not individual rights... Not "negative rights"...