Obama, Burma and Indonesia
Via the always thoughtful Dan Twining:
Last Friday, Indonesia’s electoral commission certified the winner of the country’s recent presidential election, a free and fair contest that demonstrated the strength of democratic norms in a country ruled for decades by strongmen supported by Washington. Meanwhile, next door in Burma, a political show trial is preparing to convict that country’s legitimately elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, of “crimes” she did not commit, most likely renewing her jail sentence to prevent her from contesting elections next year. Curiously, the Obama administration is flirting with the idea of normalizing relations with Burma’s military junta, at a time when Indonesia’s example — and Indonesian leaders’ outspokenness about Burma’s repressive political system — should be spurring the United States toward greater support for Southeast Asian democrats, rather than legitimizing the notion that Burma should be governed by the kind of strong hand that has been thoroughly discredited in Indonesia and across the region.