Friday, February 26, 2021

Burma’s junta strikes again

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The military junta in Burma, a k a Myanmar, detained top civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and at least 45 others in a coup on Monday. She should’ve seen it coming.

After all, Suu Kyi stood by as the junta — which never ceded most of its power — conducted an ethnic cleansing of the country’s Rohingya minority, with hundreds of thousands murdered or displaced from their burned-down villages. She even defended the action in global forums.

After 20 years under house arrest as a political dissident, Suu Kyi in 2015 won (some) power by promising to institute democracy and be a champion for human rights. Giving up on rights paved the way to defeat for democracy.

The army claimed it was addressing “election fraud” as it handed power over to Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and imposed a state of emergency for a year. In fact, the coup came as parliament was to sit for the first time since the National League for Democracy’s landslide election win on Nov. 8 — an election considered a referendum on Suu Kyi’s “democratic” government.

The junta likely also figured it would see what new President Biden would let it get away with. For starters, he’ll need to restore all the sanctions that the George W. Bush team used to push the military to cede power in the first place.

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