When dealing with the junta in Myanmar, it has been a careful walk for international powers debating whether to step in and provide aid to the country without hindering possible peace talks. With the recent cyclone in the delta region, international aid came to the rescue; the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, and Australia collectively donating $240 million, a figure the UN hopes to double, to assist the delta region. This sudden influx of assistance has placed a damper on the progression of peace talks and a negotiation between powers.
International Crisis Group, ICG, has called for “national reconciliation” and world-wide participation and influence used to pressure the junta. It requires long-term participation by all who can make a difference to use diplomacy. Talks must somehow be achieved through world-wide influence and pressure. For years Western countries have been reluctant to provide any aid because of a looming fear of providing strength to the junta.
All involved parties, jumped at the opportunity to assist in the damages and economic situation, despite the fact that the country’s leadership is a sworn international enemy. Our immediate donations and continued aid have now left leverage on the side of the junta, as feared, who no longer need to establish a durable negotiations process to limit the military regime and human rights violations. The junta’s only objective is to retain power at any costs. Now they know that that world will come to their aid and they can dictate the terms and conditions. However, between a rock and a hard space, it would be viewed as neglect for human rights and dignity had the international community not come to the aid and survival of the number of survivors with nothing to build a life upon.
The status quo will remain and the people in Myanmar will be worse off than they were after the aid goes away. The only hope is for the small group of rebels in place to gain more numbers, support and modern weapons. If no aid had come and many had died, it may have been enough to get a full blown revolution within. Only through a combined international effort of Western powers, organized as quickly and cohesively as the donated relief funds, can progress be achieved. It has already been reflected that peace talks will not occur at a pace quick enough to provide significant relief to the people of Myanmar through the failed recognition of aid organizations and the UN within the country. As such, our best positive option is to combine pressure against the junta to stop what atrocities they are committing and use whatever forms of aggressive negotiations may prove helpful at this time. Combined efforts world wide would provide a hit from all angles, showing the junta that their behavior is unacceptable and encouraging a drastic and immediate change. v