Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Can I recomend against invading Myanmar?

update: Joshua Micah Marshall backs me up.

At least until we get competent governance?
The magic of this is that an enormous amount of assistance can be provided while maintaining a small footprint on shore, greatly reducing the chances of a clash with the Burmese armed forces while nevertheless dealing a hard political blow to the junta.
I somehow think that would create a clash.
Of course, the approval of the United Nations Security Council would be best, but China — the junta’s best friend — would likely veto it.
Maybe because they don't want to juxtapose a US proxy state? Would we support a China-led invasion? I think they'd be game.
The other challenge we face lies within Myanmar. Because a humanitarian invasion could ultimately lead to the regime’s collapse, we would have to accept significant responsibility for the aftermath. And just as the collapse of the Berlin Wall was not supposed to lead to ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, and the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein was not supposed to lead to civil war, the fall of the junta would not be meant to lead to the collapse of the Burmese state. But it might.
Can't make omelets....
It seems like a simple moral decision: help the survivors of the cyclone. But liberating Iraq from an Arab Stalin also seemed simple and moral. (And it might have been, had we planned for the aftermath.)
We did plan for the aftermath in Iraq, by the way. We just didn't use those plans. And I have to wonder at the idea that we'd strike decisively now, while "American armed forces are now gathered in large numbers in Thailand for the annual multinational military exercise known as Cobra Gold" and yet this time do adequate planning. Planning takes time -- that's the usual argument against doing it.

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