Myanmar, China, Human Rights, and “Dangerous Strategic Imbalance” in Asia

James Webb, junior senator from Virginia, has been speaking out recently about Myanmar and its relations with China. And Myanmar is often compared to North Korea, with which it shares a certain mode of dictatorship and military rule. However, Myanmar (formerly Burma) has had an active if suppressed democracy movement for decades now, making it quite distinct from North Korea.

Perhaps most interesting is Webb’s attempt go ramp up American public interest in the country by getting on the bandwagon of those who use the expansion of Chinese influence as justification for increased American engagement in Asia. However, Webb never gets terribly specific in his critiques of the regime, whose leaders he met first hand, and never does he mention Myanmar’s burgeoning and potentially dangerous ties in the weapons industry with North Korea.

Webb hits out at ineffective sanctions against Myanmar
MYANMAR Agence France-Presse in Washington Additional reporting by Associated Press
South China Morning Post
28 Aug 2009

Senator Jim Webb, back from a trip to Myanmar rare for a US lawmaker, called sanctions against the military regime “ overwhelmingly counterproductive” and asked the Myanmese opposition to consider taking part in upcoming elections. Senator Webb, whose…read more…

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