Obama Sending The Wrong Message To Burma

This post come from Daniel Sullivan on behalf of United to End Genocide.

Despite ongoing grave abuses against ethnic groups, last week President Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Burma. While important reforms have begun in Burma, a presidential visit was a reward too far and sends the wrong message.

U.S. policy of lifting economic pressure and restoration of full diplomatic relations with the government of Burma following some economic and political reforms has failed to bring any relief to those lacking humanitarian aid in Kachin state or to prevent further violence and abuses against other ethnic groups, particularly recently against the Rohingya.

Some 75,000 people remain displaced in Kachin and Shan states with limited access to urgently needed international aid. At least 180 Rohingya have been killed and over 100,000 displaced as the government has tacitly or overtly supported abuses and the devolution of communal violence into systemic, largely one-sided, targeting of the Rohingya.

Rather than acting to quell violence and protect civilians, Burmese officials have promulgated hatred and even encouraged a policy that amounts to ethnic cleansing at the highest level. President Thein Sein asked the United Nations to arrange for 800,000 Rohingya to be placed in refugee camps or removed entirely from Burma.

A change of course is needed, first to avert the most immediate threat of further systematic violence against Rohingya and, second, to reintroduce the threat of consequences in the dialogue with Burmese authorities. The first can be done through pressuring the Burmese government to do more to grant humanitarian access to displaced populations, revise citizenship laws and to protect Rohingya as well as through the deployment of UN mandated observers in order to investigate the violence, deter escalation and ultimately hold perpetrators accountable.

The second can be done by reiterating the fact that sanctions have not been removed, but rather suspended and can be put back in place if egregious human rights abuses continue.

President Obama raised the Rohingya issue publicly in the main speech of his visit saying there is”no excuse for violence against innocent people,” but it is unclear if he went any further in private conversations with President Thein Sein. The threat of a return to sanctions or other consequences was also absent, with only generic references that the “flickers of progress that we have seen must not be extinguished.” Ahead of his trip Obama provided yet another reward by lifting the import ban on Burma, though he at least maintained the ban on gems, the material most closely linked with abuses in ethnic areas.

If Obama was really standing with the people of Burma, he would not have gone on this trip. But since he did, there was no excuse for him to not visit ethnic groups suffering under the policies of the Burmese government and advocating for the deployment of United Nations mandated observers in Rakhine state where Rohingya have been overwhelmingly targeted in recent weeks.

As decade long abuses continue and new ethnically motivated violence threatens to spread, the United States should recognize that the incentives offered to this point, and especially a Presidential visit, bring a special responsibility to use U.S. leverage to avert further catastrophe.

In the aftermath of previous mass atrocities and ethnic cleansings, the world pledged, “never again.” Instead of rewarding “flickers of progress” by dining with those enabling the killing and displacement of the Rohingya and other ethnic groups in Burma, Obama should have been standing on the side of the oppressed, calling for an end to the violence and threatening to pull back U.S. support for the Burmese government if the ongoing abuses are not immediately addressed.


Related Stories:

The Neverending Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Explained

UN Declares Birth Control Is A Universal Human Right

Genocide Is Brewing In Burma


Photo from Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty


Susan Zitzler
Susan Zitzler5 years ago

To me obama is an idiot and a good con artist who has fooled the world and wait until he destroys the USA and we all become his slaves as he makes himself the dictator of this country. Then all will see what he is really all about. You all who voted for him will soon find out how he will "burn" you all as he had made you all fools like sheep led to the slaughter. However those of us who "did not vote for obama" those of us who see what he is all about (unlike you stupid fools who did) will also have to suffer at all the continued destruction, joblessness and lose of homes will continue as obama completes his job of destroying the USA. The rich will leave the USA and take their money elsewhere, businesses will close, more will lose their jobs as business have the choice to have to survive by reducing their employees that they will have to give health insurance for. Banks will close and people will start to take their money from the banks as a depression approaches us all. Hell is coming, be ready and see what a bad choice you who voted for him made.

Susan Zitzler
Susan Zitzler5 years ago

Yes, Obama is running around like a chicken with his head off and getting nothing done again. This will be another four years or less hopefully of more hell and destruction. Nothing will change, same of crap he will continue to do nothing good for the USA and its people. He rarely is in the White House unless there is a party going on otherwise he is golfing and traveling.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill5 years ago

We have serious problems here that need to be fixed so what does he do? He goes there. Where is his leadership of our budget problems? There is none!

Dorothy N.
Dorothy N5 years ago

GOP-supporting corporations may own much of the media, but the word's getting out via PEOPLE-POWER!

Lol, the Democrats are letting the American public in on what's going on with the obstructionist GOP in Congress, and I've just got a fund-raising letter that made me laugh out loud - no more BS will be tolerated, although Americans who can contribute to spreading the word throughout America are certainly needed:

Speaker Boehner says Obamacare must be on the table in the Fiscal Cliff negotiations… WHAT?!?!

Did he forget what happened in the election? Did he forget that House Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare after voting on it 33 times?

If Boehner and the Republicans need a reminder of what happened on election night, we’re more than happy to give it to them. Help us raise $100,000 before midnight tomorrow so we can pressure Republicans who refuse to budge and call them out in their home districts.

Boehner and Cantor just don’t get it. The American people are done with the Tea Party histrionics that come out every time we need to pass a bill. These guys don’t understand that the Tea Party is over. No more debt-deal showdowns, no more middle-class hostage taking, and no more shutdowns.

Donate $3 or more right now to send a message to Boehner and Cantor: The Tea Party is over.


Democratic Headquarters

Louise D.
Louise D5 years ago

That is the price of diplomacy you have to appear to be friendly to bad regimes, look how Reagan was bum kiss O'clock with the Argentinian Junta whilst they were throwing political opponents out of airplanes into the Atlantic ocean. It is not a good thing especially given that Burma is doing a little ethnic cleansing (one of the more obscene euphemisms around) that is not escaping the world's notice. This is about curtailing the Chinese whose economy is ready to surpass America especially when it holds American debt.

Toby S.
Past Member 5 years ago

The China number has significance.

Dorothy N.
Dorothy N5 years ago


Mexico: 88 % Obama, 12 % Romney
Middle East: 79 % Obama, 21 % Romney
Peru: 75 % Obama, 25 % Romney
Philippines: 62 % Obama, 38 % Romney
Poland: 64 % Obama, 36 % Romney
Portugal: 94 % Obama, 6 % Romney
Russia: 73 % Obama, 27 % Romney
Singapore: 82 % Obama, 18 % Romney
South Africa: 68 % Obama, 32 % Romney
Spain: 82 % Obama, 18 % Romney
Sweden: 90 % Obama, 10 % Romney
Taiwan: 69 % Obama, 31 % Romney
Thailand: 65 % Obama, 35 % Romney
Turkey: 73 % Obama, 27 % Romney
UK: 85 % Obama, 15 % Romney
Venezuela: 77 % Obama, 23 % Romney

You see, Allen Y., much of the rest of the world has protective laws against people knowingly lying on the public airwaves and presenting it as 'news', so we aren't subjected to the steady battering pf propaganda many Americans are - so we have access to reality, and a strong interest in a sane, reasonable US President being elected.

Dorothy N.
Dorothy N5 years ago


According to the Daily Mail, Duncan Hooper, managing editor of MSN News & Sport, commented on the figures for Britain: "Mitt Romney lost all hope of winning Britons' hearts after suggesting the country wasn't ready to host the Olympics. He made so many gaffes during a visit to London that it became known as the 'Romneyshambles.'" Hooper said: "Barack Obama is still remembered as the man who represented a significant and welcome change after the much maligned George W Bush's eight years in the White House. Obama's struggles on the domestic scene have gone largely unreported over here compared with his dignified and well-timed overseas visits."

... The Daily Mail summarizes the survey results showing how the world would vote:

Argentina: 83 % Obama, 17 % Romney
Austria: 93 % Obama, 7 % Romney
Belgium: 93 % Obama, 7 % Romney
Brazil: 90 % Obama, 10 % Romney
Canada: 83 % Obama, 17 % Romney
Chile: 80 % Obama, 20 % Romney
China: 48 % Obama, 52 % Romney
Colombia: 77 % Obama, 23 % Romney
Costa Rica: 83 % Obama, 17 % Romney
Finland: 93 % Obama, 7 % Romney
France: 88 % Obama, 12 % Romney
Germany: 92 % Obama, 8 % Romney
Greece: 82 % Obama, 18 % Romney
Hong Kong: 85 % Obama, 15 % Romney
India: 64 % Obama, 36 % Romney
Indonesia: 87 % Obama, 13 % Romney
Ireland: 86 % Obama, 14 % Romney
Italy: 87 % Obama, 13 % Romney
Japan: 75 % Obama, 25 % Romney
Latin America: 79 % Obama, 21 %

Dorothy N.
Dorothy N5 years ago


The Daily Mail also reports a poll of more than 570,000 people world wide that reveals that the rest of world have no doubt who they want as president of the United States.
The poll conducted in 36 countries revealed that an overwhelming 81 percent favor a second term for Obama and only 19 percent want his Republican challenger as president.
What would appear the most inexplicable result of the polls is that the Chinese "voted" 52 percent in favor of Romney. Political pundits may want to debate the reasons for this.

Another notable result of the poll comes from the UK. In spite of the fact that a Romney aide touted the Republican challenger's Anglo-Saxon connection with the British, UK citizens appear big fans of Obama with a whopping 85 percent saying they favor Obama over Romney. Analysts say Romney may have angered the British with his unsavory comments about preparedness for Olympic 2012.
According to the Daily Mail, Duncan Hooper, managing editor of MSN News & Sport, commented on the figures for Britain: "Mitt Romney lost all hope of winning Britons' hearts after suggesting the country wasn't ready to host the Olympics. He made so many gaffes during a visit to London that it became known as the 'Romneyshambles.'" Hooper said: "Barack Obama is still remembered as the man who represented a significant and welcome change after the much maligned George W Bush's eight years in the White House. Obama's struggles on the domestic scene have gone large

Dorothy N.
Dorothy N5 years ago

Allen Y., I think you have the person with no clue mixed up with someone else, perhaps Limbaugh - the corporate mouthpiece - or wherever else you get your misinformation.


Polls say Obama would win by a landslide if the world could vote

By JohnThomas Didymus
Nov 5, 2012 in Politics

The US presidential election would be bereft of suspense and less exciting if the rest of the world could vote. Recent polls reveal that left to non-Americans Obama would win by a landslide.

According to a BBC survey conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA between July and September, Barack Obama has overwhelmingly higher global approval ratings than his Republican challenger. ...

... The GlobeScan/PIPA survey indicated that two-thirds of Canadians prefer Obama. This is consistent with the Angus Reid survey that indicated 72 percent of Canadians favor Obama over Romney.
The Huffington Post also reports a September survey by Win-Gallup International, that indicated that the rest of the world favors an Obama presidency. According to the poll, 18 percent of global support went to Mitt Romney, while Obama won 81 percent.
The global straw poll included over 26,000 men and women in over 30 countries. Obama's biggest fans were in the Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland and Iceland, while Pakistan, Georgia, Israel, Macedonia and China favored Romney.
The Daily Mail also reports a poll of more than 570,000 people world wide that reveals that the re