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The Obama Administration’s Burma policy has maintained the full range of sanctions imposed by its predecessors, albeit with an accelerated pace and level of interaction with the junta-backed government.
Even by the Administration’s own assessments, however, the combination of sanctions and engagement has had no discernable impact on the regime’s behavior. Amidst what continues to be a deplorable human rights situation, nothing to date indicates that elections planned by the junta for later this year will be free and fair. Indeed, there is broad consensus that the elections will do little more than offer a transparent democratic façade to continuing iron-fisted junta rule.
Where does this leave U.S. policy – particularly in the lead up to and aftermath of elections there? Is the U.S. doing enough to support the Burmese people? Is it time to ratchet up sanctions? Are contacts with the regime aiding or hampering the cause of democracy in Burma? Join us to assess the situation on the ground in Burma as well as the options for U.S. policy.
More About the Speakers
President, International Republican Institute, and
former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
President, Freedom Now, and International Counsel to Aung San Suu Kyi
Fellow for Southeast Asia, Council on Foreign Relations, and
Author of Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power is Transforming the World
Director, Asian Studies Center