Biden announces US will sanction Myanmar's military leaders following coup


Last week's data in myanmar provided the new us administration of president joe biden with its first major foreign policy crisis. We now have an idea of america's response. President biden has signed an executive order imposing sanctions on the coup leaders. This will be followed by measures to block the myanmar's military access to government funds held in the us. Further measures seem likely showed the gionta not to american demands that democratic order be restored one by louis lukens former. Us diplomat now senior partner with cigna global advisors liu first of all this all seem certainly measured against the last four years widely normal. Doesn't it well it does. You're right andrew. It does seem normal and there is a policy process in washington. That was carried out there. Tony blinken and president biden consulted with about this issue and then came to a decision to impose sanctions so very normal. Didn't learn about it by tweet. Sort of back to the good old days of foreign policy. I think not that. I'm wishing to sound overly nostalgic four the immediately preceding four years. But in an instance like this is this orthodoxy helpful. I mean the demand. Maurice generals rather priced this in. Wouldn't they well. The process and the consultant with allies is helpful whether sanctions themselves will be useful remains to be seen sanctions. Tend to have very limited effectiveness and the people who are targeted by sanctions. In this case the military leadership Tend to be able to to be somewhat immune to the effects of the sanctions. They and so the. Us has walk a very fine line in trying to punish the leadership but in a way. That doesn't actually trickle down and really hurt. The the average burmese people who who are responsible for the the off course well just as a general principle then. Is there any reason to imagine that the people behind the coup. D'etat actually care what. The united states thinks that. This point probably not much reason to think that they care you know. China is their number one trading partner. They do roughly three third of their trade with china and the us is not even in the top five list of trading partners So you know it's great that the us has a couple allies on board. And i think the tony blinken talk to his japanese counterpart yesterday to to sort of coordinate a little bit on this but if china is not going to impose sanctions which they won't it really reduces the effectiveness of what the us can do in that especially in that country where we have very few ties. So how much of the american response. So far and i guess what we might still see often. American response is not so much the new. Us administration hoping it can affect an outcome in this specific circumstance but is more trying to set a general tone trying to establish. This is how this administration is going to do business. This is how we're going to react to things. Yeah look. I mean even if even if the sanctions are completely symbolic sends an important message that the that the united states will not tolerate this kind of activity and will work to promote the the sustenance of democratic governments around the world if the united states had ignored the coup in myanmar mar. I think that would send a message to people thinking about overthrowing governments around the world that hey we can do this now and get away with it now. The burmese military leaders may still get away with it remains to be seen whether the us sanctions will have any effect or not but the us had to send a message in some ways. This is a new administration and we're gonna take democracy seriously. How much more. Careful is the united states being about me on mob this time than it might have been during the previous stretch of military rule because in that period of course it did seem like a much more straightforward good guys versus bad guys proposition than you had this. All neha canonized a leader in waiting under house arrest on sang suci Whose stature. I think has been somewhat reduced by her own complicity with the people who've just thrown out of a job. Yeah i mean certainly. Her stature has been diminished over the last years in. Not just yeah. i mean. Basically because of her alignment with the military leaders in sort of her reaction to the the genocide in myanmar. That said i think the united states is trying to look at is not from the perspective of individual personalities but from the perspective of the principles of democracy and our unwillingness or or distaste for To go along with with appearing to support a military coup so we have to come out. The united states had to come out and strongly against this coup and short of military action economic sanctions against the people who perpetrated a coup really. The only way to go for now. The united states does of course have a diplomatic relationship with me on march for the moment at least any way you have been a diplomat serving abroad for the united states in a in a circumstance like this is there anything ambassadors another embassy staff on the ground candu or is it more likely case. They've just been told to make as little noise as they possibly can. Well i think the probably been quite vocal. I think in and you have to walk a fine line. You don't wanna be so vocal against the new leaders in the military that that you get thrown out of the country because certainly that is a possibility now. But you wanna make america's presence known and you wanna know you wanna make america's policies known so my guess is that Certainly through social media which is of limited value in me mark. I think the government has cut down. Cut off a lot of the internet but they they will be trying to work through their networks of of Dissenters and people in civil society to try to get the word out that the united states is with you. And we're working on this. How important is it to the united states to get at least some sort of result out of this. I mean i understand what you're saying about. How the united states is obliged to lay down the law here especially with the new administration but he is there a risk that they are seen to have done exactly that and have not make the blindest bit of difference to anything. Well there is a risk. I mean if if the us government left it as it is now the just the sanctions. That would be a worry but my guess is that Tony blinken will be is embarking on on a of diplomacy with counterparts around the world to try to to you take it to the next level not necessarily only through sanctions through a global reaction against this coup again. It comes back to the challenge. That is hard to do something. The un security council If china doesn't go along with it and china's unlikely to go along with any condemnation of the military leaders in in myanmar But i think tony blinken will certainly be trying to rally allies onto the us side honest

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