Time to Think about Major Strategy Change

06 November 2007

Re-post from ko htike's blog

Recent developments in our homeland and the attention it gets in the
international community give Burmese another hope for a democratic
change. And the change of tones from world capitals especially from
neighboring countries makes us rethink our strategy how to topple the
long-rooted authoritarian rule.

First and foremost, it is no surprising for us to hear more
condemnations and sanctions from the West including the United States.
It is natural for western democratic governments to support any
democratic movement worldwide. However, we should also note that the
sanctions imposed so far failed to act on companies that are currently
benefiting from Burma, eg. Total. The sanctions also missed the
individuals and groups that support the regime financially, eg. Max
Myanmar. In my opinion, the opposition groups in exile are depending
too much on the west that leads to suspicions from some Asian
capitals. The best strategy with the west is to convince them that
future benefits after the democratic change in Burma is much greater
for western firms and some sacrifices have to be done presently to
achieve our common goals. At the same time, the opposition groups
should have access to lawmakers and government officials to discuss
about expanding the list of sanction. With those changes, it will be
very difficult for the regime and its cronies to call the "business as

Secondly, let me discuss about the two giants, China and India,
surrounding our country. The Dragon and Tiger found the common game
field, Burma. It is not in their interest to have a democratic Burma
nor a Western supported government of any kind in their backyard.
Their main interest is not to let the other dominates the game field
and to prey on scarce food, here it refers to resources. China is more
important for military government because it is a permanent member of
UN Security Council and is providing logical and material support for
the SPDC. The opposition groups in exile should admit the fact that
their initiatives on boycotting Olympics will result in nothing but
the media attention and applauses from the oppressed Burmese. No
western government will support the idea and it will push Chinese
government to continue defending SPDC rather than pushing SPDC to
change. Opposition groups in exile should continue talking to China
and use conciliatory measures to keep China pressure the regime. In
case of India, we have nothing but to let India stay neutral as long
as it does not promote SPDC. It yields no power on Burma and it will
take whatever it gets from the regime to keep its mouth shut. The
ideologies are the same for Russia and it is natural to see Russia to
counter the West. We should never expect the moral values from these
three countries.

Lastly, and most importantly opposition groups should increase their
relations with ASEAN countries especially with its current president,
Singapore. Recent changes in their stance toward the regime are
plausible especially from Singapore. Today, I have read an article
from Channel News Asia, a semi-government mouth piece, about Ministry
of Foreign Affairs' response to 88 Generation Students Group's letter.
Never did they recognize the existence of such a group before. I am
sure it is time for the opposition groups to grasp the opportunity to
contact Singapore government to exchange views. It is obvious that
Singapore and other ASEAN governments don't want to see an outpost of
China in Burma.

Let me conclude by saying that it is time for us, especially the
opposition groups in exile under different banners, to rethink the
strategic plans according to the developments happening rather than to
stick our old strategies. The world has changed in its response and so
must we.

An Ordinary Burmese Analyst


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