Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Right Side of History

After weeks of positive social action in Myanmar, the military regime has done what many of us expected all along, turned to violence. Monks and their supporters have been marching in solidarity and called for reforms to the country. At a time like this, countries that support democracy need to heed the call to action that these marches represent. These monks have led similar marches in the past and have faced violent crackdowns. Still they march in defiance. The military dictatorship has committed crimes against humanity and even, it has been argued, genocide against some of the ethnic minorities that live in rural areas of the country. The time has come to act. We must move beyond sanctions and simple monetary action. Such petty and deplorable regimes must face a more constant pressure from both regional actors and the international community. This pressure should not include violence, unless it is decided upon in a multilateral way, and in the protection of those who are marching for democracy, or those who continue to face starvation and forced relocation throughout the country. Toppling a military regime with violence only opens a power vacuum that is often filled with another violent regime. In 2001 a U.N. commission published "The Right of Intervention" a document that made the argument that the right to intervene in the affairs of a country must be taken into account when its actions against its own people constitute genocide or other deplorable conditions imposed in a consistent and measured way. The U.S. has failed the test of history many times in the past, it is time we place our actions in line with our rhetoric and not in line with the interests of multi-national corporations.

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