Is Sec. of State Blinken right to condemn Myanmar's military coup?
- Myanmar sits on the western coast of Southeast Asia, and was known as the English Burma until 1989. It is bordered by China, Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, and the Indian Ocean on the west.
- From 1962 to 2011, Myanmar was under the control of the junta military. In 2015, free elections were held led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Because of tensions and oppression within the country, “half a million Muslim Rohingyas” fled to Bangladesh to seek safety. As of February 1, the army placed Vice President Myint Swe in charge and overthrew President U Win Myint and Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup. They believed the recent “landslide election to be marred by fraud.”
- A coup, or Coup d’etat, is defined as a sudden, violent overthrow of government, usually referring to seizure of control by the armed forces, police, or military.
- On Sunday, January 31, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, called for the release of Myanmar’s government leaders, saying, “respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8.”
- The United States is the world’s wealthiest nation and provides more foreign assistance than other countries, but at a “smaller amount of GNP than most other wealthy nations.”
The military coup in Myanmar has presented the United States with an opportunity to meddle where we shouldn't. The fault in Secretary Blinken's condemnation of the coup lies in the fact that it's simply not our place, and it sends a bad message to the world during a bad time.
The US government has been criticized heavily in the past for getting involved in the affairs of other countries. According to Reuter, President Biden 'warned the United States was 'taking note of those who stand with the people of Burma in this difficult hour,'' insinuating that we were keeping a close eye on the situation. Regardless of what is occurring in Myanmar, it isn't our responsibility to step in or to claim to be 'taking note' of the situation until we are asked or until the situation becomes dire and we are obviously needed.
One of the main arguments for the United States condemning the military coup is that Myanmar is on the path to democracy. The Himalayan Times reports that Blinken 'demanded that Myanmar immediately reverse these actions.' The US condemning the coup and keeping watch over the situation if it doesn't favor democracy sends the message that we don't respect other forms of government or the will to fight for change within their own governments.
Regardless of what we could do to help, Secretary of State Blinken and Biden's cabinet are still solidifying into their federal roles. It's not the best idea to begin criticizing another country while still having issues to address inside our own borders to make life better for our own citizens.
As a leading democracy in the world, the United States has a duty to encourage the promotion of democracy throughout the world and to condemn the actions of those who try to stifle the will of any nation's people. According to Japanese election monitors, the 2020 national election in Myanmar was free and fair. The coup that resulted from the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, amongst others, is a direct affront to the will of the people, and Secretary of State Blinken is right to condemn it.
With his condemnation, Secretary of State Blinken has put the United States in line with several other significant world powers. European Council President Charles Michel expressed the European Union's disapproval over the events, as did Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general. Other more regional nations such as India, Singapore, and Indonesia have also expressed concern over the events. This shows that all of these nations recognize the gravity of the military's actions, and the United States is right to show a unified front in addressing them.
It is important that the United States came out quickly with a strong condemnation as a deterrent to other potential rogue military leaders who might have designs for their own coups. Without strong and unified objections, military leaders in developing democracies could be emboldened by the traitorous coup's success in Myanmar. Secretary of State Blinken's condemnation is especially crucial for the continued strength of American influence as rivals on the world stage, such as China and Russia, have remained silent over the coup.