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'Burma’s Coup and Biden’s Choice'

The Wall Street Journal

Malcolm Riddell

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The Editorial Board | The Wall Street Journal

'Burma’s Coup and Biden’s Choice''Burma’s Coup and Biden’s Choice'
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Burma: At the Center of the U.S.-China Competition

‘The top U.S. priority in Asia is limiting Beijing’s ability to control independent states like Burma, which is strategically situated in the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. response needs to take into account China’s regional designs.’
‘From protests in Moscow to Chinese air incursions over Taiwan, the world is wasting no time testing Joe Biden’s foreign policy team of liberal internationalists.'

  • ‘On Monday Americans woke up to the news of a swift and (so far) bloodless coup in Burma, whose transition to democratic government was touted by the Obama Administration as one of its major achievements.’

‘The Biden Administration is rightly denouncing the move, but the U.S. has limited leverage acting alone.’

  • ‘The West has used market access as a carrot to urge Burma’s military rulers to cede power to Ms. Suu Kyi.’
  • ‘Yet the extent that a power transition actually occurred was exaggerated.’

‘A return to economically isolating the country of 54 million on China’s southern border could hurt the Burmese people and play into Beijing’s hands.’

  • ‘As our Walter Russell Mead wrote in 2019, “Western fecklessness has made China look to Myanmar like a more stable and reliable partner.” '

‘The top U.S. priority in Asia is limiting Beijing’s ability to control independent states like Burma, which is strategically situated in the Indo-Pacific.’

  • ‘The U.S. response needs to take into account China’s regional designs.’

‘China is holding back from condemning the coup, likely in hopes of making diplomatic inroads with a military government.’

  • ‘Yet U.S. ability to engage will be reduced if Burma falls further into China’s orbit.’

‘Burma poses difficult dilemmas on democracy and human rights.’

  • ‘Yet U.S. ability to engage will be reduced if Burma falls further into China’s orbit.’

‘The American response to the coup must take into account the strategic landscape in Asia.’

  • ‘That will require realistic diplomacy, not only moral denunciation.’
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