Man is free at the instant he wants to be.
Burma’s government is making me rethink my attitude towards foreign involvement. My personal experience has led to to view intervention unfavorably: I grew up on overseas military bases, which are not always family-friendly. Later, I watched the Iraq failure along with the rest of America, which led me to believe that military involvement in other nations should be incredibly limited.
For me, limited meant only helping if a nation ask us for help, or if the United States was under attack. Even in those situations, I’m very weary of violent solutions. Direct force just doesn’t seem a viable problem-solving method.
Enter Burma: a cyclone kills as much as 100,000 people, and the insane military dictatorship in charge denies all foreign aid. Are they protecting the opium trade? Do they just hate their own people and want them weak and helpless, so as to better control them? In short, how is any of this alright?
Also, a democratic parliament does exist for Burma, but the Junta has exiled them (the military party received less than 2% of the vote when elections were last held). It would seem that Burma’s government is holding the people hostage, thus negating the truth of the above Voltaire quote.
The international community, and the United States in particular, have the power to force aid on the Burmese people. The military could sweep in, knock out the powers-that-be, let the parliament back in, and start administering aid to cyclone victims. Mekhami mentioned rebuilding Burmese infrastructure and guaranteeing stability. I disagree. While I’ll tentatively admit to a moral obligation to provide aid, I can’t see any such obligation to rebuild Burma. They’re still entitled to national self-determination. The only reason I’m even thinking it is acceptable to remove the current government is because they’re refusing to accept help for their own people in a rather drastic situation. Nation-building is at the heart of the Iraq quagmire, and we don’t need two of those.