Policy on Burma demands a rethink

Source : Postbag, Bangkok Post

It is interesting to note that in the last week or so we have had statements from the army and now the National Security Council offering different views on the "Burmese problem".

Khun Kachadpai Burusphat of the NSC seems to think that co-operating with the Burmese will solve the problem. This is like asking the dog that is biting your leg to kindly open its jaws and be friends with you.

The fact is, in case you haven't noticed, Khun Kachadpai, the Burmese junta is an illegal government. Whenever it is described in the press and in discussions, we hear words like "junta", "suspicion", "suppression", "terror" and "torture". These are not words used to describe a democratically elected government.

We don't see the Thai government forcibly rounding up civilians as porters to carry materials to war zones. Nor do we see Thai citizens jailed because they criticise the government. Thais don't flee across the border to escape imprisonment, torture and death.

Even though the junta continues to deny these abuses, there is plenty of evidence, and witnesses, to support the charges.

And if the junta is not involved in supporting the drug trade, why would their top "equal among equals" (don't you just love that?) visit the drug producers at their bases near the Thai border? Was it just a social visit to admire the beautiful poppies?

Instead of worrying about the Burmese viewing Thailand with suspicion because we offer humane assistance to refugees from the junta, it would be better to view the Burmese generals with suspicion and act accordingly.

Why isn't Thailand actively supporting the return of democracy in Burma? Are there perhaps financial reasons for this? Or are the people responsible for these policies just plain blind?

It seems to me that the government, the NSC, the army and a group of ordinary citizens should sit down and discuss the Burmese problem in earnest. I think the NSC would soon find out that it stands alone in its approach to "solving" the Burmese problem, the national security problem, and the drug problem.

The problem is not in Thailand. It is across the border where the junta viciously controls all power and the people.

The drug problem in Thailand won't be solved until the root cause of it is attacked. The drugs are not being made here in Thailand. The drug factories are able to operate in Burma because there is no effective government in charge of the country.

It's time to reassess Thailand's stand and start acting positively towards the ordinary people of Burma. If the revolution comes before Thailand is seen to back the right side, it will suffer the consequences in the future.

Why would a democratically elected Burmese government want to deal with a country that backed its oppressors? Something to think about, Khun Kachadpai.