Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Myanmar and the death of Responsibility To Protect (update 6)

So after another weekend of hemming and hawing and outright intransigence by the Myanmar junta -- as of yesterday, they'd let in scarcely a third of the requested UN staff, according to a rough estimate by humanitarian chief John Holmes -- even UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took the gloves off a bit and blasted the regime's response as "unacceptably slow" while expressing his "immense frustration." In my home country of the United States, where Hillary Clinton can threaten to "totally obliterate" Iran without drawing a raised eyebrow, Ban's comments don't sound like strong stuff, but coming from the UN Secretary-General, this is a formidable escalation of rhetoric.

The French, meanwhile, are determined to bring the issue up in the Security Council, despite the fact that China won't let any resolution pass and the entire developing world is against the idea. The French Deputy Ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix threatened to bring a resolution DEMANDING that Myanmar be more responsive to the international aid community, putting his government squarely in the Anne Applebaum school of thought. If this transpires, Ambassador At Large can report in advance that the Chinese will take this resolution and very quietly drown it in a back-room bathtub.

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