By Peter Symonds
10 May 2008
The catastrophe wrought by Cyclone Nargis on the Burmese people has provoked an extraordinary campaign by the US and allied powers, and in the international media, demanding that the military junta open its borders to aid and aid officials as well as to American military aircraft, troops and warships. Once again an attempt is being made to stampede public opinion with heartrending images of desperate survivors and devastated towns, accompanied by an incessant drumbeat condemning the Burmese regime for its inadequate aid efforts, its insularity, and its failure to accept international, especially American, aid.
One should immediately pause and recall the outcome of similar “humanitarian” exercises. In 1999, the plight of Kosovan refugees was exploited by the US and its allies to wage war against Serbia and transform the province into a NATO protectorate largely “cleansed” of its Serbian minority. In the same year, Australia, with the backing of the US, used the violence of Indonesian-backed militias to justify a military intervention into East Timor to install a regime sympathetic to Canberra’s economic and strategic interests. After nearly a decade the local populations in both countries continue to live in appalling conditions, with none of their fundamental needs having been met.
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