Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Myanmar Mutilates Maverick McCain

John McCain is the maverick of Washington! Indeed... apparently he's so much of a maverick that he hires lobbyists who support the Burmese military junta - a "government" soundly condemned by even the our own "selectively pro-democracy" foreign policy (in fact, the US is the #1 opponent of the Myanmar/Burmese junta). So, our favorite POW "war hero", the straight-shooter of the Republican party and supposed opponent of torture, hired advisers who actively lobby for governments with documented, atrocious human rights records.

Here's a little context: Perhaps the least of the Junta's sins is the continued detainment of Aung San Su Kyi - Burma's elected prime minister and Nobel Peace-Prize Laureate. The junta, in power for the past forty-six years (under multiple names - the most current is the "State Peace and Development Council"), has a long and colored history of violently oppressing the Burmese people. In just the past twelve months, two events are of note: The massacre of hundreds of Buddhist monks and thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators in the end of September, and the ongoing refusal to allow humanitarian aid workers to provide relief to its people in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis (which has left over 60,000 dead - a total that continues to mount).

Of course, we have no way of knowing if Senator McCain was consciously aware of the less-than-savory ties among his advisers - but this incident, among some of McCain's more recent position "modifications", only serves to solidify the feeling that the good Senator may not be the straight-shooter he has worked so hard to be portrayed. Facing political reality is one thing, allowing pro-dictator lobbyists into your inner circle is quite another!


Nick Dreher said...

I would find it hard to believe that McCain is actively supporting these lobbyists. However, this seems to be another instance of McCain lack of information and knowledge in an important foreign policy area. He has done a considerable amount to prove his lack of knowledge on the economy and on the different Muslim sects (knowing these differences is fundamental to diplomacy in the Middle East). It is more probable that he is unknowingly supporting these lobbyists. It is another case of McCain being out of his depth in this presidental campaign. Clearly the man doesn't understand contemporary policy enough to run the United States

Sean said...

Hey Nick - I happen to agree, in that I doubt that McCain would knowingly endorse the junta. At the same time, to be unaware of lobbying efforts - especially potentially dangerous ones - done by his own senior staff is inexcusable.

McCain is a good person to have in the Senate, and good on campaign finance and trying to compromise and work across the aisle, but I doubt he has the understanding of the rapidly shifting international dynamics to be President. I even have my doubts about Hillary, and I think she's leaps and bounds ahead of McCain.