The purpose of Hillary Clinton's trip to Myanmar becomes clearer as she arrives in the country today: it's not so much to hammer out any deals with the nation but rather to see how well (or poorly) the country has been behaving. "I will obviously be looking to determine for myself what the intention is of the current government with respect to continued reforms," Clinton said in South Korea before jetting off to Myanmar, which is sometimes called Burma, according to CNN. Myanmar got its two-day diplomatic trip from the U.S. secretary of state, first since 1955, for making some slight democratic reforms over the past several years. Now the U.S., in that "world police" role much of the globe bemoans, will play hall monitor in the nation this week looking "for signs of real change, with "no restrictions of her activities." The New York Times speculates that some small changes could be announced -- "like returning an ambassador or supporting aid and international financing" -- but most major things require Congressional approval.
The issues the two countries have to wrestle with are hardly child's play, though. The U.S. wants Burma to frees its some 1,600 political prisoners and stop cooperating with North Korea, according to The New York Times. So U.S. officials remain a bit skeptical of reining in the misbehaving nation:
Administration officials acknowledge that they do not fully understand how the government makes its decisions and whether the changes are merely superficial or the beginnings of an opening similar to Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s perestroika in the Soviet Union.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.