Of course I agree with Andrew Sullivan that ruling out ineffective, self-righteous, needlessly bellicose, or simply stupid steps in dealing with Burma should not mean: Hey, let's do nothing at all!
As with North Korea, as with Iran, as with anything important, it's a matter of knocking off the bombast and posturing -- about pre-emptive air strikes in the case of Iran, about Olympic boycotts in the case of China and Burma -- and using our brains, that neglected tool in Bush-era foreign policy, to figure out where we might most effectively apply pressure. Ingloriously, but realistically, for Burma this will probably involve some scheme to buy the generals' way into exile, before they have further chance to slaughter more of their own people.
So in solidarity with Andrew: slogans and hollow threats, No. Continued pressure to enlist the Chinese, the Indians, the ASEAN countries, and others toward removal of the junta, Yes.
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is a staff writer for The Atlantic
and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the new book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America,
which has been a New York Times
best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.