Promoting REAL Security through International Cooperation and Democracy Building
This week we have all seen the horrors unfold the territory formerly known as Burma. It was renamed Myanmar in recent years by the ruling military junta. Up until 2 weeks ago Myanmar was the internationally recognized and used name for this state much to the dismay of Democracy activists and Buddhist Monks. Now, since the pictures of a dead Monk floating in the Inle Lake and the truth of the military dictatorship have immerged in mainstream media the international community has jumped on the ‘democracy for Burma’ bandwagon.
Isn’t it a little late to support these Democracy activists? Would it not have been more productive to address this issue back in 1990 when a general election voted agianst the militaristic government and these results were thrown out by then State Peace and Development Council Chairman Than Shwe? This is the man who responsible for the atrocities of recent weeks and for the renaming of this once democratic country.
Pres. Bush, at the UN meeting declared that we must support democracy in Burma. After our invasion he declared we must support democracy in Iraq, and after 9/11 he declared the Afghans ‘hated us for our freedom’. Why, after we supplied AK47’s and rocket launchers to the Taliban to support our proxy war with the Soviets did they have such a change of heart against the U.S.?
Surely, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism was a significant factor. But how did this rise occur? The Taliban, like the SPDC did in Bruma, took over Afghanistan with military might. They terrorized Afghan citizens, created a huge refugee crisis, and institutionalized Madrasah educational systems to teach Islamic fundamentalism to the oppressed and disenfranchised population. It is apparent to me that if we had supported a democratic movement and given non-military aid (in the way of education and basic necessities) to citizens in those early years we could have avoided the tragic events of 9/11. Subsequently, we could have avoided the current international quagmire we find ourselves in today. No one straps a bomb to their body if they are leading a fulfilling and secure life.
The only way to combat terrorism and promote grassroots democratic systems is to engage the population BEFORE the violence comes to a head. We have the largest military in the world and yet we have no Peacekeepers. We allocate 90% of our security budget to our own military and a fraction of it to international cooperation. It is time we switched our priorities to secure a future for our children and children all over the world.