President Joe Biden on Monday threatened new sanctions on Myanmar after its military staged a coup and arrested the civilian leaders of its government, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi – and pointedly called the country ‘Burma.’
Warning: Joe Biden said he will consider sanctions in the wake of the coup which unfolded on Monday morning
Biden assailed the country’s armed forces for the coup, calling it a ‘direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and rule of law.’
The coup has been roundly condemned internationally.
‘The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy,’ Biden said in a statement.
‘The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action. The United States will stand up for democracy wherever it is under attack.’
Myanmar has been a Western democracy promotion project for decades and had been a symbol of some success. But over the past several years, there have been growing concerns about its backsliding into authoritarianism. Disappointment with Suu Kyi, the former opposition leader, has run high, especially over her resistance to reining in repression of Rohingya Muslims in the country’s west.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken had condemned the coup in a statement released overnight, and called for the military to ‘reverse these actions immediately’.
The White House’s use of ‘Burma’ not ‘Myanmar’ is a pointed snub to the coup leaders. The country was renamed Myanmar by the last military junta in 1989, but the name was not adopted by the U.S. and other countries because the regime was not democratically elected.
Only a couple of weeks into its term and the Biden administration is already on course to get America involved in the internal affairs of a foreign country. In this case Burma/Myanmar. So much for the America First years of the Trump administration. The Daily Mail reports: