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article imageUS House To Strike Burma's Junta In The 'Wallet'

By Can Tran     Jul 15, 2008 in Politics
While the Western nations are powerless to do anything about the situation in Zimbabwe, the situation in Burma is but another story.
It was not long ago that both China and Burma were devastated by natural disasters. China was rocked by an earthquake dubbed as the Sichuan Earthquake. Burma was rocked by Cyclone Nargis in which many lives were lost. Both China and Burma have committed actions within the last few months to warrant international backlash.
For China, it was the crackdown on pro-Tibetan independence demonstrations.
For Burma, it was the junta’s treatment of the people. There was the treatment during the pro-democracy demonstrations back in October of 2007. And there was the treatment of the people who were made victims of Cyclone Nargis.
But, responses of both countries were different. China gratefully accepted the international aid and even took the initiative to help pay for its reconstruction. That was not the case with Burma. Instead, Burma did the complete opposite.
For many weeks, the issue of Burma was eclipsed by other issues such as the violence in Zimbabwe prelude to the June 27 runoff elections. Zimbabwe did not end up like Kenya. Zimbabwe ended up like Burma.
Now, the US House is taking action against Burma’s junta. They have voted on freezing the assets of Burma’s leaders. There was a bill already voted on that would bar timber from Burma. Now, this new bill to freeze assets would extend to barring rubies from being imported from Burma.
According to Democratic Representative Howard Berman of California, this is a means to hurt the regime financially. So far, it has been getting support from jewelers such as Tiffany’s and Bulgari.
In a nutshell, the US House will bleed the Burma out of much money each year. There is one question that should be asked: Will there be international assistance in the future? While the US House is moving to ban these imports, those goods could still get imported to other countries.
Ultimately, one should ask: How effective will this measure be?
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