Buddhist Monks Are Key to Change in Burma

Diplomatic efforts to 'engage' generals won't lead to democracy
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 6:00 PM CDT
In this image released by The Sundance Institute, a still from the documentary "Burma VJ," is shown.   (AP Photo/Sundance Institute, Susanne Mertz)
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(Newser) – The extension of Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest today serves as the latest reminder of the injustice at the core of the Burmese government. Past US policy revolves around sanctions, which further isolate the country and drive it into China’s economic embrace. Some congressional figures have called on President Obama to find a way to “engage” the ruling generals to enact change in Myanmar, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

But this line of thinking ignores that it is the Burmese people who must ultimately take their freedom, the Monitor’s editorial board argues. And the best way to access the people is through the Buddhist monks, who support Suu Kyi and led the thwarted 2007 uprising. US diplomacy should seek to “engage” them, rather than the junta.