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Military Rule Declared in Myanmar
Another Problem for Hillary?

As violence flares in Myanmar’s Kokang region and thousands flee over the northern border into China, President Thein Sein announced the establishment of martial law. Stars and Stripes reports:

Myanmar granted its military unprecedented powers to deal with fighting between ethnic minority rebels and government troops in the Kokang region, after week-long clashes left dozens of soldiers dead and sent tens of thousands of refugees fleeing to neighboring China.

Two announcements, signed by Myanmar President Thein Sein, were read out on national television late Tuesday declaring a 90-day state of emergency and that a military administration had been imposed in the northern special region. […]

Thein Sein’s elected government, which came to power in 2011, has previously declared states of emergency because of sectarian conflict in the western state of Rakhine and for localized instances of fighting between Buddhists and Muslims.

But it was the first time his government has imposed a military administration, which gives the army executive and judicial powers in the designated region. The clause permitting this is in the 2008 constitution, which was drawn up under a military government, and is one of several that enables the military to continue to dominate the government.

This is bad news all on its own. It’s also sure to be unwelcome for the current Democratic front-runner for 2016. Hillary Clinton’s case for herself as a contender with serious experience rests on her tenure at the State Department; yet, two of the horses she bet heavily on, Libya and Myanmar, aren’t turning out to be winners.

As we noted earlier this week, ISIS’s activity in Libya will draw attention to the chaos the Western intervention left behind—just at the moment when one of the campaign’s leading proponents, former Secretary Clinton, is eyeing our country’s highest office. Clinton also spent years trumpeting Myanmar as a model of success, investing a great deal of political capital in the presidential hopes of opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung Saan Suu Kyi, who recently faulted the Administration’s optimism about democratic reform in her country.

For a candidate whose reputation rests on her foreign policy credentials, Hillary’s record of picking winners around the world doesn’t look too strong right now.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    Ideal diplomacy is not limited to the art of picking winners. Most all nations and diplomats have little problem being friends with their like-minded counterparts. Beyond the mere spirit of Machiavelli, statecraft also necessarily involves trying—-at least trying—-to improve questionable regimes with tactics other than threatening to bomb whomever we don’t like. Trying and failing in difficult places is not something to be ashamed of. Bombing people because you couldn’t think of anything else is something to be ashamed of.

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