7 June 2008

The WSWS received the following emails for and against the article “Why the propaganda campaign for international intervention in Burma?” See:A reply to supporters of "humanitarian" intervention into Burma”.

While many of the global hypocrisies, political issues and inadequacies may be true—there comes a point in a crisis where this is irrelevant—it is sheer bloody mindness not to accept US and other international aid and promptly. There is NO excuse. No philosophy. No politics. It’s simply inexcusable.

Therefore the whole context of your article is utterly offensive and stupid. This is an issue of sheer human desperation.

Your solution appears to be politicking while people die. And did you say you’re socialists? Heaven help us.

LR

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Your coverage seems incapable of taking a view of Burma that doesn’t fall into the Manichean trap of assuming that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and that no pressure on or condemnation of the junta is possible without colluding with U.S. military aims. Some questions are not answered by your coverage, as a result: Is Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, and Thai aid sufficient? (Even leaving aside the question of whether their intentions are any less rapacious or interventionist than those of the U.S., as if capitalism were a racial rather than an economic phenomenon.) Is it unrealistic to expect that NGOs should be allowed to come in? Your story fudges the question with its broad condemnation of the junta’s being pressured to “open their borders.” Does such an opening of necessity mean military intervention? Can they not be pressured to open their borders to NGOs or to forms of nonmilitary aid? What is to be done? Hundreds of thousands of people are at immediate risk of death, so it’s more than a little frustrating to hear nothing but assertions of the absolute necessity of resisting calls for military intervention, as if the options were that or nothing. I feel as if I’m stuck in the U.S. mindset where in some strangely inverted way it’s still all about “us”.

LE

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So you think that your comments about the brutality of the Burmese government will innoculate you against the obvious fact that you are simply shilling for socialism. Your concern with having western nations send aid to Burma is that it would mean capitalists are once again rescuing the disaster of a socialist experiment gone wrong. And your concern is that capitalism will gain a foothold in Burma when you would rather have the people of Burma starve to death than to let that happen. Morons like you have never been able to offer the world anything but police states and you have been too stupid to figure out that your ideology can never evolve to anything other than police states because people are not ants, and they never will be. The only way that you can ever implement “To each according to his needs and from each according to his abilities” is to force it on people, because no one will ever voluntarily accept the arrangement—no matter how long and how hard you try to brainwash them. Marx was a total idiot with zero understanding of what humanity is all about.

TR

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I’m a regular reader, and I want to say kudos for your really superb article. It’s no easy task to stand up to the tide of human sympathies overflowing for the victims of the cyclone, and without in the least denying those sympathies, divert them away from the cartoon heroes-and-villains of the media show, and channel them into a clearer understanding of what’s really happening. Your last two paragraphs especially are clear, passionate and powerful.

Congrats and keep up the good work.

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Am I just imagining this, or are the western powers (particularly the UK, the US, and France) still speaking of Myanmar as if it were their imperial property? Do they not understand that much of the reason that the government’s (righteous) suspicion of them (most tragic though it is in this case) stems from hundreds of years of European and North American dominance? Can they still not understand the concept of blowback?

RV

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There is no better example of the practice of ‘Disaster Capitalism’, so eloquently and incisively advanced by Naomi Klein in her recent book, where imperialist powers, also own governments, advance their commercial and geo-political agendas, that could be difficult to accomplish, on the back of traumatised populations after a humanitarian catastrophe, were people would not accept the ‘reforms’ at other times. Some might remember Condoleezza Rice’s comment straight after the tsunami that devastated parts of Sri Lanka, Thailand and Bangladesh in December 2004, as‘an opportunity for US firms’.

This sentiment is no aberration, it stems from the very logic of capitalism and goes in a straight line from the 11th September 1973 in Chile, the 9/11 attacks (still not explained), the Katrina disaster, and the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami. The last two gave capitalists an opportunity for ‘social engineering’: with Katrina, to get rid of the predominantly black population down to ‘planned’ 30% in New Orleans, including condominiums and gated communities, and in the latter [tsunami], the expulsion of seaside fishing villages, for tourist developments. None of these would have been possible without violent resistance or revolution of the affected population. Typical is the comment of a US official: ‘we didn’t destroy community housing, God did’ referring to New Orleans. Of course, the disasters can be natural or man-made.

Turning to today’s situation in Burma, where, at present, over 100,000 are feared to have perished, the response of the ‘international community’ is predictable: US and French navies are ‘standing by’ off the Burmese coast, whilst Bush issues conditions for the derogatory $3m aid package, worth about one hour’s fighting in Iraq, whilst Bernard Kouchner [French Foreign Minister] threatens to “break open the door” of the military regime. Notably, there was no mention of lifting the US-imposed blockade on Burma.

Judging by this, it’s quite on the cards, that an ‘humanitarian’ invasion is in the offing. What a great opportunity to further encircle and threaten China!

MS

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