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The West is failing to prevent disaster

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The people of Myanmar think the world has abandoned them, says Timothy McLaughlin in The Atlantic. Sadly, they’re probably right. An image sent round by protestors features a sign saying: Just 700 people killed in 70 days. Take your time UN. We still got millions left.” Concerns expressed in western capitals don’t mean much when soldiers are murdering your friends. The “gulf between what the people say they need and what the world is willing to offer” is enormous. A mishmash of economic sanctions aimed at Myanmar’s junta has been shrugged off. Protestors want the UN to invoke its “responsibility to protect”, a set of principles established in 2005 to prevent another genocide like those in Rwanda or the Balkans – the international community must protect people when their states are failing to do so. But a robust response has been stymied by “meanderingly sluggish” geopolitics. 

The resistance wants UN troops, too, which won’t happen. Russia wields a veto on the security council and supplies Myanmar’s military with weapons. Meanwhile, the country is sliding towards an economic crisis. The World Food Programme says up to 3.4 million more people will be hungry in the next six months. Myanmar is fast becoming “like Syria”, with a pariah regime presiding over “a rump state in near-permanent civil conflict and an economy in ruins”. 

Read the full article here.