Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Myanmar. We look at that nation’s steps toward democracy and rising strategic importance.
Hillary Clinton heads into Burma – Myanmar – tomorrow, the first US Secretary of State to make the visit in more than half a century. That’s a long time.
Burma was the dreamland of the British Empire. Rangoon. Mandalay. Its wilds have for ages stood between what are now two booming powers: India and China.
Now China would like to see Myanmar as its California – a second coast of pipelines, highways, and access to the sea. A break in Myanmar’s military dictatorship has given the US a chance to say hello.
This hour, On Point: Southeast Asia’s new strategic crossroads – Myanmar.
Andrew Quinn, foreign policy correspondent for Reuters.
Thant Myint-U, author of Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia.
David Steinberg, professor of foreign service at Georgetown University and author of Modern China-Myanmar Relations: Dilemmas of Mutual Dependence.
From Tom's Reading List
Washington Post "The Obama administration is taking a foreign policy gamble by sending Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on a historic trip to the isolated Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar this week."
Foreign Policy "After 20 years without a parliament and democratic process, its new leaders are now showing a surprising impatience with the status quo and are changing the way this country is ruled. Western policymakers should sit up and take notice of these reforms — and, most importantly, respond."
Foreign Affairs "By contrast, the boom in China’s Yunnan Province has boosted Myanmar’s economy and brought the country closer to China, which covets a pathway to the Bay of Bengal, an important shipping hub."
We played two selections from "Mahagita: Harp and Vocal Music of Burma" from Smithsonian Folkways on today's show:
"Lonely in the Forest"
"A Huntsman Enchanted"
This program aired on November 29, 2011.