Friday, May 30, 2008

Superpower prepairs to abandon cyclone victims

This is one of those small, easily overlooked news items that signals something quite momentous. Jane's reports:

The commander of US naval operations in the Pacific Ocean, Admiral Tim Keating, said on 28 May that US Navy (USN) ships off the coast of Myanmar waiting to deliver aid to cyclone victims might soon depart.

Adm Keating stated during a Department of Defense press briefing that if the Myanmar government refuses to give the USN permission to deliver food, shelter and medical treatment to victims of the 2 May cyclone, the four ships currently on standby will have to abandon their relief efforts.

The regime could care less about a million dead poor people. Let's stop pretending otherwise. Who does Adm Keating think he is warning here? The regime is only interested in its self-preservation and enrichment. The farther away the US navy is, the safer the junta feels. That's probably its only calculation.

Note how times have changed! Compare the resolve the US has shown at times of crisis throughout the past sixty years, to this dismal perfomance. The world's only military superpower has been in a position to rescue a million Burmese cyclone victims for weeks. It has stood by with supplies (medicine, fresh water, food, tents) and the means to deliver them (helicopters and small boats). Similarly equipped French and British ships accompany the Americans on the high seas just off Burma. Yet the US and its allies have done nothing. Why?

Because the criminal regime in Myanmar has not "authorized" their delivery.

The "threatened" departure of the ships is not only indicative of the leadership vacuum in Washington D.C., it is an abduction of high moral principle that will not soon be forgotten.

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