"President Obama took office hoping that constructive diplomacy [read: elegant talking - JP] could yield progress on some of the thorniest foreign-policy challenges facing the United States. Among these was Burma...." Thus begins today's WaPo story, which quickly continues as everyone of reasonable clarity always expected. "This week the regime delivered its answer: Get lost."
Everyone in the world is aware that Burma's ruling junta is guilty of a longstanding "pattern of gross and systematic violation of human rights." In 2007, I wrote of the massacre of peaceful, pro-democracy monks and the international community's failure to respond. Burma's junta has now excluded the only opposition party in its sham democracy from participating in anticipated elections.
WaPo concludes: "Mr. Obama was right to offer, cautiously, an open hand. It has been spat upon. Now is the time for something new." The first sentiment is naive, the second foreseeable and the third long overdue. When the WaPo is calling for a - shall we call it, "smarter" - strategy, one must wonder how long it will take for Obama to (even quietly) concede that the world is a harder place than he imagined - and not just because mean, Western conservatives aren't listening hard enough to everyone else.