Image by Breff via Flickr
Active engagement wins from economic sanctions in international politics, Shaun Rein tells the Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. In Forbes he compares China’s and the United States’ strategies for dealing with rogue regimes.
As much as I respect Suu Kyi (and I respect her a lot), I feel certain that she needs to go beyond reconciliation and rethink her strategy of pushing the Western world to implement stringent economic sanctions against Myanmar. She should be promoting active economic engagement instead.
Economic sanctions do not cause the downfall of unsavory regimes. They only further impoverish ordinary people who live in terror and hardship. In fact, sanctions bolster regimes, as they concentrate power more tightly among elite families, who become more insecure and heavy-handed in their attempts to annihilate opposition as they grow to fear for their lives. They starve common people while doling out benefits to a select few thugs….
Engaging China has been a much smarter move compared to isolating it, Shaun Rein argues:
Unless you are a fool or a knee-jerk ideologue, you can’t argue that the quality of life of most Chinese isn’t far better now than just a decade ago. In 2000 it was difficult for Chinese to move freely within the country. This year 52 million Chinese traveled abroad. They are the biggest per-capita foreign spenders in France…
Active engagement and economic ties helped bring about China’s reforms, and they continue to improve life for ordinary Chinese. Aung San Suu Kyi should learn from China’s experience with reform. Active engagement is a proven model for bettering people’s lives. Economic sanctions are a failed policy.
Shaun Rein Fantake via Flickr