No alternative to the Burmese junta?

This is an interesting from-the-trenches point of view of democracy in places like Burma and Pakistan.The author, Juwono Sudarsono, is the Indonesian Defese Minister and he posts the view that while Aung San Suu Kyi and Benasir Bhutto may be good to look at and be the Liberal thinking man’s crumpets, they do not have viable alternatives to the reprehensible regimes in power in their respective counties.

Better the devil you know?

clipped from
Reading and viewing Western print and satellite TV and their Southeast counterparts recently, it’s hard to believe that there is deep understanding about the historical, cultural and economic context of what these media call present day Myanmar and Pakistan.

The staple line of argument among liberal media circles in the West is that the “military junta” or “military regime” in Myanmar and Pakistan need to be changed into liberal democracies along the lines of what politicians, legislators and media pundits in America and Britain seemed to be obsessed with. The illusion that Aung San Suu Kyi, Benazir Bhutto and/or Nawaz Sharif and their coterie of politicos/lawyers are able to devise a alternative, competent and unifying “democratic”political system remains a strong and, at the same time, naive and dangerous one.

  blog it

2 thoughts on “No alternative to the Burmese junta?

  1. As a defense minister, he should know better, at least when it comes to Pakistan.. when it comes to its own backyard, ASEAN politicians are notorious for playing it safe, and it’s not like the situation in Burma is getting worse, it’s just stagnating.

    Virtually all of Pakistan’s troubles are military related. Islamic radicalization? General Zia ul-Haq. Taleban? Creation of ISI, the military intelligence folks. We think Nawaz Sharif was bad, but under Musharraf even more radical parties fill in the gap left by his banishing of the two main parties.

    Musharraf is going down, and in this case, Western urging that he seek rapprochment with Bhutto is not out of any democratic sentiment — Bhutto’s party remains popular, and an arrangement between the two is the best way for Musharraf to gradually relinquish power without bloodshed.


  2. Interesting to see a commentary coming from a Minister. Bravo to the Blogosphere.

    The reasons its “hard to believe” the media has a deep understanding of history, culture and economies of Pakistan and Burma is because the media just doesn’t. Discussing Burmese literature at a Washington hack’s happy hour’s a good way to clear the bar. Some goes for Pakistan.

    It’s “hard to believe” Juwono believes there is a single “western liberal media,” a favorite construct of the US right.

    At the same time, he probably has a point; ASKK’s said to be quite authoritarian in many ways, despite her Dad being a democrat.

    But he also said this kind of thing about Indonesia back in the ’90s, as did many others. Indonesians aren’t ready for democracy, democracy’s a Western construct, better Asian values. All turned out to be crap in the end.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s