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Subject: Re: REPORT ON COMMUNICATIONS (13/11/95)

>From: Dr U Ne Oo <uneoo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>The debate on "isolation vs. engagement" has been a subject of interest
>to the Burmese prodemocracy groups for a long time. The advocates
>of isolation (Isolationist) prefer foreign embassies to withdraw
>from Burma, and also to cease the official representation of SLORC
>at the United Nations. To isolationists' belief, the regime will
>simply collapse by making international isolations thereby denying
>international legitimacy.
>>From my point of view, the total isolation do not present as the best
>solution for Burma's problems. The isolation might bring a collapse
>of SLORC, however the greater danger will await since there is no
>alternative body that is ready to govern the country. For this
>reason alone, I would prefer the "benchmarks" or "critical dialogue"
>approach which is a middle-way between the isolation and engagement.
>I believe this approach also present the best opportunity for the
>democratic forces to exercise a non-violent resistance to the oppression.

I would like to respectfully disagree with your characterization of the
position of the Burmese democracy movement as "isolationist."

As a supporter of the Burmese democracy movement in the international
community, I would like to point out that the goal of my work and others is
not to "isolate" the SLORC, per se. 

Our goal is a peaceful transfer of power to a democratic government, similar
to that which took place in South Africa.  Since the SLORC is blocking this,
our tactics are to weaken the position of the SLORC and strengthen the
position of Aung San Suu Kyi and the democracy movement. This puts pressure
on the SLORC to meet Suu Kyi's request for a dialogue. It also puts the
SLORC in a weaker position vis-avis the democracy movement once real
negotiations begin.

Consequently, our opposition to investment and tourism in Burma is not
designed to make Burma collapse economically. It is simply aimed at
preventing business deals that wholly or disproportionately benefit the SLORC.

Economic pressure is amongst the most effective non-violent tactics. The
SLORC needs to be put between a rock and a hard place. We aim to be the
biggest rock possible.

Simon Billenness
Franklin Research & Development