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External pressure important, said f
Subject: External pressure important, said former US diplomat
23 October 1996
External pressure is important for change to come in Burma, Mr. John
Haseman told a group of students here yesterday.
Mr Haseman, who was Defence and Army Attache of US Embassy in Rangoon from
1987 to 1990, said that the pressure of the United Nations, the
IMF and the World Bank are very important for change to come in this country.
He does not believe that ASEAN's constructive engagement is effective. He
sees it as a policy that came out of economic interest. ASEAN could
exert more pressure on Burma before this country gained the
organisation's observer status. Realizing this, ASEAN nations are now
thinking deeper on whether to admit this country into the organisation, he
On the question of 'will the Slorc finally suppress Burmese democracy?',
he said "Probably not". He said that neither party has the
possibility/capability of eliminating the other one. Internal dessension
within the Burmese Army or at the event of General Ne Win's death, there
might be a collapse of SLORC and some movement towards democracy, he said.
On possibility of building democracy, he said that the role of exiled
forces are important. There is no good bureaucracy in place in Burma today.
Only third/fourth level civil servants exist. The Burmese have to build
the country from the scratch. The Burmese people in exile can go back and
help it out in some say, he said.
One student asked him whether Burma is similar to Indonesia. He said,
Indonesia's military is admired and supported while it is not the case in
Burma. Burmese military lost the people's love on 8/8/88. It would take
years to build it up again, he said.
When asked whether SLORC could lead the country into prosperity, he said,
"No. Uneducated and unsophisticated SLORC literally donot know
what they are doing".
Referring to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, he said, "I admire her. She is
charismatic. But, the SLORC does not see her as her father's daughter,
but as her husband's wife. In the view of SLORC, she lost her political
right when she married a foreigner".
When asked his opinion on one Asian politician's statement that western
style democracy is not suitable for a country like Burma. He said, Burma
should have a different form of government.