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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.