March 28, 2014

Myanmar: Another Failure For Secretary Of State Clinton

When Hillary left as Secretary of State, her allies argued that Myanmar’s trend towards democracy was the “one clear-cut triumph” of her tenure. However, as Foreign Policy reports, the few policy areas where Clinton has claimed success, including Myanmar, are now beginning to look more like glaring failures. Hillary’s record of Secretary of State is in danger “of being viewed as underwhelming and overly cautious when compared to that of her successor, John Kerry.” Clinton, however, believed she at least had Myanmar to point to.

Hillary was highly involved in Myanmar. No high-ranking U.S official had visited Myanmar until Hillary Clinton did so in 2011. While there she “promised to establish new U.S.-led development programs, provide tens of millions in medical aid, and consider the exchange of ambassadors.” Clinton also announced in 2012 that the U.S would be easing a ban on imports from Myanmar.

Today though the situation in Myanmar is “rapidly receding as sectarian violence escalates and the government backslides on a number of past reforms.” The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently had to pass a resolution insisting that the Myanmar government respect the rights of minorities in the country. USAID reports, “more than 600,000 people have been displaced by civil conflict, and nearly 1 million are in need of humanitarian aid” in Myanmar. Even the State Department noted in a report that there were “credible reports of extrajudicial killings, rape and sexual violence, arbitrary detentions and torture” against the country’s minorities.

Looks like what was supposed to be “the crown jewel” in Clinton’s record as Secretary of State has actually become the latest example of failed foreign policy.