U.S. Policy Towards Burma: Issues for the 112th Congress [August 8, 2011]   [open pdf - 702KB]

"A robust discussion has arisen around U.S. policy towards Burma. Some Members of Congress, senior officials in the Obama Administration, noted Burma scholars, and representatives of various interest groups have weighed in on this discussion, offering their views on the merits of current U.S. policy towards Burma and what policy changes ought to be made. Among the commentators, there is general agreement that more than 20 years of political and economic sanctions, and nearly two years of 'pragmatic engagement,' have not led to the achievement of the stated goals of U.S. policy towards Burma--the release of all political prisoners from detention and the transfer power to a representative, democratically elected civilian government that will respect the human rights of the people of Burma, including its ethnic minorities. […] The installation of a new government in Burma and the appointment of Derek J. Mitchell to serve as the first Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma are viewed as creating a 'honeymoon period' in which Congress and the Obama Administration can review and, if desired, adjust U.S. policy towards Burma. The genesis of U.S. policy towards Burma was largely driven by Congress passing legislation after particularly egregious actions by Burma's ruling military junta. The 112th Congress is currently considering legislation (H.J.Res. 66 and S.J.Res. 17) that would renew certain import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. If the history of the development of U.S. policy towards Burma is indicative, any dramatic new development in Burma--either good or bad--could prompt Congress into action."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41971
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