East Asia

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 15–33 | Cite as

Intra-European Bargaining and the ‘Tower of Babel’ EU Approach to the Burmese Conundrum

Article

Abstract

Since the 1990 imposition of an arms embargo, the European Union has kept on furthering its sanction policies towards Burma’s military regime in response to its poor record on human rights and authoritarian rule over the country. However, more than a decade after the 1996 EU Common Position on Burma, the European approach to the Burmese conundrum has still failed to achieve its initial objective of facilitating a transition to democracy and of stimulating aid and development in the country. This article seeks to underline the limits of the EU position by highlighting the internal and external obstacles the Europeans have been facing in their policymaking process towards Burma. It is argued that the varied and multiple interests of the 27 EU members; an influential European public opinion favouring an attitude of ostracism; and misunderstandings or miscalculations in appreciating the current state of Burmese affairs have hindered the EU from playing an efficacious role. Moreover these factors also impede its reappraisal.

Keywords

Burma Common position Engagement EU foreign policy Myanmar Ostracism Sanctions 

References

  1. 1.
    AUNG KIN, 1980, “Burma in 1979: Socialism with Foreign Aid and Strict Neutrality”, Southeast Asian Affairs (1980), 93-117.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    AUNG-THWIN, M., 2001-2002. “Parochial Universalism, Democracy Jihad, and the Orientalist Image of Burma: The New Evangelism”, Pacific Affairs, 74, 4 (Winter), 483-506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    ASHTON, S.R., 2005, “Mountbatten, the Royal Family, and British Influence in Post-Independence India and Burma”, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 33, 1, (January), 73-92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    EGRETEAU, R. & JAGAN, L., 2008, “Back to the Old Habits: Isolationism or the Self-Preservation of the Burmese Military Regime”, IRASEC Occasional Paper, No. 7 (December).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    HOLLIDAY, I., 2005. “Rethinking the United States’ Myanmar Policy”, Asian Survey, 45, 4 (July/August), 603-21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    HOLLIDAY, I. 2008. “Beyond Burma vs. The World”, Far Eastern Economic Review, 171, 5, (June), 48-51.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    HOUTMAN, G., 1999. Mental Culture in Burmese Crisis Politics: Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, Tokyo: ILCAA Monograph Series.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    KUDO, T., 2008, “The Impact of the US Sanctions on the Myanmar Garment Industry”, Asian Survey, 48, 6 (November-December), 997-1017.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    PEDERSEN, M., 2000, “International Policy on Burma: Coercion, Persuasion or Cooperation? Assessing the Claims”, in PEDERSEN, M., RUDLAND, E., MAY, R., eds., Burma/Myanmar: Strong Regime, Weak State? London: Crawford Publishing House, 195-240.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    ROBERTS, C., 2006, “Myanmar and the Argument for Engagement: A Clash of Contending Moralities?”, East Asia, 23, 2 (Summer), 34-62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    SEEKINS, D., 2005, “Burma and US Sanctions: Punishing an Authoritarian Regime”, Asian Survey, 45, 3 (May/June), 437-52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    SELTH, A., 2008, “Burma’s Saffron Revolution and the Limits of International Influence”, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 62, 3 (September), 281-97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    SMITH, M., 1999, Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity, London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    STEINBERG, D., 1990, “International Rivalries in Burma – The Rise of Economic Competition”, Asian Survey, 30, 6 (June), 587-601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    STEINBERG, D., 2007, “The United States and its Allies: The Problem of Burma/Myanmar Policy”, Contemporary Southeast Asia, 29, 2 (August), 219-237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    TAYLOR, R., 2004, “Myanmar: Roadmap to Where?”, Southeast Asian Affairs, (2004), 171-184.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hong Kong UniversityHongkongChina

Personalised recommendations