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Burma: why sanctions won’t work

The recent protests in Burma were magnificent but doomed. It's time for the international community to swap talk of sanctions for a more pragmatic view of how change might be brought to a closed society

By William Barnes   October 2007

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The brave and photogenic protests in Burma have left much of the international community fretting over its inability to rein in a bruising military regime. Yet the conclusion being drawn by many western politicians and media pundits is that Burma needs more of the very policies that have failed to make a noticeable dint in its stony-faced junta’s front for almost two decades.

Sanctions and attempts to cold shoulder the generals do not work because Burma’s neighbours see no reason to join in. Aside from its lush resources and strategic…

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