Thursday, October 04, 2007


Hoots has an excellent post up on the happenings in Burma with lots of links. He quotes from the New York Times.

Natural gas from Myanmar, which generates 20 percent of all electricity in Thailand, keeps the lights on in Bangkok. The gas, which this year will cost about $2.8 billion, is the largest single export for Myanmar’s otherwise impoverished and cash-strapped economy.

Thailand’s gas imports highlight the dilemma facing China, India, Singapore and Malaysia, among other countries, as they vie for Myanmar’s hardwoods, minerals, gems — and access to its market of 47 million people.

At a time of spiraling world energy prices, the prospect of extracting resources appears to override the embarrassment and shame of dealing with a junta that has attracted world notoriety. For this reason, the countries that have the most leverage over Myanmar seem to be the most reluctant to use it, analysts say.
Hoots then goes on with a report on the US relationship with Burma:

Relationship: Washington has called for political change in Burma and expressed support for the recent protests. In 1997 the US banned new investment in Burma, and in 2003 it banned most Burmese imports and dollar transactions. It has announced it will impose further sanctions against 14 senior officials in Burma's government, including the country's acting prime minister and defence minister. But in common with the other Western countries, the US realises its influence is weak when compared to that of China, India and Asean.

Interests: As a result of sanctions few economic interests remain, a major exception being the US share in the Chevron-Total gas project.

Comment: "The world is watching the people of Burma take to the streets to demand their freedom and the American people stand in solidarity with these brave individuals." US President George W Bush.
Hoots then finishes with this comment:
Don't wanna mess with that Chevron deal, do we?
Stuff like this doesn't help my cynicism one bit.
Actually it is that very cynicism first evidenced with respect to Iraq that prevents action.

Plus I'm not sure it is Bush/Chevron.

Total is one of the most corrupt oil companies in the world.

Do a 'net search on:

Maurice Strong Total Oil for Food

for starters. Mr. Strong is a Canadian. Total is a French Company. I did a posts on that when the topic was hot. Belmont Club was also on the case. Especially the Oil for Food angle. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review also looks into Mr. Strong.

BTW what would you suggest Bush do? He has his hands full trying to clean up the mess genocider Saddam created. Remember the mass graves of women and children in Iraq? And suppose Bush did do something. How soon before the "No Blood for Oil" folks started marching and screaming. The left/Democrats have painted themselves into a corner. The worst kleptocracies/dictatorships in the world are countries that depend on resource extraction.

If you really are interested in fixing more places we are going to need a much bigger army. What are the odds that the Democrat congress will give the authorization and vote more funds? Even if they did it takes two years to get new troops into the field.

It is really too bad that the Iraq adventure isn't totally bi-partisan. We might then be able to help more of the oil despotisms in the world.

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