Mettre fin à l’isolement de la Birmanie

NEW YORK – La décision prise par l’administration Obama de rechercher une nouvelle voie dans les relations entre les Etats-Unis et la Birmanie est liée à la constatation que des décennies d’isolement de la Birmanie (Myanmar) pour contraindre le régime à modifier son attitude n’ont pas donné les résultats escomptés. Alors que les généraux qui dirigent le pays ont annoncé des élections dans le courant de l’année – les premières depuis 1990 – il est temps d’essayer une nouvelle approche.

Tenter d’entamer un dialogue avec l’un des régimes les plus autoritaires qui soit ne sera pas chose aisée. Rien ne permet de penser que les dirigeants birmans réagiront de manière positive aux principales demandes de l’administration Obama, soit la libération des quelques 2100 prisonniers politiques (dont Daw Aung San Suu Kyi), l’ouverture d’un véritable dialogue avec l’opposition et la tenue d’élections inclusives et transparentes. A vrai dire, les nouvelles lois électorales annoncées par les autorités, et qui ont été condamnées au plan international, font penser que le processus électoral ne sera guère crédible.

A l’automne dernier, nous avons constitué un groupe de travail sous les auspices de l’Asia Society pour évaluer la meilleure manière dont les Etats-Unis pourraient engager des discussions avec la Birmanie. Nous sommes arrivés à la conclusion que Washington ne devait pas soutenir ou encourager involontairement les éléments corrompus et autoritaires de la société birmane. Mais qu’en même temps, les Etats-Unis ne devaient pas fixer la barre trop haut dès le départ pour ne pas se couper de toute intervention efficace permettant à la Birmanie de s’affranchir d’un régime autoritaire et de rejoindre la communauté internationale.

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