The think tanks have come up with a way to get the army in Myanmar to heel. Get China, which is a large investor in the country, to intervene. If China, declines to intervene, European Union countries should boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Now that gives the Chinese something to think about !
The upshot is that the diplomatic community is passing the buck to China as it finds itself impotent against a repressive regime in Myanmar that at this point cares for nothing else than its survival in power.
The boycott of the Olympics is however unlikely to pan out, because other interests, stronger than the fate of the democratic movement in Myanmar, will come to the fore. Will the US for example agree to a boycott of the Olympics ? It views China as a strategic partner in Asia, far more important than old ally Taiwan, and has turned a blind eye to Chinese repression at home. Nor will the European countries like the UK and France agree to boycott the Olympic games, and give China a stinging rebuke over Myanmar.
The regime in China, and the army in Myanmar know that caught up in their business interests, the world has become impotent to fight against repression. So you will find China making some polite remonstrations while the army in Myanmar gets on with its brutal work. After it is done, it may even announce that it has backed off at the request of the Chinese.
In recommending a boycott, vice president of the European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott, has shown a large heart. “The civilized world must seriously consider shunning China by using the Beijing Olympics to send the clear message that such abuses of human rights are not acceptable,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
But political decisions by large nations are not from the heart, but conceal cynical long-term calculations. As the nations of the world debate on a boycott, the massacre in Myanmar will be over. So our only option may be to sit back and watch the massacre. We did that in 1988.
UPDATE: Internet connectivity has been cut off in Myanmar, even as the army intensifies its crackdown on protesters. Blogs, instant messenger, and video sharing sites had provided locals an opportunity to get information on the clampdown to the world outside.