Conflict & Justice

Clinton won't lift Burma sanctions. Yet.


U.S. President Barack Obama stands by Myanmar President Thein Sein at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.



The pace of change in Burma (officially called Myanmar) has been positively dizzying.

So dizzying, in fact, that it's brought us to the most remarkable moment in U.S.-Burma relations in decades: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to the isolated nation in December.

But those fearful that the U.S. is getting too cozy with some of the world's worst autocrats can take comfort.

Hillary won't spearhead a repeal of America's hardcore Burma sanctions during her trip, according to AFP.

Global Post has explored Burma's changes through the eyes of former political prisoners, hip-hop party kids and others in our three-part Burma Rebooted series. In the span of a year, the country's forecast has gone from hopelessly bleak to partly sunny.

Now it's time to pump the brakes and figure out what, exactly, the generals who've helped sabotage this nation should do to earn the lifting of American sanctions. 

The Council of Foreign Relations has a useful five-point checklist to gauge whether reforms are here to stay. Regardless of which direction the Obama administration takes, officials will likely catch flak. Pro-democracy stalwarts won't be happy unless ex-junta chiefs are locked away. Others want to see the U.S. offset China's overwhelming influence.

But the big decision on sanctions -- which, in large part, requires the approval of Congress -- won't be made just yet.

“The secretary’s visit is in part to add momentum to what’s taken place and to explore what’s going forward but there are no plans right now to lift sanctions,” a U.S. security advisor told AFP.