Asean has done something it considered drastic. The grouping has issued a statement to tick off its member nation Myanmar following the latest bloody crackdown by the military government against the pro-democracy movement led by Burmese monks.
According to reports, Asean foreign ministers 'expressed their revulsion to Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win over reports that the demonstrations in Myanmar are being suppressed by violent force, and that there have been a number of fatalities'.
They demanded that the country's military junta 'immediately desist from the use of violence against demonstrators' (The Straits Times pix). Even bloggers in Singapore are up in arms. See postings on The Singapore Daily, Tomorrow and The Void Deck.
The Asean rebuke is a departure from its past stance of non-interference in the affairs of its ten member nations.
But it's simply ain't good enough anymore. Asean should consider doing something more drastic to restore peace and image in its own backyard. What Myanmar is doing internally is affecting the image of the rest of the neighbourhood.
I'm not going to sit still if my neighbour kills members of its own family. I will enter my neighbour's house to stop the killing or call the police to interfere immediately. No more niceties.
First, Asean should consider booting out Myanmar from the grouping, as suggested by a Malaysian lawmaker. That's a longer term move if the junta remains in power and refuses to accept the release of all political detainees, including opposition leader and Nobel Prize laureate Aung Sung Suu Kyi.
It's better for Asean/UN to send in troops to restore peace in Myanmar instead of waiting for Uncle Sam to act unilaterally again. The United States has invaded many countries unilaterally, some on the pretext of securing peace for certain regions. The result has been disastrous. Iraq was the latest casualty.
Asean, act now!!!
Additional report: Singapore has defended the country against accusations that it is a money-laundering centre for members of Myanmar's military regime. Read here.