The Wall Street Journal- “U.S. Ties to Myanmar Are Called Into Question”

By SHIBANI MAHTANI | August 7, 2014

YANGON, Myanmar—With U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expected to visit Myanmar for a regional summit this weekend, some U.S. lawmakers and human rights watchdogs are warning of stalled overhauls and urging reconsideration of the increasingly cozy relations between the two countries.

The pressure on the U.S. to be harsher in its dealings with the Myanmar government, analysts say, reflects a growing skepticism—in Washington and beyond—toward the depth of the country’s reforms, posing a challenge for the Obama administration, which has touted Myanmar’s democratic transition as one of its biggest foreign-policy achievements.

Pushing for the “resumption of the former U.S. policy of ostracism” must be avoided for reforms and economic development to continue, said Romain Caillaud, managing director of political consultancy Vriens & Partners in Yangon. Mr. Caillaud has been based in the city for more than six years.

“Western businesses have a key role to play in this process of change that started a few years ago only, and discouraging their investment in Myanmar would not serve the objectives of policy makers in Washington, or of the population of Myanmar,” he added.

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