Misplaced US Optimism on Burma

Diplomatic cables by the US Embassy in Rangoon show that American officials were unrealistically optimistic about dialogue with Burma's military government, as Democrat Sen. Jim Webb visited ruler Senior-General Than Shwe in August 2009. “It is certain Than Shwe believes he has unclenched its fist,” said a cable released by Wikileaks overnight. The reference is to US President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech in which he said the US would offer an open hand to any nation that didn’t meet it with a clenched fist.

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