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What Jim Webb did in Myanmar
Did talking to military rulers to get an American freed legitimize a dictatorship?
 

America has a new appeaser-in-chief, said Paul Mirengoff in Power Line. Sen. Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat, talked to the military leaders of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, and won the release of American John William Yettaw, who was locked up for sneaking to the home of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Doesn't Webb realize he's reaching out to tyrants so bad even President Obama has no use for them?

One way to look at Webb's visit is that he's legitimizing a regime guilty of human-rights abuses, said Catherine Lyons in the Los Angeles Times. Another view, however, is that the senator has taken the U.S. on "a baby step on the path to progress in bilateral relations and the slow restoration of democracy in Myanmar." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while condemning the extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest, has recognized that sanctions haven't worked against Myanmar's leaders—maybe a little "engagement" will help.

This certainly will bolster Jim Webb's status as a statesman, said Christopher Weber in Politics Daily, especially since the regime let him meet briefly with Suu Kyi to express his respect for the sacrifices she has made in the name of democracy. And you won't hear any complaints from John Yettaw. His release comes shortly after former president Bill Clinton secured the release of two journalists from North Korea—"it's been a lucky couple of weeks for Americans held captive overseas."

 

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