I SEE NO HOPE FOR BURMA
He had a lengthy diplomatic career having served as political counselor at the Bangkok embassy from 1988 to 1992. Before that he was ambassador to Indonesia from 2001 to 2004, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs from 1998 to 2001. Among his linguistics accomplishments he speaks Persian, French and Thai fluently.
He knows Thailand well as he was the U.S. ambassador during the military coup of September 19, 2006, that preceded the present Thai government.
Boyce was interviewed at the celebration marking the 50th anniversary of Thai Airways. Boyce said his Boeing territory encompasses seven of the 10 Asean countries. He stressed that his responsibilities required him to support Boeing’s commercial aviation and defense businesses across Southeast Asia.
Boyce says diplomatic missions have a duty to fight for their companies. “There is no limit really. It should be aggressive. Sometimes diplomats need to reach out to the companies and say get us in now, because you might ask later when it is too late, when you have made a mistake, or maybe if you missed a deadline. You should get embassy people in from the beginning.” The rise of the region means that “the competition is tougher” but the “philosophical obstacles” that were there 30 years ago have gone away. However, making it work requires significant localisation of practices, Boyce insists.
As an example, Boyce observed that the market for military aircraft is more competitive than the market for civilian aircraft, as on the civilian side Boeing has only one competitor, Airbus, while
on the military side there are many. For example,
he mentioned that in Thailand, where he formerly served, the Thai Air Force had recently chosen to purchase Gripen fighters from Sweden.
Boyce’s responsibilities cut across Asean and the great diversity of its countries. This requires companies such as Boeing to adopt both a regional and a country- by-country approach. “One of my key counterparts in the region is the secretarygeneral of ASEAN. We talk to Surin Pitsuwan about Asean-wide issues such as disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.”
Boeing has relations with seven of
the 10 governments in the region and has
relationships with other countries including
Laos and Cambodia through its Global
Corporate Citizenship program. “We are
active in nine different countries, and those
are nine “different” countries. They all take Asean very seriously – but the real business
is done by mastering the individual markets
and by understanding the politics and economics
of each country.”
The Asean Open Skies pact focuses on the liberalization of air space between member countries, including the lifting of tariffs and other add-on costs. Originally, the treaty was expected to be signed in April of 2010, but Indonesia, the biggest market within the group, then revealed it was not prepared to fully open its skies by 2015, the deadline the 10 ASEAN countries had agreed to in principle.........................
The black sheep remains black
David Swartzentruber critically analyzes the recent Myanmar election and reveals that it was a mere public relations event that was badly managed at best.
Rarely 24 hours after the polls closed in Myanmar’s first election in 20 years, what the ruling generals had hoped would be a well executed public relations event began to unravel in many directions, both within the country and internationally. First, when election results began to emerge on Monday November 8, the day after the election, there were very few of them, and no official figures on voter turnout were announced. Myanmar’s main pro-democracy parties conceded defeat on Tuesday November 9, when the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) said it had won up to 80 percent of the available seats.
The Burma Partnership, a collection of pro-democracy activists in Thailand, said “reports indicated that the vast majority of eligible voters did not participate.” Some made efforts to show their discontent by writing in the name of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and some spoiled their ballots, it was also reported.
Then the chief of the National Democratic Force (NDF), Khin Maung Swe, accused the junta-backed of stealing votes. He described an incident in the central city of Mandalay, where a popular NDF candidate was leading Health Minister Kyaw Mint of the USDP. However, later that night, a bag containing 3,376 ballots from advance voting arrived, sealing the victory for the USDP.
The list of techniques used by the military government in the lead-up to the election also included restrictive election laws, tightly monitored campaigning, intimidation and threats, critics said.
The latter two tactics set the stage for violence that erupted on the border between Thailand and Myanmar on November 8. A faction of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army that had refused to join the military regime’s Border Guard Force took over the town of Myawaddy.
An officer in the Karen faction told the Democratic Voice of Burma that the troops had been called into the town because citizens had asked for protection from forced voting.
Fighting continued throughout the day with deaths of 30 soldiers from the military and the Karen. Some Thai soldiers stationed at the border were also wounded from the stray bullets as well when they helped escort refugees from Myawaddy to safety in Thailand.........................
An estimated 15-20,000 refugees scrambled across the border into Thailand,