The foreign editor of The Australian, Greg Sheridan, has weighed in to the debate about Australian engagement with Burma. His full analysis is available here. Sheridan argues, among other things, that:
As the only Western nation in the Southeast Asian region, and as a close ally of the US, Australia has an important role. Ours is certainly smaller than that of Burma’s big Southeast Asian neighbours or China or India. Nonetheless, it’s important.
Over at The Interpreter, long-time Burma watcher Andrew Selth provides a more expansive treatment of Burma’s current politics. Selth suggests that:
It is always difficult to discern what is in the minds of Burma’s leaders, but few of their decisions lend themselves to simple explanations. Most seem to reflect consideration of a range of complex issues. One possible reason for the more nuanced policies emanating from Naypyidaw that has not received much attention to date is that Burma is seeking to satisfy certain expectations expressed by ASEAN, in order to assume the chairmanship of the Association in 2014.
Thoughts from New Mandala readers about these lines of argument are, as ever, very welcome.