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Myanmar Discussion: US Blames India For High Food Prices

May 11, 2008

Myanmar: U.S. seeks India’s help

NEW DELHI: The U.S. has sought India’s good offices to persuade Myanmar to adopt a more liberal approach towards foreign aid for its cyclone-hit people. It also downplayed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s earlier statement blaming increasing consumption in India for the rise in food prices.

Ms. Rice spoke to External Affairs Minister Mukherjee on Friday evening as part of her talks with several world leaders on Lebanon, Zimbabwe and Myanmar. With Mr. Mukherjee she also touched upon the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal but there was no amplification on the issue.

A Foreign Office statement here said, Mr. Mukherjee and Ms. Rice exchanged views on important developments in the region as well as on global issues since they last met in March.

“Part of their discussion was also about the Indian civil nuclear deal but they focused quite a bit on the issue of Burma [Myanmar]. And the message was to urge all the parties to do what they can to reach out and use whatever leverage they have with the top decision-making layer in the Burmese regime to get them to reverse the course that they have been on in terms of not allowing large scale humanitarian supplies to come into Burma, and then also, and very importantly, to allow experts who can offer assistance with humanitarian relief into Burma.”

“The issue to this point has been the decision of the Burmese regime not to allow in large-scale assistance. We’re doing everything that we possibly can but importantly, the entire international system is mobilised now to do what it can to convince the Burmese regime to change its decision,” added the spokesperson Sean McCormack.

Basic fact

On the widely criticised remark on food prices, the spokesperson said the U.S. was not trying to single out a government or expressing the sentiment that greater calorie intake is not a good thing.

“I think the statement just gets to the basic fact that the world and the international system is changing. And the fact that you have greater economic prosperity around the world, whether it’s in India or China or elsewhere around the world, and as a result, there are different standards of living, a positive sense, that is good for the international system.”

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The US still has ‘foot in mouth’ disease. How many ways can you insult growing economies? China and India are proud to be entering the economic elite club. The United States is acting a little jealous …

What an un-diplomatic way to engage in a dialog. By the way, while we ask for your help, can you please cut back on your own consumption of global resources?

The US is demonstrating that it feels threatened by other countries economic prosperity. Because the US has squandered its own prosperity by a war for greed instead of adapting to a new global condition, it finds itself being put into the back seat of respect. Spokesperson McCormack can try to spin out of this, but those words cannot be whitewashed.

The US is desperate to engage in humanitarian efforts, it needs good press. At the same time, it wants emerging economies to slow down, for global resource reasons, of course.

Bush is so worried about the “MESSAGE” we send to our enemies, what about the “MESSAGE” we send to our friends?

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