Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi Visits the United States: What Next?
Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to the United States, beginning September 16, raises a host of interesting issues for U.S. foreign policy. Three in particular are: U.S. relations with China and the other Asian countries, the role of sanctions in promoting democracy and respect for human rights, and how to use foreign aid and foreign investment to advance U.S. interests.
Over the next two weeks, Aung San Suu Kyi will be received royally in in cities across the USA, including New York, Indiana, and California. During three days in Washington, her main appearances will be at the U.S. Institute of Peace on the 18th, the Capitol Rotunda to receive the Congressional Gold Medal on the 19th, and back to the Capitol on the 20th to receive an award from the National Endowment for Democracy.
One particularly delicate aspect of her visit is its impact on an overlapping visit by President Thein Sein who is coming at the end of September to address the U.N. General Assembly. He deserves considerable credit for his bold and forward-looking leadership over the past 18 months, but nothing can be done to prevent his trip being overshadowed by Suu Kyi’s visit. One can only hope that he will be received well enough so that his remarkable collaboration with Suu Kyi will actually be strengthened.