Obama may be sending an unintentional message that the US holds Asian countries like Myanmar and China to a lower standard on democracy and human rights.
A long-simmering ethnic conflict in Myanmar (Burma) recently broke into American newspapers: At least 89 people have been killed and more than 35,000 displaced in what is being described (not entirely accurately) as Buddhist-Muslim violence. With President Obama as the first US head of state to visit this country, there are four points to bear in mind about this detour from Myanmar’s road to a more open society:
The apparent end of censorship has unleashed a veritable media gold rush in Myanmar (Burma). On his visit there, President Obama should encourage the country's wave of democratic reforms by highlighting the urgent need for free and open media to reach all parts of the country.
A moderate Muslim preacher who suffered as a freedom fighter in Syria has been chosen as opposition leader to Assad. Now, Moaz al-Khatib must unite a people torn by civil war and religion.