The President of the United States, Barack Obama, has softened the country’s relationship with The Republic of the Union of Myanmar today and announced the first ambassador for the country in 22 years. The governemnent of south-east Asian nation has recently made concessions to opposition figures and allowed the election of the most prominent dissenter in the country.
Aung San Suu Kyi was elected to the parliament of Myanmar recently though the country is by no means a shining example of democracy. Obama’s decision to announce an ambassador and improve relations between the two countries signals support for recent moves toward a more liberal country.
The President did reference many of the problems he perceives as hurting the relationship between the nations including the detention of political prisoners, the closed political system, its relationship with North Korea and its treatment of minorities. The country still faces a lot of challenge in order to have the sanctions levelled against it removed.
Derek Mitchell was appointed as the ambassador to the country. The official was previously the special representative and policy coordinator for Myanmar. The appointment was supported by Republican Senators John McCain and Mitch McConnell who released a joint statement this afternoon praising the decision.
Obama’s attempts to bring countries that were previously pariahs into the international fold has met with mixed success. His deal to offer North Korea food aid in return for a cessation of nuclear testing was undermined by the country’s recent missile tests and his support of the Libyan revolution has led to no clear conclusion in that country.