Regions / Asia & Pacific
Ruled by a series of harsh military regimes since 1962, Burma serves as a test case for U.S. policy on several fronts: human rights; a growing worldwide heroin epidemic; the role of U.S. state and local governments in relation to international trade policy and practice; forced labor, international labor standards, and the new prominence of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in the era of globalization; and the role of multinational corporations in supporting dictatorships.
Termed the No Mercy War by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), it has caused at least 65,000 deaths, displaced up to one million people, resulted in severe human rights abuses, and slowed Sri Lankas once-promising development.
Indonesias military buildup and East Timor-style militia activities threaten to destabilize Papua and the region.
Since Indonesias invasion of East Timor in 1975, the U.S. has supplied the Indonesian army with more than $1 billion in arms.
In the U.S. the attractions of missile defense endure, fueled most recently by the apparent Gulf War successes of the Patriot missiles and by perceived threats of long-range missile launches by so-called rogue states.
Both a new U.S. administration and Chinas bid to host the 2008 Olympics offer opportunities to influence human rights in China.
Given the atmosphere of suspicion and distrust that so often characterizes U.S.-China relations, it is vitally important that Chinese foreign policy and military capabilities be calmly and carefully assessed.
The Bush administration's defense review affords an opportunity to overhaul the nation's military strategy, forces, and equipment plans in light of the challenges and opportunities of the new century.
After years of negotiations, stalling tactics, and domestic political debate, the U.S. Congress is considering ratification of bilateral trade agreements (BTAs) with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR or Laos) this summer.
Poverty, social disruption and destruction stemming from these wars, and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons are major factors in expanding the use of child soldiers.