November 30th, 2011
03:23 PM ET

Comparing Myanmar to South Africa

Editor's Note: Yuriko Koike previously served as Japan’s Minister of Defense and National Security Adviser. For more from Yuriko Koike, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

By Yuriko KoikeProject Syndicate

Historic transformations often happen when least expected. Mikhail Gorbachev’s liberalizing policies of glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union emerged at one of the Cold War’s darkest hours, with U.S. President Ronald Reagan pushing for strategic missile defense and the two sides fighting proxy wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Deng Xiaoping’s economic opening followed China’s bloody – and failed – invasion of Vietnam in 1978. And South Africa’s last apartheid leader, F. W. de Klerk, was initially perceived as just another apologist for the system – hardly the man to free Nelson Mandela and oversee the end of white minority rule.

Now the world is suddenly asking whether Myanmar  (Burma), after six decades of military dictatorship, has embarked on a genuine political transition that could end the country’s pariah status. Is Myanmar, like South Africa under de Klerk, truly poised to emerge from a half-century of self-imposed isolation? And can Aung San Suu Kyi, the heroic opposition leader, and Thein Sein, Myanmar’s new president, engineer a political transition as skillfully and peacefully as Mandela and de Klerk did for South Africa in the early 1990’s? FULL POST

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Topics: Africa • Myanmar
September 28th, 2011
02:21 PM ET

China’s African mischief

Editor's Note: Yuriko Koike, Japan’s former Minister of Defense and National Security Adviser, is Chairman of the Executive Council of the Liberal Democratic Party. For more from Yuriko Koike, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

By Yuriko Koike, Project Syndicate

As Libya’s National Transitional Council attempts to establish a functioning government for a newly liberated country, the truth about what went on under Col. Moammar Gadhafi's regime is starting to come to light. Various treasures have been unearthed from Tripoli mansions that were hastily vacated by their owners, and what happened to the tortured, the murdered, and the missing is beginning to be revealed.

So, too, are some of Gadhafi's dirtiest diplomatic secrets being exposed. On September 2, the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail reported on recent negotiations between the embattled Gadhafi regime and Chinese armaments companies with direct ties to China’s government for contracts worth $200 million. FULL POST

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Topics: China • Libya • Politics
August 22nd, 2011
08:42 AM ET

Post-Gadhafi Libya: Not like Iraq

Editor's Note: Yuriko Koike is Japan’s former Minister of Defense and National Security Adviser. She is Chairman of the Executive Council of the Liberal Democratic Party. For more from Yuriko Koike, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

By Yuriko Koike, Project Syndicate

BENGHAZI – The endgame in the Libyan conflict has at last arrived. Much of Libya’s capital is now in insurgent hands, with the rebel army itself entering from all directions.

The military impotence of forces loyal to Colonel Moammar Gadhafi – visible for a week - had been matched by the regime’s growing political disarray. Senior Gadhafi cronies were defecting – most recently Deputy Interior Minister Nasser al-Mabrouk Abdullah, who fled to Cairo with nine family members, followed a few days later by Libya’s oil chief, Omran Abukraa. Now a number of Gadhafi’s sons, including Seif al-Islam, his putative heir, have been taken by the rebels. Like Saddam Hussein in 2003, Gadhafi appears to have gone into hiding.

So what, now, will become of post-Gadhafi Libya? Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell famously admonished President George W. Bush before the Iraq War that, “if you break it, you own it.” Bush, however, shrugged off Powell’s warning, and it was not long before the world watched in horror as it became clear that there was no detailed plan to govern or rebuild post-Saddam Iraq. Instead, the country endured a hideous war of all against all that left uncounted thousands dead.

Are the NATO countries that undertook military intervention in Libya better prepared to restore a broken Libya? Fortunately, one building block that was not available to Bush – a legitimate government to assume authority – is available for Libya. FULL POST

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Topics: Libya
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