When the evil Empire persisted on tagging the evil badge on Myanmar and pressurizing Asean to boycott the Myanmese govt, Asean stood firm and insisted to do it its own way. Asean would engage Myanmar and seek changes through dialogue and diplomacy, not sanctions and threats of regime change. Myanmar was accepted into Asean whose economies and political systems were a far cry from the military dictatorship. In the process, Myanmar is creeping slowly towards the Asean way of doing business.
The visit of Hilary Clinton to Myanmar is the sign of success of the Asean way. Through its association with Asean, Myanmar is changing slowly but positively to engage the rest of the world. Without the optimism and willingness to accommodate Myanmar, and if Asean were to be coerced by the US and join the band of international gangsters, Myanmar could have remained isolated and going it alone. There would not be any visit of Hilary to talk about.
The way forward, the Asean way, is through patience and dialogue, not sabre rattling and threats or coercion that the evil Empire is used to. But this small achievement by Asean could quickly be forgotten if the Association blindly allows the US to assume the leadership of Asean and the region, and go on the war path through military alliances and threats of war.
Could the Asean leaders see their success, that the Asean way is the Way and not succumb to US pressure to take on a confrontational and belligerent path in inter state diplomacy in the region? Would the US go the Asean way or Asean go the Empire’s way?