But statements like these have done little more than highlight just how limited the world’s diplomatic arsenal is against crises of this nature — especially when most governments are battling the Covid-19 pandemic or trying to revive their sagging economies and Myanmar’s military leaders seem not to care about returning their country to pariahdom. “The army in Myanmar has a long track record of not listening to the outside world, not caring what people think, simply living off, in a vicarious way, the isolation that is then imposed,” Southeast Asia expert Michael Vatikiotis told me.
In the end, Myanmar’s fate could all come down to who can dig in longer.
If the generals get their way, the number of people living under military rule, together with those in Thailand, in that corner of Southeast Asia will almost double to about 124 million people. That is a prospect ASEAN, and the broader international community, must prevent at all costs.