At the time, many conservatives questioned whether the United States was overdoing things, lifting sanctions too readily and frittering away leverage it would later need to insure Burma stayed on the road to reform. To a large degree that is what happened.
Hillary Clinton personally visited Burma and now President Obama plans to, even amidst the deteriorating human rights situation. The president has appeared clueless about the decline and praised his Burma policy in late May at West Point. What did he miss?
The glib answer is that he didn’t miss anything he can’t be briefed on along the back nine. The more serious answer is that our lack of leadership has allowed so many crises to erupt or fester that it’s easy for Burma to slip unnoticed back into its bad old ways, and for the Burmese government to figure they can get away with it.
We’ll see more of this kind of thing over the next two-plus years.