Manipal, India — Should another hurricane like Katrina hit the United States, perhaps in Florida, and Cuban leader Raul Castro offer to send units of the Cuban army to deliver succor to those affected, the Bush administration may hesitate to allow those units "unrestricted access" to the country.
Similarly, were a typhoon or other natural calamity to ravage Poland, that country's rulers may hesitate to welcome an influx of Russian and Chinese troops, even though these would be bringing with them relief supplies rather than armaments.
Given that regime change in Myanmar is explicitly on the agenda of the United States and the European Union, both should have anticipated the cold reaction of the generals in Myanmar to their increasingly peremptory "requests" to provide relief.
The French are returning home rather than handing over their supplies to countries allowed entry into Myanmar, such as India and Thailand. At least one of the European Union's former colonial superpowers is playing as indefensible a variant of politics as the thuggish and archaic geronotocrats in uniform in Myanmar. These are men hardly likely to flinch from the prospect of hundreds of thousands of their own citizens suffering because of the absence of relief, for their only motivation is self-preservation.