“AMERICA at our best” is how Hillary Clinton’s memoir “Hard Choices” sums up her country’s role (and especially her own) “as a champion of dignity and democracy” in supporting Myanmar since Thein Sein, a member of the former long-ruling military junta, took office as a civilian president in 2011. The chapter of her book devoted to the country is not entirely starry-eyed; she admits it is hard not to get “breathless” about it and that there is “a long way to go”. But she breathes fairly heavily herself about her friendship with Myanmar’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. And she quotes an academic who called the Myanmar efforts of the administration, in which she was secretary of state, “as decisive a diplomatic victory as anyone is likely to see”.
So as Mrs Clinton mulls a tilt at the presidency in 2016, Myanmar is likely to become a political issue in America. Her opponents may relish arguing that she got Myanmar wrong in prematurely celebrating a successful transition and rewarding it with high-level visits and an easing of sanctions.