NFTC, USA*Engage Applaud Senator Webb's Burma Visit"

Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA*Engage today released a statement applauding Senator Jim Webb for his two-day diplomatic visit to Burma this past weekend.
“Senator Webb’s success in negotiating with the Burmese government to secure the release of American prisoner John Yettaw and to meet with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is tangible evidence of the crucial role diplomacy and engagement play in advancing relations with nations that do not necessarily subscribe to U.S. values and ideals,” said NFTC President and USA*Engage Co-Chair Bill Reinsch.
“Instead of pursuing U.S. national interests through diplomacy, members of Congress embrace economic sanctions, despite all their unintended consequences,” said USA*Engage Director Richard Sawaya. “We welcome Senator Webb’s recognition that sanctions do not change the behavior of regimes at odds with the United States. In the case of Burma, they have in fact stiffened the resolve of its military and hurt U.S. commerce to the benefit of China. We commend the senator’s support for diplomacy that may include commercial engagement.”

Since its inception in 1997, USA*Engage has advocated for increased engagement and dialogue between the United States and the international community, as opposed to unilateral sanctions. Through various initiatives, USA*Engage helps to inform policymakers’ perspectives on the diplomatic and economic costs of a U.S. foreign policy too reliant on sanctions.