The brutalities endured by Burma’s Rohingya—the country’s most vulnerable population—were bad even before the recent coup. The US response must take their plight into account, or risk making it even worse.
If Pakistan takes such great lengths to “protect” Islam and its Muslim citizens, it should also seek to protect fellow Muslims abroad who are the victims of ethnic cleansing, oppression, or persecution.
With Myanmar’s military still controlling 25 percent of its parliament and a history of brutal crackdowns—not to mention the recent Rohingya crisis—COVID-19 is exacerbating the precarious balance between the military and civilians in power.
The most profound and powerful reasons for religious freedom are Christian reasons, and they extend not only to Christians but to all people. In my view this means that there is also a deep theological warrant for international religious freedom.
The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on several members of the Burmese military, Border Guard Police commanders, and two Burmese military units for their involvement in mass atrocities. More states should do the same.
While the work of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom is vital, the ambassador is most effective when he or she influences the department and US policy as a whole. The combination of ambassador-at-large and religion is thus a difficult one at State, so having someone as politically experienced as Brownback in the role is vital.