Texas Rep. Michael McCaul Calls for U.S. Sanctions Against Myanmar 'Military Thugs'

Watch the full interview on ASP.

GOP Representative Michael McCaul of Texas called for imposing sanctions against the military junta in Myanmar which has seized government power and is committing violence against the country's civil opposition movement.

"Let's sanction the military leaders," McCaul said when asked how the U.S. should intervene in Myanmar, if at all, in a new video produced by the civic media organization A Starting Point (ASP). "They would be denied access to bank accounts, access to any business that the United States and our allies do with Burma.… It would decrease their ability to make money and wouldn't be targeted toward the people. It'd be targeted at these military thugs that have taken the country over and are killing their own people."

He added the U.S. should not send its military to Myanmar.

To the same question, Democratic Representative Gregory Meeks of New York, the new chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, answered that sanctions aren't enough, and the U.S. should work with its allies to take steps against the junta.

"Nothing we do along will ever be as effective as coordinated action," Meeks said, calling on the U.S. to take on the military junta with "like-minded partners."

Meeks added that human rights and democracy are "integral" to U.S. foreign policy interests, and these values are the reason why it's critical for the U.S. to work with partners to reinstate democratic rule in Myanmar and "hold accountable those responsible for attempting to reverse Burma's progress towards [democracy]."

"It is critical that we listen Burma's neighbors, our partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific as well as in Europe," Meeks said. "Not to mention, the democracies of the world to stand firm against the military...illegal actions. And we have to be mindful that whatever actions we take are targeted at the military, and serve to empower and protect the people of Myanmar."

Myanmar
Michael McCaul said the U.S. should sanction leaders of a military junta which has declared control in Myanmar. Above, on April 3, a Buddhist nun walking past makeshift barricades erected by protesters during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon's Tamwe township. STR/AFP via Getty Images

Over 500 protesters have been killed, and over 2,000 people have been detained since the military coup shook Myanmar on February 1 following the nation's elections in November. When the military took over the government it declared a state of emergency that will last until a new election is held, but hasn't provided a timeline for the aforementioned vote, Meeks explained to ASP.

"Even prior to the November 2020 election, the military junta made unsubstantial claims of election fraud," Meeks said. "It reminded me of what we saw from the former president of the United States. All independent election observers, maintain that the National League for Democracy...clearly won the election."

Now, threat of civil war looms in the country as massive public resistance to the military takeover of the government has escalated violence in the past weeks.

McCaul said that imposed martial law in Myanmar is "what we always see in authoritarian dictatorships," likening "curfews, communication blackouts and violence" in Myanmar to that of China's Communist Party's treatment of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.

"Our Founding Fathers believed that the right to protest its government was fundamental to a democracy," McCaul said. "And that is precisely what they're taking away, the military, by cracking down on anybody that protests the military oppression and rule."

"The violence has been indiscriminate," Meeks said. "And I want to say directly to the Burmese people that we hear the United States. We hear you. We see your bravery, and we support your struggle."