Over at his outstanding new(ish) blog, the Atlantic’s James Fallows opines from China with a rare defense of President Bush’s choice of diction. Fallows takes issue with CNN and The Economist for using the name “Myanmar” instead of “Burma”:
…Myanmar is the name invented 18 years ago by the benighted junta, known as SLORC* back then and the State Peace and Development Council now, when it seized power through force.When Westerners say “Myanmar,” they’re not being culturally respectful to the people of a beautiful but oppressed nation. (We don’t call China Zhongguo or Germany Deutschland just because the locals do.) They’re bowing to the whims of the generals who still imprison Aung San Suu Kyi.
I couldn’t agree more. The name “Myanmar” is no less imperialist and disrepresentative of the wishes of its people than, say, Rhodesia. Using the word “Burma” is as close as the President is going to get to calling for a regime change. Of course, it’ll only be another year or so before John Rambo finally touches down in southeast Asia and brings peace to the troubled region: