In the wake of the Myanmar coup, the Biden administration has been threatening to take action. On Thursday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US is considering targeted sanctions against Myanmar’s military.
Sullivan said there is a bipartisan consensus on Myanmar and that the administration can work with Congress “on a package of sanctions to impose consequences in response to this coup.”
As a sign of that bipartisan consensus, Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced a resolution condemning the coup. While the resolution is mostly symbolic, it calls for the US to work with allies on targeted sanctions.
In a foreign policy address on Thursday, President Biden reiterated his call for the military to step down. “The Burmese military should relinquish power they have seized and release the advocates and activists and officials they have detained,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Biden Administration officially declared the situation in Myanmar a “coup,” which automatically cuts aid to Myanmar’s government. But US officials said most US assistance to the country, an estimated $108.65 million requested for 2021, goes directly to civil organizations and not the government.
Several senior leaders of Myanmar’s military are already under US sanctions over their treatment of the Rohingya people. Biden has threatened to reimpose sanctions on Myanmar that the Obama administration lifted in 2016.
Myanmar’s military took power on Monday after claiming there was fraud in the country’s November elections. Senior political leaders have been detained, including Aung San Suu Ky, who served as the State Counsellor of Myanmar, the country’s de facto leader.