Singapore's Lee calls Myanmar junta 'stupid': WikiLeaks

Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew described Myanmar's ruling generals as "dense" and "stupid" people who have "mismanaged" the country's vast resources, US cables from WikiLeaks said. In a 2007 meeting with top US officials, Lee also reportedly said Myanmar's envoy in Singapore had told the city-state that his country could "survive any sanctions" because of its abundance of natural resources. "He said he had given up on them (Myanmar's rulers) a decade ago, called them 'dense' and stupid' and said they had mismanaged the country's great natural resources," according to the US cable classified as confidential. "Lee said dealing with the regime was like 'talking to dead people'." Lee believed the Myanmar problem could be solved if a younger generation of generals who were less "obtuse" would step forward and possibly forge a power-sharing agreement with the country's democracy movement, the cable said. "They could share power with the democracy activists, although probably not with Aung San Suu Kyi, who was anathema to the military," it said. Lee also reportedly told Thomas Christensen, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, in the meeting that ASEAN should not have admitted Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam as members in the 1990s. "The older members of ASEAN shared common values and an antipathy to Communism," the leaked diplomatic cable released on WikiLeaks' website said. "Those values had been 'muddied' by the new members, and their economic and social problems made it doubtful they would ever behave like the older ASEAN members." Asked about the prospects of ASEAN appointing an envoy to Myanmar, Lee suggested that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's military background would make him an ideal candidate for the post. "He suggested that Indonesian President Yudhoyono could potentially be an interlocutor," the US cable said. "As a former general, SBY might be able to meet with Senior General Than Shwe and get him to listen. "Furthermore, SBY is 'keen to play the role of peacemaker' but the challenge would be getting someone who is not too close to the United States to ask him to do it." Lee, 87, was Singapore's first prime minister. He now holds the title of minister mentor and remains a highly influential figure in local politics.