Economics Made Economical

Coca-Cola Returns To Burma–American Hypocrisy?

After over 60 years of U.S. economic sanctions against the Burmese military junta, the U.S.-based international soft drink behemoth, Coca-Cola, has announced its plans to resume business in the democratizing capitalizing nation. Personal concerns about the nutritional value of Coke’s products notwithstanding, I’ve got no problem seeing an economic agreement take place between Burmese capitalists and an iconic world-renounced corporation like Coke.

Where I do see some concerns is in Coke noting the fact that this partnership will leave Cuba and North Korea as the only nations without Coke’s business. The seeming contradiction? The United States labels not only Cuba and North Korea, but also Syria, Iran, and the Sudan, as State Sponsors of Terrorism. In layman’s terms, the United States claims there is evidence that these nations’ own regimes are composed mainly, if not entirely, of those who use violence against innocents to achieve personal political goals.

Cuba is notoriously isolated from American business. Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq, the Taliban’s Afghanistan, and Libya under the rule of Moammar Kaddafi have been other recent examples of “terrorist” regimes where the U.S. government forbade American corporate ties.

So the question remains: why does the U.S. government not condemn or even sanction Coca-Cola for having a presence in “terrorist” nations like Iran, Syria, and the Sudan? And how has the iconic American brand legally skirted the economic blacklist in those three nations? Arguably, under American law in place since 9/11, these economic partnerships should be enough to label Coca-Cola as a terrorist-supporting entity. By extension, aren’t those of us who purchase any Coke products also guilty of supporting terrorism as according to American policy? Though the answer seems to be yes, I for one will continue to satiate the occasional sugar craving with a Coke-produced beverage. I like the stuff too much, and we all probably feel the same way. Talk about our guilty pleasures.

And Pepsi, now might be the perfect time to rebrand your competing products as the “terrorist-free” alternative to Coke.


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