Many New Mandala readers will know that strategic analyst Andrew Selth keeps a weather eye on Burma’s military and particularly any reports of its weapons programs. His latest intervention in the public discussion of these issues is well worth a look.

It cautions against imprecise language when dealing with Burma’s military affairs. In one section Selth accepts that:

Raising issues of this kind will doubtless strike some as nothing more than academic pedantry, or a futile attempt to impose specialist criteria on the wider public discourse. But it would not take much to raise the level of an important debate that demands accuracy and mutual understanding. And it is worth bearing in mind that discussions of this kind not only influence popular perceptions, but also consideration of official policy.

It is a timely reminder from a very experienced analyst. It is also a reminder, I’d suggest, that is relevant for public debates far beyond Burma’s ambitions for developing exotic weapons and the like.