Why the Myanmar Rohingya Crisis Helps ISIS


Amb. Derek Mitchell on Myanmar and the Rohingya. 

Myanmar’s Rohingya people are fleeing the country by the hundreds of thousands, creating a humanitarian catastrophe that some international authorities are calling the result of ethnic cleansing. We spoke with Amb. Derek Mitchell, a veteran Asia watcher with experience in the Pentagon and our first Ambassador to Myanmar since 1990, about the implications for the region.


About Amb. Derek Mitchell

Ambassador Derek Mitchell is senior advisor to the Asia Program at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Ambassador Mitchell was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 29, 2012, as the first U.S. ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma) in 22 years. He took up his post in July 2012, and departed March 2016. In 2011, Ambassador Mitchell was appointed the State Department’s first special representative and policy coordinator for Burma, with the rank of ambassador. From 2009 to 2011, Ambassador Mitchell served as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense, Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, overseeing the Defense Department’s security policy in Northeast, Southeast, South and Central Asia. From 2001 to 2009, Ambassador Mitchell was senior fellow and director of the Asia Division of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was special assistant for Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1997-2001. In the 1990s, Ambassador Mitchell served as senior program officer for Asia and the former Soviet Union at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington, D.C. Ambassador Mitchell began his work in Washington as a foreign policy assistant in the office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) from 1986-88. Ambassador Mitchell has authored numerous books, articles and policy reports on Asian security affairs, and co-authored China: The Balance Sheet – What the World Needs to Know about the Emerging Superpower (Public Affairs, 2006). He received a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Virginia.