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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know






DAVID I. STEINBERG

CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xiii
MAPS xv
PRELIMINARY NOTES xix
INTRODUCTION xxix
1 The Crises That Are Burma/Myanmar 1
What is Burma? 1
Why are we interested in Burma/Myanmar? 1
Why should we be interested in Burma/Myanmar? 3
What can we learn from Burma/Myanmar? 6
Why is learning about Burma/Myanmar so difficult? 8
What are the crises facing Burma/Myanmar? 10
2 Important Residues from the
Precolonial Period 15
How does Burmese history relate to contemporary events? 15
How did Burmese kings view governance and authority, and is
this relevant today? 18
What were Burma’s relations with internal peoples, regions,
and neighboring states? 20
What was the role of Buddhism in traditional Burma? 23
3 The Colonial Era’s Importance in
Understanding Burma/Myanmar Today 26
What led to the three Anglo-Burman Wars of the nineteenth century? 26
What was the role of India in colonial Burma, what are its residual
influences, and why are they important? 28
What economic development programs did the British introduce? 31
What was the role of Buddhism during this period and what social
changes affected the society? 32
How did Burmese nationalism develop and what have been
its effects? 34
What was the impact of World War II on Burma, and what effect did
the Japanese conquest have on Burma and its future? 36
How did the Burma army develop in the colonial period and
under the Japanese? 37
How do the Burmese today consider the colonial era? 38
4 Independence and the Civilian Government
(1948–1962): Mixed Heritages 40
How did independence come about? 40
What was the role of Aung San? 42
How did Burma deal with the political and ethnic rebellions? 43
Why didn’t Burma join the Commonwealth? 44
How did the Chinese nationalist incursion affect Burma? 45
What were relations with the United States? 47
What were relations with China? 48
Was Burma communist or socialist, and what were the
ideological influences on the society? 50
What were the government’s plans for economic development? 51
What were the effects of the 1947 civilian constitution? 52
How did the AFPFL operate and govern? 53
What caused the military “Caretaker” Government, how did it
function, and what was its legacy? 54
How did the minorities fare under the civilian government? 56
How did the 1960 elections affect Burma? 58
What caused the coup of 1962? 59
How may we evaluate the civilian, democratic period? 60
5 The Military Coup, the Socialist Period
(1962–1988), and the Perpetuation
of Military Rule 62
What were the effects of the coup? 62
What was the “Burmese Way to Socialism”? 64
How did the BSPP operate? 65
What was the impact of the socialist policies? 66
How were foreign relations under the BSPP? 67
How did the 1974 constitution come about and what was its impact? 68
How did the indigenous minorities fare under the 1974 unitary state? 70
How were monks registered? 71
How was citizenship defined? 72
What was the role of General/President/Chairman Ne Win? 73
75
What happened to the economy in the 1980s?
What were the causes of the 1988 People’s Revolution
and the coup that followed? 77
6 The SLORC/SPDC Era (1988–Present):
Continuation of Military Power 81
What was the SLORC and how did it change into the SPDC? 82
Who were the leaders of the military in this period,
and how were they trained? 83
What political and economic policies were instituted shortly
after the coup? 85
How did the political opposition develop and what was the
National League for Democracy? 87
What was the role of Aung San Suu Kyi and what has happened to her? 88
What were the May 1990 elections about and what were the
internal and external results? 90
What were the SLORC/SPDC’s international relations, and how did
Asian and Western nations react to the coup and the regime? 93
What is the state of social services in Myanmar? 95
What is the status of the private sector in Myanmar? 98
What is the status and role of the military in Myanmar? 101
How does the narcotics trade affect the society and international
relations? 103
What are the roles and influence of minority religions (Islam,
Christianity) in Myanmar? 106
What is and has been the status of women in Burma/Myanmar? 109
What is the status of the cease-fires with minority
insurrections in Myanmar? 110
What are relations with the United States? 114
What are relations with China and what is the status of the
Chinese in Myanmar? 120
What is India’s policy toward Myanmar and how did it change? 122
What was Japan’s relationship with Burma/Myanmar? 124
What has been the role of civil society and quasi-governmental
groups? 126
What is the status of human rights in Myanmar? 128
Why was General/Prime Minister Khin Nyunt removed from power,
and what did this mean? 130
Why was the capital moved from Rangoon to Naypyidaw? 132
What is the role of Buddhism in Myanmar today and what is
its relation to political legitimacy? 135
What happened in the Saffron Revolution of 2007? 137
What were the internal and external effects of Cyclone Nargis in 2008? 139
What happened in the referendum on the constitution in 2008
and what are its provisions? 142
7 The Nature of Burmese Politics 148
How do politics in Burma/Myanmar function, and what are
its implications? 149
8 Issues in Myanmar’s Future 158
What are the current and future strategic interests of
foreign powers in Myanmar? 159
What is the future of the military in Myanmar under any
new government? 162
How will the minorities deal with the new government? 164
What types of economic crises does the country face? 165
What are the social crises facing the state? 169
What are the needs of the state in a transition to a new government? 170
What role is there for multilateral and bilateral donors? 171
Is democracy a reasonable expectation for Myanmar in
the near term? In the future? 172
What role can the major powers play in Myanmar? 174
What might be the roles of ASEAN, the UN, and the EU? 175
What might the role of the Burmese diaspora be in a new
government? 178
CODA 180
POSTSCRIPT 187
SUGGESTED READING 190
INDEX 195
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 217
PHOTOS FOLLOW PAGE 104


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