Facing up to Myanmar realities

It is not without risks, but ‘alibi diplomacy’ by Asean can help defuse the pressures presented by the Tatmadaw and great power rivalry over Myanmar

The military, or Tatmadaw, has always played a central role in the Myanmar polity.PHOTO: AFP

Myanmar (then called Burma) became independent in 1948. In 1962, General Ne Win seized power in a coup. Thereafter, until 2011, Myanmar was under the rule of the Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar military is called. For much of this half-century of military rule, Myanmar isolated itself from the rest of the world.

Pursuing the "Burmese Way to Socialism", Myanmar shunned both Cold War blocs, even withdrawing from the Non-Aligned Movement. The world, and in particular the West - by which I mean the United States, Canada and Europe - returned the compliment by largely ignoring Myanmar. The country descended into economic ruin and irrelevance.

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