Hard truths about Myanmar and the military coup

As Asean holds a meeting about the Myanmar situation, the reality is that nobody has much leverage over the country. Still, Asean is better off being even-handed and not shunning the Tatmadaw.

Anti-riot police officers securing the area after dispersing protesters in Yangon yesterday. Preventing further bloodshed requires Asean and other countries to call for both sides to exercise restraint: the protesters as well as the Tatmadaw, says th
Anti-riot police officers securing the area after dispersing protesters in Yangon yesterday. Preventing further bloodshed requires Asean and other countries to call for both sides to exercise restraint: the protesters as well as the Tatmadaw, says the writer.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Today, Asean foreign ministers will, at Indonesia's initiative, hold a virtual informal meeting to discuss the situation in Myanmar.

What can we expect? The short answer is: Not very much. The hard fact is that nobody, regionally or internationally, has much leverage over Myanmar, and that includes Asean.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2021, with the headline 'Hard truths about Myanmar and the military coup'. Subscribe