Monday, April 2, 2012

Whereto Now Burma?

It seems that Aung San Suu Kyi has just won in the Burmese parliamentary by election although at this point of writing it cannot be officially confirmed yet. But it won't be at all surprising if she has indeed won.

The Star
But even if her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), manages to win all the 44 seats it contested, it won't make any dent in the altogether 664 upper and lower house seats of the Burmese Parliament.

This is as what the Burmese military junta wants -  having the opposition, especially the NLD in Parliament to lend some legitimacy to their claim that Burma is now a democratic state with a civilian government.

However, I am not fooled. The real test will come when the opposition make their presence felt and start demanding for more freedom and real power.

What about the reforms that the nominally civilian Burmese government has made a great show of and allegedly serious about? Well, what choice does the Burmese government have?

The Burmese economy is practically dead if not moribund, what with all the international economic and other sanctions imposed on the country. For a long time Burma under the military junta had been considered a pariah and the Burmese people have been suffering.

Mindful perhaps of a possible Arab Spring, the Burmese military junta had no choice but to do something.

Still, I am wishing the best for Burma.

But I won't be surprised at all if all the changes brought about so far are merely cosmetic and will continue only so far as these do not threaten the vested military interests.

2 comments:

  1. There was a big article in the New York Times last week about China and the United States vying for influence in Burma. While the Chinese only cared about shiping oil from Burma to China, they now put money to build schools in Burma and toimprove the lives of the poor people there. Mayeb the Burmese oposition can contact China to put a liitle pressure on the Burmese militray to open up the country. Burma is likely to listen to pressure from China .. not from the United States. Anyway, it's nice that she won a seat and maybe it the start of a slow path toward better democracy. I understand you being skeptical .. but dictatorial regimes did collpased in Arab countries last year ... so it can also happen in Burma.

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  2. Giora, I doubt China will put pressure on Burma to further open up the country except in the economic sense, not politically. It is true that dictatorial regimes have collapsed, but this came about mostly in the hard way. Dictatorial regimes don't voluntarily want to give up their powers. But I still hope for the best for Burma, though I am not too certain. Very much too depends on the international community'a response, whether they are united to see the further opening up of the country in both the economic and political sense. If countries are only interested in making the most economically out of a more "open" Burma and nothing more, meaningful progress will be slow.

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