Critical Documents: Myanmar

Myanmar’s Elections: Is Reform Real?
Joshua Kurlantzick, Council on Foreign Relations

Since the retirement of the repressive military regime in November 2010, the political landscape in Myanmar has changed enormously. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won seats in the national parliament, and for the first time has a voice in policy making. Kurlantzick acknowledges the importance of this, but emphasizes it as, “a step towards permanent change, but only a step.”

Progress and Potholes for Burma
John Lee, The National Interest

Although recent elections resulted in marginal victory for the NLD party, many argue the elections were not entirely fair. The “quasi-civilian government” is still largely influenced by the military, leading to suspicions the country is only trying to prove to the international community that they have changed. However, the significance of the reform cannot be denied.

Economic Reforms Solidify the Political Opening in Burma
Roberto Herrera-Lim, Foreign Policy

Economic reforms prove the transformation of Myanmar beyond a political transition. The floating of the kyat, the local currency, has potential to lead to changes including decreased corruption and more effective monetary policy. A new law encourages foreign investment, hoping to elevate international attraction to Myanmar as a profitable economic opportunity, has also been implemented.

Myanmar: The Slow Road to Democracy
Donna Jean Guest, Al Jazeera

Myanmar’s government has implemented positive transformation within the country, but problems still remain from decades of oppression. Political prisoners have been released, but many are still behind bars. Historically displaced ethnic minorities including the Kachin and Rohingya are still struggling, and tensions remain.

Myanmar President Thein Sein: No Reversal to Democratic Transition
The Asia Society

During a recent visit to the United States, President Thein Sein guaranteed that the authoritarian state of Myanmar is now in the past. The entire population wants democracy, and Sein is maintaining the transition by promoting an acceptance of diversity and sustainable peace.