Myanmar is experiencing a plethora of changes. Its political scene is liberalising rapidly. Political prisoners have been released. Public demonstrations and strikes of workers have been legalised. The iconic Aung San Suu Kyi has been elected to the parliament and the post-junta state structures have been broadly civilianised. While most Western sanctions have been lifted, the country has tripled the number of its official diplomatic relations in less than two years.
But the success of the transition initiated by the disbanding of the junta in 2011 much depends on whether the once all-powerful Myanmar armed forces (or Tatmadaw) are willing to eventually return to their barracks, and leave policy-making to the civilian sphere.
Far from being a sudden revolutionary moment, the current transition has indeed been conceived, prepared and supervised by the military itself. The Tatmadaw remains relevant in the post-junta landscape it has helped shape, and it still has the legal and constitutional instruments to intervene in politics and decisively influence the whole policy-making process in the coming decade.
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.