Burma: Prospects for a Democratic Future

Burma: Prospects for a Democratic Future

Burma: Prospects for a Democratic Future

Burma: Prospects for a Democratic Future

Synopsis

Since Burma's current military rulers took power in 1989, this pivotal, troubled, and bitterly divided Southeast Asian nation has rejected important opportunities for political and economic liberalization. This book examines the origins and consequences of Burma's current policies from military, political, social, and economic perspectives--and analyzes Burma's stand with regard to the United States and other Western countries.

Excerpt

Burma was long the name of the country between India and Thailand. in the nineteenth century there were Upper and Lower Burmas, and the hill territories. Eventually, under colonial rule, and at independence, there was one Burma. It took its name from the Burmans, the majority people of Burma and a people unrelated ethnically to most of the other peoples who came to be incorporated into modern Burma. Only when the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) installed itself in power after the 1988 student pro-democratic protests and their brutal repression by the army (which formed the SLORC) did the slorc decide to re-name the country Myanmar. the democratic forces of the National League for Democracy (NLD), which overwhelmingly won the 1990 national election, refuse to accept Myanmar as the name of their country. the editor of this book abides by the nld decision to resist a name change that was invented by a regime that has no national legitimacy. Hence Burma is used in the title and throughout the chapters, despite the resistance of the some of the chapter authors themselves. It should be clear that any criticism of the use of Burma rather than Myanmar should be directed at the editor, and not at individual authors. Using Burma and not Myanmar also accords with the policy of the World Peace Foundation, the Harvard Institute for International Development, and the U. S. Department of State.

In December 1997, Burma's leaders dissolved the slorc and created a new ruling group called the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), composed of many of the same people. This book uses the name slorc since that was the ruling council in place at the time the chapters were written.

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