Academic journal article Military Review

BURMA'S ARMED FORCES: Power without Glory

Academic journal article Military Review

BURMA'S ARMED FORCES: Power without Glory

Article excerpt

BURMA'S ARMED FORCES: Power Without Glory, Andrew Selth, Eastbridgc, Norwalk, CT, 2002, 371 pages, $44.95.

Andrew Selth is a former diplomatic officer who served in Burma, Korea, and New Zealand. Since 1986, he has served as a strategic analyst with the Australian Defense Intelligence Organization.

Although Burma (Myanmar) is not important in overall world affairs, it has powerful regional influence and plays a leading role as the most volatile and largest, if not the strongest, country in mainland Southeast Asia. In past years, Burma was isolated and ignorant of the wider world-a view with which Westerners, whose acquaintance with Burma was partly based on the song, "On the Road to Mandalay," concurred.

Strategically located, Burma borders India, China, Thailand, Laos, and Bangladesh. The country, which is primarily rural with few roads, has been declared by the UN as one of the world's poorest nations. Although Burma is xenophobic and isolation-minded, it is wooed by India and China and feared by Japan and Korea, as it becomes increasingly more important in Southeast Asian affairs.

Since the end of World War II and its emergence as an independent nation in 1948, Burma and its armed forces have played a critical role in its governance. The military sees itself as the most important segment of Burma's political society. …

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