After the junta is toppled

Holding together the new Burma

It is far from certain that the unrest in Myanmar will result in the toppling of the junta. But planning for that contingency is in order. Drew Thompson, a senior fellow at the Nixon Center, offers some suggestions:

In addition to dusting off plans for evacuating non-combatants, western and Asean nations should think about the potential outcomes. If the junta cracks down violently and stops the protests, the international community needs to press China, India and Asean to advance a substantive response, not just further dialogue and toothless resolutions while continuing to invest in Burma’s extractives industries. Asean and its member countries must also reconsider their constructive engagement approach.

If the junta unexpectedly collapses, an international force should be quickly mobilised to fill the security vacuum and restore peace. India (a top provider of United Nations peacekeepers), along with several Asean nations, would be prime candidate to provide the police and soldiers necessary to restore order in a UN-sanctioned mission. The US Navy in the Pacific demonstrated its immense capacity following the tsunami disaster of 2004 and could be deployed in similar fashion, in support of either a UN mission or a more rapid humanitarian response.

While installing Nobel Prize laureate Ms Suu Kyi as the leader of the Burmese people might appear an elegant solution to the international community, her small and oppressed NLD party has no governing experience or technocrats, and she would be inheriting a dysfunctional bureaucracy loyal to the generals. Establishing a functioning civilian government in Burma will require sustained international attention, long after the monks have returned to their monasteries. [FT]

So yes, get rid of the generals by all means. But keep the army intact.

2 thoughts on “After the junta is toppled”

  1. The three major entities – India, China and the Asean – all in Burma’s neighborhood – know quite well what’s in their interest. Obviously they have formulated strategies after studying the regime and their own national interests.

    It’s really foolhardy of the West to expect anyone to toe their line. Everyone plays the game here – the West didn’t mind supporting the Shah of Iran (1960s), Augusto Pinochet (1970s), Saddam Hussein (1980s). Just like Burma’s stronger neighbors are doing today.

    I wonder what deeper strategy lies beneath the West’s sudden interest in democracy human rights, regime change in Burma.

  2. Nitin,

    I think the reality is that there is very little India or the rest of the world can do in Burma short of a military invasion for which the UN authorisation will not be ofcourse coming courtesy China.

    The rest of the world has practically no levers left to pressure the Burmese regime. They have shown that they are willing to hold onto power at any cost- Even starving its own people to death.in this scenario all sanctions are moot and it is a bonus to them that the Chinese for their own reasons are backing them up. it is not the primary reason for their ignoring of world condemnation.

    And again against such a regime Gandhian style tactics is moot.The people should be ready to fight them to death unless they take the initiative what is the rest of the world going to do? this is not the 19th century atleast not for the countries that do not call themselves the PRC, when Gunboat diplomacy was the norm.

    and anyway it looks like the movement is already fizzling out.the monks have been confined to the monasteries and the crowds are melting away.

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