Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know

Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know by David I. Steinberg
The longest rebellion in the modern world still operates there. In his opening statement Steinberg admits that: “It is sad and also embarrassing to admit honestly that one cannot offer an early way out of the present set of crises [in Myanmar]”

David Steinberg has one very convincing argument that Myanmar is yet another civil war that the USA has no need to be involved with. A radical change of US foreign policy is called for, if it is not to continue the failed strategy of the past with regard ex-colonial countries that have moved toward nationalism.

Steinberg’s excellent book fully covers Myanmar’s crises, their causes, and solutions applied by civilian and military governments. It covers internal insurgencies as well as external foreign policy manipulation. Most Americans will be shocked to learn that the government and many people in Myanmar truly believe the US Government intends to invade their county! Steinberg says: “Fear of consipiracies (even invasions) by foreign powers or elements against the leadership have made Burmese leaders both wary and skeptical about the motivations of foreign governments toward the state and its leaders. This is reinforced by previous foreign attempts to destabilize governments and rulers and support of dissident ethnic/political groups. These nationalistic tendencies are only magnified by derogatory foreign comments about the regime, its goals and its leaders. Fear of foreign domination may contribute to the suspicions about Aung San Suu Kyi, who is supported by the Western foreign community”.

Even considering Steinberg’s impartial and fair handling of all parties to the crises of Myanmar, it is difficult to see lasting solutions to the issues. His final statement offers little if any consolation or hope for the future: “As the political stalemate continues, as foreign pressures for reform seem ineffective, and as the internal conditions of the peoples in the country deteriorate, those outside of that benighted country can only hope that in some Burmese manner the people will win through.”

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