Burma Military RuleMyanmar military government
Burma: The reason why his army still exists
Burma's recent liberation of Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi from home imprisonment has made news worldwide. However, more than 2,000 of their peers and others are still in custody - a fact that still illustrates the mutual hostility between the army rulers and their antagonists.
Myanmar has the longest remaining army regime in the run. Myanmar has not had a traditional regime for almost half a century-- Of course, other nations have seen armed forces in recent years - but they are generally seen, even by their followers, as short-term rather than semi-permanent instruments.
However, Burma's army regime is different for four historic reasons: a powerful army record, a relatively fragile civic community, a long-standing anxiety about dissolution and an equal amount of anxiety about overseas intrusion. Contrary to most of Asia and Africa, Burma did not gain its sovereignty through traditional civic policy alliances.
The modern Burma arose in part from an allied battle against the Japans - a fight, which until 1945 included Burma armed groups headed by the rulers of the post-independence armies. In this respect, Burma's Olympic legacy is similar to that of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Indonesia in the middle to end of the twentieth centuries or even the caudillo in South America after gaining political power in the nineteenth centuries.
Burma's embryo army, known as the Burma Independence Army, was first established during the Second World Peace Treaty by Burma's anti-colonial nationals in cooperation with the Japan. It became the Burma Defence Army (1942) and then the National Army of Burma (1943) under Japan. The BNA changed sides when the conflict against Japan began and became the patriotic Burma forces in support of the Allies.
During all these political changes in the nomenklature, however, Burma's embryo armed forces were headed by Aung San, the greatest political figure in Burma today. In fact, it is his iconship that not only maintains Burma's armed traditions (and thus, to some degree, the present army dictatorship), but also the position of Burma's most important opponent, his subsidiary Aung San Suu Kyi.
Secondly, the historical weakness of civilian life is a major contributor to this. The United Kingdom conquered parts of Burma in 1824, and the ensuing abolishment of the Myanmar empire and the deprivation of the Myanmar artistocracy (by the last Myanmar monarchs and then by the British) all helped to subvert the country's conventional civilian rule.
Burma's Burmese-speaking minority was largely barred from holding mid- and upper official positions under UK domination. In fact, Indians and Brits from India's subcontinent were enlisted for public services, while members of Burma's many minority tribes made up much of the Burmese military and law enforcement force.
This was because, although Burma was part of British India, its Burmese-speaking core country was one of the last areas to be captured and integrated into the Raj. The depression of the 1930' also devastated Burma's embryonal centre classes - the classes that would otherwise have established the basis of civic life.
A further contributor to the military's power is Burma's nationalistic anxiety about the country's collapse. Immediately as a consequence of this trial, around two-thirds of Burma's territories are still populated by non-Burmese native-speaking minority groups, which make up about one-third of Burma's overall people. Burma has tens of different ethnic and language minority groups - the biggest are the five million Shan, the four million Karen, the two million Arakanese and the Mon, Chin, Karenni and Kachin people.
Nationalistic fear of the country's collapse was reinforced by a large number of riots by national minorities, two of which (the Karen and Shan uprisings) are still going on today. In the immediate aftermath of Burma's sovereignty, the Myanmar authorities were confronted with more than a decade of rebellion, and even today the federal government's decision still does not apply to about five to ten percent of Burma's population.
Burma's nation-state decay anxiety is inextricably tied to a simultaneous anxiety about overseas interventions, a anxiety that has caused an unusual degree of hostility in the army. Burma has certainly endured a considerable number of international incursions and plots - from the 1760' China incursions to the three 19 th C. Anglo-Burmese War, Japan's rejection of real autonomy (1943-45) and the CIA's support for the Northeast Burma Nazi invasion of China (1950-61).
Over and above all these historical elements, the Burmese army has profited from Burma's old traditions of civic awe. And all these facts account for why the Burmese general has reigned for so long. Respectful approaches have also contributed to driving the nation's friars to the front against the state. From a historical point of view, there has been little involvement of religious in the world of politics. 6.
Until 1885, the ancient Myanmar Empire and the buddhistic Sanga (the incumbent "church") had a synmbiotic relation in which the monarchs "bought" carma (by giving funds or other ressources to the buddhistic order of monks). This was a guarantee of the Sanga's backing for the regime and made an impression on the people. But with the abolishment of the Monarchie this symbolic relation ended and the Sanga remained without a conventional rôle.
Until 1920, the first large anticolonial group in Burma - the General Council of Burma Associations - was founded by a group of nuns. In the 1920' the friars were then engaged in a string of anti-colonial strike and fiscal protest and then in an armistice (1930-31). Prior to World War II, Burma's General Aung San joined forces with activist religious to create a Freedom Block.
First, like most long-lived dictatories, Burma's armed forces are lacking the capacity to run the country's economies successfully. The scarcity of foods and raging rates of price increases have dramatically curtailed the capacity of the nation's 400,000 religious, whose primary mission is to play a spiritually active part and who are therefore not permitted to work for themselves or cultivate toast.
Thant Myint's The Making of Modern Burma (CUP, 2001); Burmese administrative cycles: Conquest and anarchy, 1580-1760 by V Lieberman (Princeton, 1984); political paranoia of M; political paranoia in Burma by M. Gravers (Routledge, 1999);