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Discipline without democracy: military dominance in post-colonial Burma1
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-21, 00:52 authored by Nicholas FarrellyNicholas Farrelly
After five decades in which military dominance defined post-colonial politics, Burma has recently embarked on a long-delayed process of political reform. The gradual democratisation of the country's political institutions has meant that the history of its two twentieth-century coups is increasingly overlooked. This article presents a focused study of military interventionism in Burma and offers explanations for the successful entrenchment of military rule. The mindset of the military leadership and its success at sidelining opponents is explored alongside a preliminary consideration of the role that international support has played. Crucially, military leaders have been exasperated by what they consider feeble (and foreign-controlled) civilian authorities that have been incapable of preventing national fragmentation. This mindset, plus effective repression and support by neighbouring countries such as China, formed the basis of the military's rule. Therefore, the prospects of future democratisation efforts will rely on a fuller understanding of the processes that led the armed forces to exert consistent dominance.
Publication titleAustralian Journal of International Affairs
Department/SchoolSchool of Social Sciences
Place of publicationAustralia
Rights statementCopyright 2013 Australian Institute of International Affair