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External Intervention and Democratisation in Myanmar: A Policy Evaluation

Chun, Kwang Ho 1

1Kings College~, London Univ.

Candidate

ABSTRACT

This paper will analyse how and to what extend have international initiatives to foster democratic change in Myanmar failed? The method adopted will be to analyse the policy of different actors of the international scene toward Myanmar. Several methods for promoting democracy exist. Apart from being persuasive or coercive, methods to promote democracy can be of three types: political, economic or military. Sanctions comprise essentially economic sanctions and they can be conceptualised as a means of exerting what is called coercive diplomacy. In 2003, as a consequence of the Depayin incident, the US decided to strengthen its sanction policy toward Myanmar. Regarding the goal of a change of regime or any democracychange of behavior from he military Junta, no significant results can be seen. The USpolicy of sanctions toward Myanmar suffers several shortcomings. The credibility of US sanctions is especially undermined by the attitude of ASEAN countries which oppose sanctions and are tenants of a policy of constructive engagement. There is no clear consensus among international actors about how to act toward Myanmar and this clearly impacts on US sanctions. The first EU Common Position adopted on Myanmar dates from 1996, It encompasses measures of arm embargo, suspension of defence cooperation, suspension of bilateral aid other than strictly humanitarian one, visa ban on members of the military regime, members of the government, senior military and security officers and members of their families and a suspension of highgovernmental visits to Myanmar. A general fallacy of the EU policy toward Myanmar is that it lacks a profound analysis of the special context within which the country finds itself. The EU policy is characterized by an underestimation of the transitional challenges that Myanmar needs to confront. In 1993, Myanmarsignaled for the first time its interest in becoming a member of ASEAN. The policy of ASEAN toward Myanmar has been characterized as one of constructive engagement. ASEAN support for Myanmar caused strain in relations with ASEAN western partners. It is indeed credible that Myanmar does not wish to be an embarrassment for ASEAN. What are therefore, some hints of policy options that might reveal more effective toward Myanmar? The international community desperately needs a coherent Myanmar policy. Assistance is central in building the conditions necessary for a sustainable democratic government.

Citation status

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