“Prospects for reconciliation between Myanmar’s most powerful national military and the dominant majority Burmese society that view the former as little more than a Fascist-like occupation force, do not exist.

Myanmar or Burma has now entered a new phase of a full-blown Zero Sum conflict which may be inaccurately labeled as “civil-military” or “state-society” vertical conflict. Though made respectable and legitimate as the crucial state actor by the ousted NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi and by external actors bent on doing business in Myanmar,  the country’s military known as the Tatmadaw (or feudal or royal armed forces) has long morphed into a terrorist criminal syndicate. Today that’s the common perception or shared conclusion of the Burmese public.

FORSEA’s Maung Zarni blew the whistle about the military-led top-down democratic reforms – which he argued were, in the final instance, cosmetic as early as these “reforms” were launched by the Burmese generals in 2010. To his rage and dismay, this “transition” was blessed by none other than Aung San San Suu Kyi  and celebrated by Western media,  powerful external actors such as the United Nations, United States, European Union, Australia, international financial institutions and, last but not least, a plethora of influential thinktanks (for instance, the International Crisis Group) and in-house or freelance consultants on Myanmar.

FORSEA is reposting a fairly diplomatically worded analysis which the FORSEA co-founder wrote in 2012, when the dust of Myanmar’s hyped up reforms began to settle.


The analysis was originally written as a commissioned policy brief for NORED, a think-tank linked to the Norwegian Government which was then playing the leading role in Myanmar’s economic opening and diplomatic and political normalization in the West.   But Zarni’s call for Norway putting a moratorium on its peace initiative fundamentally undermined Norway’s foreign policy agenda including economic investment in his (Zarni’s) country. Consequently, the commissioning NORED shelved this policy brief and proceeded to hire two western consultants who went on to produce a very favourable analysis praising Norway’s peace building initiative in Myanmar. ”

Further reading

Reforms in Myanmar: Hype and Realities | Zarni’s Blog (maungzarni.net)

Zarni comes out firing at Burma experts, again – New Mandala

TRANSCEND MEDIA SERVICE » Open Letter to International Crisis Group

Don’t buy into Burma’s cosmetic reforms | Opinions | Al Jazeera


Banner: March 2021: Yangon, Myanmar. @zinkohein Zinko Hein, Unsplash

Posted by FORSEA