Analysis and appendix

VII. Analysis

After the independence, out of 54 years of Burma's freedom, the civilian government had ruled only 12 years: from 1848 to 1958, and from 1960 to 1962. The military regime government's strong resistance to change has kept the society with its traditional model and without much compromise of the contemporary worldviews. The mindsets of the military leaders still stay ever strong to protect the nation against any foreign influence and infiltration of any foreign ideology and social cultural values. On the other hand, the military regime has been in the highest level struggling for its political legitimacy and future political survival. Out of several pressures given by regional and international community and opposition, there has been no systematic political development and any step that the regime has taken is exploitative and favoring only the regime's policy.

Politically, in the recent historic public demonstration against the regime since 1988, most of the people of Burma expressed their support for democracy and have voiced their demand for political transition from military rule to civilian government. However, the people's mindsets and their attachment to traditional societal hierarchical order, lack of democratic education and information, lack of freedom under the military rule, lack of freedom to learn and know the prerequisites intellectual means for democratic practices, all these factors contribute to slow the progress of democratization in Burma. At the same time, under the military's oppressive rule, any dissent or opposition can cost one's life itself. Under the constant surveillance of the military rulers, the civil society has been kept under control, which tightened the free movement of the people, especially concerning political issues. It is a high risk to come up against the military regime as history has taught the people of Burma. Therefore, a situation like the 1988 public uprising is unlikely to happen, although it can happen at any time.

The military regime, since its earlier years in 1960s, has been practicing internal purging from any dissent and potential faction that has helped the military leaders maintain their political role as untouchable at the center. Therefore, there seems to be no potential collapse of the military by itself at this time. The military leaders, since Ne Win's early years, has been removing any potential threat to the figurehead. For example, U Aung Kyi, who was one of the best known among military leaders was removed and jailed by Ne Win in early 1960s, U Aung Shwe a well known political figure was forced to retire, U Tin Oo was accused of coup attempt and jailed in the 1970s, U Tin Oo was recently killed ( by suspected assassination) in a plane crash, and many more. Not only within the military wing, but also among civilians many political figures have been jailed, kept under house arrest, and banned from political movement, and so on. Therefore, there is no potential threat from the opposition from within and outside to the military regime. Moreover, after the struggle for more than a decade, the military regime has gained a lot more political stability inside the country. During the last decade, the regime has made a successful diplomatic deal with most of the armed groups.

Having seen the world's political and historical records of several political transition and regime changes, based the obvious political condition, we can assume that the Burma politics is unlikely to take place in favor of the opposition. However, depending on the extent of the opposition's moderation and negotiability that the military regime government may possibly liberate its position for the sake of a peaceful co-existence and the resolution of a decade long political standoff. Samuel Huntington suggest that in a transplacement and transformation model political transition, which likely going to take place in Burma, both parties have to trust each other for the building of a stable and commonly acceptable political system. Otherwise, the military regime government will manipulate the military power to maintain the central political power, and the cost will be beyond what people would expect. At the same time, the opposition will go on and on without political solution.

The Asia political phenomena has played a very important role for the progress of democratization in Burma. The China's changing political attitude toward the Burma military regime that has support both militarily and economically, Thailand's constructive engagement with the regime government, India's competitive role with China to get involve with the Burma military regime government both economically and militarily, Singapore's constant support for the regime, the ASEAN's constructive engagement with the regime, have all contributed to stabilize the Burma military regime and hinder the effectiveness of international pressure and the opposition's effort for political transition. However, the international economic sanction matters to the regime government's starving economic condition that has threatened the military leaders to at least some extent for fear of future potential crisis that would invalidate their political role.

After 40 years of experience, and having been purged internally again and again, the military government will be able to stand any internal potential faction, and continue cracking down the opposition one way or another. While the opposition, with a few armed groups along the border lines and some the then 1990 MP-elects and political activists around the world will hardly accumulate a balanced political and military power to overthrow the regime government. The UN's soft and gentle interference on human rights issues with its economic sanction and diplomatic pressure, without the cooperation of the Asian sympathizing neighbors, will not dismantle the regime government. For the regime government will defend its political status quo even with the cost of thousands of death tools or severe economic starvation. The recent military build up in both the number of army personals and the military infrastructure and its political show off in dealing with the opposition armed groups, as well as with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi proves that the confidence of the regime government to go ahead without initiating major political change.

Looking back to Samuel Huntington's view on the world's political transitions, based on the current political conditions in Burma that provide the political status quo for the regime, the future potential for political transition of Burma can be, with or without suspect, predicted. Replacement transition, according to Huntington, in which a transition the collapse of the regime is necessary by its own internal political rivalry or by the opposition, is unlikely to take place in Burma. Because, after a four decades experience and repeated internal purge within the military wing, and after rebuilding the strength of the Burma military since 1988 with the help of the so called constructive engagement by the Asian neighboring countries, there has been no clue of the collapse of the military regime by its own internal rivalry. The current regime has proved its solidarity during the last April 2002 coup attempt by Ne Win's son in law and three grandsons. They are still strong enough to prevent any coup attempt and are self sufficient without the help of former dictator and father of the military regime, Ne Win, who many believe to be the key remote controller of the Burma military regime. On the other hand, as many as more than 18 of the ethnic armed groups have been under cease-fire with the regime, and only a few groups still remain as armed groups against the regime. Moreover, the main opposition party NLD has no intention to fight the regime government militarily or to bring foreign force to crack down the regime. The number and force of the student activists are combatively and comparatively weak against the Bumra military. The regional or international military intervention is unlikely to occur; all those condition give no potential threat to the regime. Therefore, the complete replacement will not take place based on the present obvious political conditions.

However, the military leaders are aware of the international pressures, the crying demand of the people of Burma for political change, lack of political legitimacy for their political role, and the starving condition of the nation's economy. Since 2000, the military leaders have been having a secret, covert talk with the opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who was released on May 6 2002 from her second term house arrest since 2000, that shows the military leaders' positive gesture toward the opposition and toward possible negotiation. Moreover, the recent release of more than 200 political prisoners and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would pave the way for a future deal between the two opposing parties. The opposition has also learned that without cooperating with the military leaders, they alone cannot bring change in the country. And the overall political phenomena encourage constructive engagement and cooperation between the opposition and the military leaders if one's concern is the resolution of the present political standoff. Therefore, there would possibly be, according to Huntongton's view, a transition that is partly transformation and partly transplacement. In this condition, the reformers within the military wing will have to act to cooperate with the opposition. On the other hand, the opposition, accepting their incapability of bringing a definite change, have to negotiate with the military leaders and open to share even necessary legacies, power and guarantee professional integrity to the military leaders. However, it is suspected to happen that the military leaders would voluntarily surrender their political power to the opposition, who they think are in their hands like a rat before a giant cat or a storm in the teapot. Moreover, it is always true that the military mindset demands unigorable pressure to do what they voluntarily do not want to do.

It is not sure how far the military leaders' next political game will lull the opposition and the international community. Nevertheless, it is certain the military regime has to change its political strategy and deal with the opposition, at least to be appeared as though it is doing things toward democratization and political transition. The regime's national convention has been drafting a national constitution which new constitution will guarantee the military's important political role in the future government. It is hard to believe that the opposition will accept the military leaders' plan for their constitutional rights to be part of the core political decision-making body. Therefore, as the military leaders will always try to prolong the deal, maximizing their opportunity to crack down the opposition, the political transition is unlikely to happen very soon.

To predict the potential detail transition would be too early. However, whatever takes place, the military leaders will monitor the transition process, and mostly the new frame of the new system will be in favor of the military leaders. Otherwise, the opposition has to wait until the military regime be crashed by itself sometime in the future. According to the Burmese tradition, the Kochin sana hmuh mercy of the military leaders may fall upon the opposition and the starving citizens and share, at least some extent, the political power in the central political body. If the opposition will still stand tough on the issues of power sharing there will be difficulty for negotiation and cooperation for the political solution of the country. But, it is hopeful that both parties will be able to leave the past and negotiate for a brighter future of the people of Burma. If the military reformers will be willing to go back to their barracks, the opposition should also promise a beautiful and respectable mansion for their future profession.


To The Military Leaders:

1) The military leaders should initiate a negotiating table where the military, the opposition party leaders, and the ethnic leaders can openly share their vision for the solution of the ongoing political crisis.

2) The military leaders should unconditionally release all political prisoners and allow all political parties involve in the process of democratization.

3) The military leaders should stop all kinds of human rights violations around the country.

4) The military leaders should not ignore the decreasing national economy, which will definitely lead the country into severe crisis if the nation's economy is not reconstructed.

5) The military leaders should allow the people to decide who should rule the country.

6) The military leaders should learn that democracy is necessary for the survival and integrity of the nation.

7) The military leaders should not exploit the ongoing process of democractization and should not try to manipulate the political flow toward their favors.

8) The military leaders should know that they would be much more respected and honored for defending the nation if they do not interfere the central politics.

9) The military leaders should be clearly convinced that they cannot rule the country forever that the sooner they accept political transition from military rule to civilian government the lesser painful consequence will be.

10) The military leaders should allow the UN or foreign expertise to observe or help the process of the negotiation.

To The Opposition

1) The opposition should regard the military leaders as trustworthy leaders for negotiation.

2) The opposition should accept the military leaders' proposal for the military's role of politics in the future government to be discussed on the negotiating table.

3) The opposition should be ready to accept the military leaders' professional integrity with exit guarantee that there should be no punishment on the military leaders for the past grievances caused by the military rule.

4) The opposition should include all ethnic nationalities on the negotiating table.

5) The opposition should invite the UN or international observers to assist and observe the process of negotiation.

To The International Community

1) To give a constant pressure on the Burma regime until an acceptable political transition takes place

2) To increase the support for the progress of democratization in Burma

3) To carefully watch and observe the process of a potential political transition

4) To provide and facilitate any necessary means for the progress of democratization in Burma whenever possible.







I. Top Figures of the Regime

Ne Win (1911- ):

Ne Win, formerly known as Shu Maung, did not graduate and was a postal clerk before he joined the thirty comrades who went to Japan for military training to against the British rule. Later on, he joined anti-Japanese resistance. In 1949, Ne Win replaced Lt-Gen Smith-Dun, the Karen commander-in-chief of the Burma Army and became Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of the Home and Defense ministries, in addition to his post as supreme commander of the armed force. Ne Win led the 1958-1960 caretaker government and seized central political power on March 2, 1962, ruling until 1988. Although it has been suspected that after his resignation from the head of the nation, the April 2002 coup de'tat attempt gave us a clue that the current military regime has separated its political image from the influence of Ne Win. During the coup de'tat attempt of April 2002, Ne Win's son-in-law and three grandsons were arrested.

Gen Than Shwe (1933- ):

Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, Gen. Than Shwe was born on Feb 2, 1933 in Kyaykse, Mandalay Division. He attended secondary school and worked as postal clerk and later joined to the military in 1953. He graduated the officer training. He has served as Chief of Staff, Ministry of Defense; Army Deputy Chief of Staff; Deputy Commander in Chief of Defense Services (1990-92); Deputy Chairman, State Law and Order Restoration Council (1990-1992); Chairman, State Law and Order Restoration Council (Sept. 1988-Nov. 1997); Chairman, State Peace and Development Council (Nov. 1997-present); Prime Minister and Minister of Defense (April 1992-present); Minister of Agriculture (present). He seems willing to retire but the regime government needs him for his hard-liner stand.

Lt-Gen Khin Nyut ( 1939- ):

Widely known as the most powerful figure within the ruling junta. He graduated from Officer's Training, and also holds Arts degree. He became a commander of Infantry Battalion No. 20 in 1960, and tactical commander of the 44th Light Infantry Division in 1982. In 1984, he became head of Directorate of Defense Services Intelligence (DDSI). He was a strong hard-liner in crushing the 1988 student pro-democratic activists. He has a close relationship with Ne Win. He is the first Secretary of the SPDC.

Gen Maung Aye (1940- ):

Vice Chairman of the SPDC. He graduated from Defense Service academy and joined the military in 1959. He was promoted to Colonel in 1979. He became the commander of North East Region in 1986 and Eastern Region in 1988. In 1990, he became Deputy Commander in Chief (Defense Service), and Vice Chairman of the SLORC in 1994 and the same position in the PSDC. He is a hard-liner, suspected to be a rival of Lt-Khin Nyut, Secretary 1.

II. Facts about Burma:


Location: South East Asia

Coastline boundaries: 1,930 km, bordering the Adaman Sea, the Bay of bangal between Bangladesh and Thailand.

Area total: 678, 500 sq km; land: 657, 740 sq km; water: 20,760 sq km

Land boundaries total: 5,786 KM

Border countries: Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Loas 253 km, Thailand 1,800 km.

Geographic coordinates 22 00 N, 98 00 E

Climate: Tropical monsoon-rainy (June-October), winter (Novermber-February) and summer (march-May)

Elevation highest point: Hkhakabo Razi 5, 881 m

Natural resources: petrolium, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydro power

Land use-arable: 15%; permanent corp: 1%; permanent pastures: 1%; forests and woodland: 49% ; other 49% (1993 est.);

integrated land: 10,680 sq km (1993 est.)


Population: 48 million

Nationality: Burmese

Ethnic groups: Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhaine 4%, Chinese 3%, Mon 2%, Indian 2%, other 5%

Population growth rate: 0.6% (2001 est.)

Birth rate: 20.13 birth/1,000 population ( 2001 est.)

Death rate: 12.3 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)

Sex ratio: 0.99 male(s)/female (2001 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 73.71 deaths/1,000 live birth (2001 est.); 80 ( 2002)

Life expectancy at birth: 55.16 years

Total fertility rate: 2.3 children born/woman (2001 est.)

Public health Expenditure: 0.2% of GDP

Main Telephone line: 2 per 1000 people

Religion: Budhist 89%, Christian 4%, Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%

Languages: Burmese, and minority langueages

Literacy: 83.1% ( above 15 age and older can read and wirte)


Independent: 4 January, 1948

Government type: Military regime

Country name: Union of Burma and its local name is Pyidaungsuh Myanmar Naingngandaw (1948-1974), Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma, its local term-Myanmar naingngandaw (1974-1989), and the Union of Myanmar (1989-till today).

Capital: Rangon also called Yangon.

Administrative divisions: 7 states-Chin state, Kachin state, Shan state, Kayin State, Kayah state, Mon state, Rakhaine state, and 7 divisions-Magway, mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, Yangon, Peku, Irrawadi.

Constitution: January 3 1974 ( has been suspended since 18, September 1988). A new constitution is being drawn since 9 January 1993

Executive branch: Democratic government (1948-1958) led by Prime Minister U Nu, care taker government (1958-1960) led by Ne Win, Revulotionary Council, the military regime ( (1962-1988) led by Ne Win, State law and Order restoration Council ( 1988-1992 led by Dr. Maung maung, Sr. General Saw Maung, Sein Lwe, and the State Peace and Development Council ( 1992-present) led by Sr. General Than Shwe.

chief of the state: Prime minister and chairman of the State Peace and Development Coouncil sr. General Than Shwe (since 23 April 1992).


GDP: Purchasing power-$ 63.7 billion (2000 est.)

Real growth rate: 4.9% (2000 est.)

Per capita: purchasing power parity- $ 1,500 ( 2000 est.)

Composition by sector: agriculture-42%, industry-17%, service-41% ( 2000 ets.)

Population below poverty line: 23% ( 1997 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer price): 18% (1999)

Labor force: 19.7 million ( FY 1998/99 est.)

Labor force-by occupation: agriculture 65%, industry 10%, services 25% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate: 7.1% ( FY 1997/98)

Industries: agricultural processing, textiles and footwear; wood pharmaceuticals; fertilizer

Exports: $ 1.3 billion (1999)

Export commodities: apparel 36%, foodstuff 22%, wood products 21%, precious stones 5%, (1999)

Export partners: India 13%, Singapore 11%, China 11%, US 8%, (1999 est.)

Imports: $ 2.5 billion (1999)

Import commodities: Machinery, transport equipment, construction materiel, food products

Import -partners: Singapore 28%, Thailand 12%, China 10%, Japan 10%, South Korea 9%

Debt - extralnal: $ 6 billion (FY 1998/99)

Currency: Kyat

Exchange rates: US $ 1= 6.5972 (January 2001, official exch.), more than Ks. 700 ( present in Black market)


Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force

Military manpower age: 18

Military expenditure: $ 39 million ( FY 1997/98), 2.1% of GDP



1) Jeremy Woodrum, How to Hit Burma Where It Hurts, The Washington Post, December 12, 2001.)

2) Ma Thanegi, Burma Sanction: Case Against: BBC 4 March, 2002)

3) Peter Baker, U.S. to Impose Sanction On Burma for Repression: Clinton Decision Defies Business: The Washington Post, Washington D.C., April 22, 1997

4) Sanction: BEW News, June 2001


5) c. Raja Mohan, The Hindu (New Delhi), April 6, 2002.

6) Professor Steinberg, Approaching Burma/Myanmar: Foreign Policy Dilemmas 1993

7) BEW News, Sanction, June 2001


8) Asian Oberver: Government Leaders in Burma, June 2001

9) Biographies-The Irrawaddy News Magazine-Interactive Edition


10) The Military Way-Burma Debate


11) Burma/mynamar:How Strong is the Military Regime? December 2000

ICG Asia report, Bangkok/Brussels

12) Myanmar: The Military Regime's View of the World December 2001


-The armed groups and cease-fires

14) Facts About the All Burma Student Democratic Front (ABSDF)

15) Dr. Joseph Silverstein, To Stand and Be Counted, The Suppression of Burma's Members of Parlianment

16) The National Coalition Government of Burma (NCGUB);Members of NNCGUB

17) Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's Biography: NCGUB

18) Military Analyst Network: Burma Insurgency

19) David I. Steinberg, Myanmar's Minority Conundrum: Issues of Ethnicity and Authority

20) The Burma Project-Burma Debate, Mobilizing the Masses,a/burmadebate/janfebbttm.html

21) International Crisis Groups, Myanmar: The Role of Civil Society, December 2001

ICG Asia Report N 28. Bangkok/Brussel

22) Burma Mynamar: Strong Regime Weak State, by Morten B. Pedersen, Emily Rutland and R.J.May Nov. 2000

23) Sean Turnell, Burma's Economy-A Reply to Zaw Tun, January 2002

Online Burma Library:

24) Burma Economic Watch, Tables and Data, June 2001

Online Burma Library,

25) CIA World Fact Books: Burma

26) Yahoo Country Profile: Burma

27) Burma Economy 2000 by Photius Coutsoukis

28) Jean-Francois Rioux and Robin Hay, Development, Peace and Security: the Possibilities and Limits of Convergence. Development Express: Francais No. 06. 1996

International Development Information Center

29) Dalphino, Catharin E, Does globalization promote democracy?

Brookings Review v.19 no4 (Fall 2001) p. 45-8

30) John V. Dennis, "A Review of national Social Policies: Myanmar"

31) David Steinberg, "Approaching Burma/Myanmar: Foreign Policy Dilemas Aungust 1999

32) Armed Peace negotiation in Burma from the Regime's page.

33) Hermann Giliomee, "Democratization in South Asia,

Political Sceince Quarterly, Volume 110, Number 1, 1995

34) Ilpyong J. Kim, "The Politics of Democratization in Korea: The Role of Civil Society" The American Political Science Review: Menasha;Dec2001;Aie-Re Lee

35) Sustainable Development in Central Asia/Central Asia: The Challenge of Independence, Europe-Asia Studies: Abingdon; Sep 1999: Sally Cummings

36) James H Nolt, "Liberalizing Asia", World Policy Journal: New York; Summer 1999;

37) Minxin Pei, "Asia's Political Lesson", The China Business Review; Washington; Sept/Oct 1999

38) Pamela Sodhy, "Democratization in Southeast and East Asia", Journal of Third World Studies; Americus; Spring 1999

39) Robert Compton, "Reconstructing Political Legitimacy in Asia: Globalization and Political Development," International Journal on World Peace: New York; Dec. 2000

40) Andrew Huxley, "Pre-colonial Burmese Law, IIAS Newsletter online

41) Andrew Huxley, SOAS, "The Last Fifty Years pf Burmese Law" LAWASIA 1998

42) Myint Zan, "Judicial Independence in Burma: No March Backwards Towards the Past" APLPJ: Judicial Independence in Burma

43) Samuel P. Hungtington, "How Countries Democratize": Political Science Quarterly. Volume 106, Issue 4 (Winter, 1991-1992), 579-616.

44) Peter McDonough, Doh C. Shin, & Jose Alvaro Moises, "Democratization and Participation: Comparing Spain, Brazil, and Korea

The Yournal of Politics, Volume 60, Issue 4 (Nov, 1998), 919-953

45) Beverly Hills, Jacek Kugler, & Yi Feng, "Explaining and Modeling Democratic Transitions," The Journal of Conflict Resolution; Apr 1999.

46) Minxin Pei, "A Long Road Ahead," Far Eastern Economic Review, Hong Kond, Jan 2000

47) Jean-Francois Rioux and Robin Hay, "Development, Peace and Security: the Possibilities and Limits of Convergence," International Development Information Center, No 06 1996

48) Dalpino, Catharin E, "Does Globalization Promote Democracy?" Brooking Review v. 19 no4 (fall 2001)

49) David Sternberg, "Myanmar's Minority Conundrun: Issues of Ethnicity and Authority," Japan Institute of International Affair, Conference July 6-7, 2001, Tokyo.

50) Dr. nancy Hudson-Rodd, "People's Desire:Cultural and State Oppression in Burma, October 2001

51) Ghana-A transition of Hope and Trepidation, Ghana Election Briefing,

52) Democratization, Human Rights, and Good Government in Africa: French, American, and African Perspectives, June 1998

53) Togo-Stalled Democratic Transition

54) J. Kayode Fayemi, "Dilemas of Civilian Control in A Post-Military State: Interpretating recent Developments in the Nigeria Armed Forces

55) Beyond Elections-From Transition to Transformation in Nigeria: Options and Issues for the new Government

56) Sean Turnell, Burma's Economy-A Reply to Zaw Tun, January 2002

Online Burma Library:

57) Burma Economic Watch, Tables and Data, June 2001

Online Burma Library,

58) CIA World Fact Books: Burma

59) Yahoo Country Profile: Burma

60) Burma Economy 2000 by Photius Coutsoukis