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Myanmar: Failing State?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
August 24, 2011

Mynamar's Aung San Suu Kyi (L) meets President Thein Sein at the presidential palace in Naypyitaw August 19, 2011.

Mynamar's Aung San Suu Kyi (L) meets President Thein Sein at the presidential palace in Naypyitaw August 19, 2011 (Myanmar News Agency/Courtesy Reuters).

In recent weeks, attention has focused on a potential rapprochement in Burma between the government and longtime opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi traveled for the first time to the new capital of Naypyidaw, and met with the top government leadership — although she did not meet with former regime head Senior General Than Shwe, who is still believed to wield considerable influence from behind the scenes.

But even as Suu Kyi’s talks have raised hopes, a disaster still looms in northern and northeastern Burma. There, fragile cease-fires between the government and ethnic insurgents are in danger of breaking down and creating renewed civil conflict in one of the most lawless areas of the world. This conflict could have enormous security ramifications, both for Burma and for neighboring China.

In a new article for Current History, I analyze Burma’s failing regions and consider the implications for China and the United States. The article research was conducted with the generous support of the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation.

You can see the article here.

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