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What Is Suu Kyi’s Role in Burma Today?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
September 6, 2011

Aung San Suu Kyi talks to reporters after meeting Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special envoy on human rights in Myanmar, at Suu Kyi's home in Yangon August 24, 2011.

Aung San Suu Kyi talks to reporters after meeting Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special envoy on human rights in Myanmar, at Suu Kyi's home in Yangon August 24, 2011 (Soe Zeya Tun/ Courtesy Reuters).

As Burma’s new president, Thein Sein, appears to be embracing reforms, including launching a dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, Suu Kyi’s role in a potentially transformed political landscape has become a major point of debate. Should she try to rebuild the National League for Democracy, get the party legalized, and prepare it – and her – to contest future elections? Should she play a broader, elder stateswoman role, dealing with poverty, environmental destruction, rights abuses, and potential ethnic conflict?

In The New Republic, Hunter Marston and I address the question of Suu Kyi’s role today, and propose pragmatic ways she can play a major role, without endangering herself and her party.

You may read the piece here.

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