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A Review of Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia

by Joshua Kurlantzick
December 15, 2011

Villagers pan for gold from the Irrawaddy river near the town of Myitkyina in northern Myanmar. Myitkyina has been an important trading town between China and Myanmar since ancient times.

Villagers pan for gold from the Irrawaddy river near the town of Myitkyina in northern Myanmar. Myitkyina has been an important trading town between China and Myanmar since ancient times (Soe Zeya Tun/Courtesy Reuters).

In the midst of what appears to be Myanmar’s year of reform, Burmese author and historian Thant Myint-U, by far the best-known – and most controversial – Burmese scholar, has put out a timely book. Where China Meets India continues the argument he made in his last book, The River of Lost Footsteps, that decades of Western isolation of Myanmar have proven counterproductive, and that foreign countries should instead engage with the country.  He further argues that Burma’s growing strategic significance, as a bridge between the two Asian giants, and a source of oil, gas, and other natural resources, means that, even if the West does not engage, the country will become increasingly integrated internationally, and potentially prosperous.

In this week’s issue of The Nation, I have an extended review of Thant Myint-U’s book. You can read it here.

Post a Comment 1 Comment

  • Posted by May Ng

    I have just read your article in The Nation. I have been waiting for such an insightful and remarkable article. Thanks so much for your wonderful attempt at capturing the Burmese political scene.

    Your caring and passionate yet sober analysis in various publishing has been a great comfort to those of us, who are without the ability or privilege to describe Burma ourselves.

    May be because of people like you, that Burma is inching forward.

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