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What Is Behind Myanmar’s Reforms?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
February 1, 2012

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi waves in Pakokku Township January 31, 2012. Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi waves in Pakokku Township January 31, 2012. (Soe Zeya Tun/Courtesy Reuters)

Over the past year, Myanmar’s rapid pace of reform has surprised nearly everyone — activists in the country, foreign observers, and many in the U.S. government.  With change apparently coming so quickly, nearly everyone who watches the country has been trying to explain the reforms, often crediting years of Western sanctions, or Asian nations’ engagement policies. Neither seems, to me, to be correct. Instead, it is important to examine several critical domestic factors that lay behind this change. I examine these factors in a new CFR Expert Brief “How Myanmar Changed and What it Means.”

You can read the whole brief here.

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