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Burma's Stubborn State

How to Curtail the Military Junta

Courtesy Reuters

In November 2007, Derek Mitchell and I published an essay in Foreign Affairs (“Asia’s Forgotten Crisis,” November/December 2007) arguing that U.S. policy toward Burma (renamed Myanmar by the country’s military junta) needed to move beyond the debate over whether to place sanctions on the country’s repressive military junta or engage it. We also asserted that Washington must form a comprehensive strategy that leverages regional relationships and uses a mix of incentives to nudge the isolated regime toward democracy.

Three years later, the junta has released the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the longtime inspirational leader of Burma’s democratic opposition who had been under some form of house arrest or detention for the last 14 years. Although the release of Suu Kyi has to be welcomed by her supporters worldwide, it falls far short of objectives set for Burma policy by the Obama administration and

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