Myanmar’s junta disregards people’s consensus entirely

The current situation represents a significant shift in dynamics on the ground. The military faces unprecedented pressure, both externally and internally.

1 min read
Myanmar Commando soldiers stand ready for a drill during a joint military exercises in the Ayeyarwaddy Region in February 2018 (Photo © EPA/Myanmar Now)

There are no ‘silver linings’ in a conflict like that in Myanmar, where the civil war continues to inflict devastating effects on the country’s society and economy three years after the military coup of February 2021. But history offers numerous examples of seemingly invincible regimes that no longer exist. Some collapsed suddenly and almost overnight, while others required years of struggle to overcome.

Junta dictator Min Aung Hlaing’s days are numbered. It’s time to look beyond Myanmar’s nightmarish era of military rule and begin planning for a better future, as advocated by his opponents in Myanmar.

In our decades of interactions with presidents, prime ministers, government ministers, and diplomats worldwide, one flawed assumption has underpinned their understanding and approach to Myanmar: the belief that Myanmar’s military is unbeatable.

This entrenched assumption has influenced policymaking, leading to convoluted paths. For instance, there have been arguments that cross-border aid to ethnic communities fleeing Myanmar army attacks would fuel conflict.

The false assumption of Myanmar military invincibility pressured ethnic revolutionary organizations into engaging in the sham “peace process” 11 years ago. Myanmar people warned that the military’s claims of wanting peace were insincere.

This mistaken belief led to pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi to run for election and serve in parliament under the military-drafted 2008 Constitution.

In the 2000s, some diplomats in Yangon decided they knew better than the people of Myanmar, advocating for lifting sanctions and engaging with the military for gradual reform, despite evidence contradicting this approach.

Opposition political parties and people in Myanmar were told to compromise with the military and “dialogue” with them, even as they faced attacks.

Outside of Yangon, there is a different reality. People are resisting military rule through boycotts and arms. They understand that true human rights and economic development are impossible under military rule.

Recent reports indicate significant territorial losses for the military to ethnic armed groups. Schools operated by ethnic administrations have expanded while those under regime control have decreased.

The current situation represents a significant shift in dynamics on the ground. The military faces unprecedented pressure, both externally and internally.

The international community needs to reassess its approach and prepare for the day when the people of Myanmar achieve their goal of defeating the military. This victory is essential for a free Myanmar.

Anwar A. Khan

Anwar A. Khan is an independent political analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh who writes on politics, political and human-centred figures, current and international affairs

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