On Shifting Ground

On February 1, Burma’s military stormed the country’s capital, arrested its elected leaders, and declared a military state of emergency. Since then, protesters throughout Burma (also known as Myanmar) have taken to the streets, even as the military threatens more violence. Dozens of people have been shot and killed by the military junta, and the crackdown has been compared to the 1989 protests and massacre in China’s Tiananmen Square. Burma was supposed to be a transitioning democracy, and the power-sharing agreement between its military and civilian leadership was regarded as one of the Obama Administration’s major foreign policy achievements. So, what went wrong? In this episode, we talk with former US Ambassador to Malaysia Joseph Yun and Thant Myint-U, a former diplomat, historian and author, about what fueled the coup and what’s different about this protest movement.

Editor’s note: You may be wondering why we are using “Burma” rather than “Myanmar." For decades, the country was called “Burma,” after the dominant Burman ethnic group. But in 1989, one year after the ruling junta brutally suppressed a pro-democracy uprising, military leaders changed the country’s name to “Myanmar.” Out of sympathy with Aung San Suu Kyi and other advocates for democracy many people, and the United States government, continue to use “Burma.” For further explanation, please see this Associated Press article.



Joseph Yun, former US ambassador to Malaysia and former US Special Representative for North Korea Policy

Thant Myint-U, historian, conservationist, former diplomat, and author of many books including “The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century”


If you appreciate this episode and want to support the work we do, please consider making a donation to World Affairs. We cannot do this work without your help. Thank you.

Direct download: 03_08_21_Burma_Protests.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:29am PST