Myanmar: Political Reforms and the Recalibration of External Relations

Marco Bünte, Jörn Dosch


This opening chapter provides some background to the domestic reform agenda, along with its drivers and motivations. From 1988 to 2011, the military built up institutions that guaranteed the military’s dominant position in the political arena. The second phase, since 2011, has seen a guided relaxation of the military’s coercive controls and the liberalisation of political spaces for the opposition and civil society. In order to contextualise Myanmar’s external relations, this article will first describe the military’s strategy and then outline the key changes that have been implemented in the country’s foreign policy.

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