Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to KnowRG [NOOK Book]


In the past two decades, Burma/Myanmar has become a front-page topic in newspapers across the world. This former British colony has one of the most secretive, corrupt, and repressive regimes on the planet, yet it houses a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is and in and out of house arrest. It has an ancient civilization that is mostly unknown to Westerners, yet it was an important--and legendary--theater in World War II. A picturesque land with mountain jungles and monsoon plains, it is one of the world's largest ...
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Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to KnowRG

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In the past two decades, Burma/Myanmar has become a front-page topic in newspapers across the world. This former British colony has one of the most secretive, corrupt, and repressive regimes on the planet, yet it houses a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is and in and out of house arrest. It has an ancient civilization that is mostly unknown to Westerners, yet it was an important--and legendary--theater in World War II. A picturesque land with mountain jungles and monsoon plains, it is one of the world's largest producers of heroin. It has a restive Buddhist monk population that has captured the attention of the west when it faced off against the regime. And it recently experienced one of the worst natural disasters in modern times, one effect of which was to lay bare the manifold injustices and cruelties of the regime.
Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to KnowRG offers a concise synthesis of this forbidding yet fascinating country. David Steinberg, one of the world's eminent authorities on the region, explains the current situation in detail yet contextualizes it in a wide-ranging survey of Burmese history and culture. Authoritative and balanced, it will be standard work on Burma for the general reading public.
'What Everyone Needs to Know' is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The title itself suggests the confusion we have about this troubled nation—Burma is the traditional name still used officially by the U.S. government, while most other nations have adopted Myanmar, as specified by the country itself. Whatever you call it, the country does matter to world stability because it occupies a key strategic and economic position between the rising powers of China and India. Steinberg (Asian studies, Sch. of Foreign Service, Georgetown Univ.) is well qualified to shed light in a balanced fashion on the complex issues that plague the country, including human rights, the role of Aung San Suu Kyi (who remains under house arrest), the continuing impacts of the Saffron Revolution in 2007 and Cyclone Nargis in 2008, the role of minorities, oil and gas prospects, international drug trafficking, and the growing influence of China. Its extended question-and-answer format makes this a handy quick reference source for those wanting to cut straight to the main points. VERDICT This is a top choice for students and those with a probing interest in world affairs. Whatever we call it, we are certain to be hearing more about this country. —Harold M. Otness, formerly with Southern Oregon Univ. Lib., Ashland
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199745746
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/8/2009
  • Series: What Everyone Needs to Know
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

David I. Steinberg is Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Maps xv

Preliminary Notes xix

Introduction xxix

1 The Crises That Are Burma/Myanmar 1

What is Burma? 1

Why are we interested in Burma/Myanmar? 1

Why should we be interested in Burma/Myanmar? 3

What can we learn from Burma/Myanmar? 6

Why is learning about Burma/Myanmar so difficult? 8

What are the crises facing Burma/Myanmar? 10

2 Important Residues from the Precolonial Period 15

How does Burmese history relate to contemporary events? 15

How did Burmese Kings view governance and authority, and is this relevant today? 18

What were Burma's relations with internal peoples, regions, and neighboring states? 20

What was the role of Buddhism in traditional Burma? 23

3 The Colonial Era's Importance in Understanding Burma/Myanmar Today 26

What led to the three Anglo-Burman Wars of the nineteenth century? 26

What was the role of India in colonial Burma, what are its residual influences, and why are they important? 28

What economic development programs did the British introduce? 31

What was the role of Buddhism during this period and what social changes affected the society? 32

How did Burmese nationalism develop and what have been its effects? 34

What was the impact of World War II on Burma, and what effect did the Japanese conquest have on Burma and its future? 36

How did the Burma army develop in the colonial period and under the Japanese? 37

How do the Burmese today consider the colonial era? 38

4 Independence and the Civilian Government (1948-1962): Mixed Heritages 40

How did independence come about? 40

What was the role of Aung San? 42

How did Burma deal with the political and ethnic rebellions? 43

Why didn'tBurma join the Commonwealth? 44

How did the Chinese nationalist incursion affect Burma? 45

What were relations with the United States? 47

What were relations with China? 48

Was Burma communist or socialist, and what were the ideological influences on the society? 50

What were the government's plans for economic development? 51

What were effects of the 1947 civilian constitution? 52

How did the AFPFL operate and govern? 53

What caused the military "Caretaker" Government, how did it function, and what was its legacy? 54

How did the minorities fare under the civilian government? 56

How did the 1960 elections affect Burma? 58

What caused the coup of 1962? 59

How may we evaluate the civilian, democratic period? 60

5 The Military Coup, the Socialist Period (1962-1988), and the Perpetuation of Military Rule 62

What were the effects of the coup? 62

What was the "Burmese Way to Socialism"? 64

How did the BSPP operate? 65

What was the impact of the socialist policies? 66

How were foreign relations under the BSPP? 67

How did the 1974 constitution come about and what was its impact? 68

How did the indigenous minorities fare under the 1974 unitary state? 70

How were monks registered? 71

How was citizenship defined? 72

What was the role of General/President/Chairman Ne Win? 73

What happened to the economy in the 1980s? 75

What were the causes of the 1988 People's Revolution and the coup that followed? 77

6 The SLORC/SPDC Era (1988-Present): Continuation of Military Power 81

What was the SLORC and how did it change into the SPDC? 82

Who were the leaders of the military in this period, and how were they trained? 83

What political and economic policies were instituted shortly after the coup? 85

How did the political opposition develop and what was the National League for Democracy? 87

What was the role of Aung San Suu Kyi and what has happened to her? 88

What were the May 1990 elections about and what were the internal and external results? 90

What were the SLORC/SPDC's international relations, and how did Asian and Western nations react to the coup and the regime? 93

What is the state of social services in Myanmar? 95

What is the status of the private sector in Myanmar? 98

What is the status and role of the military in Myanmar? 101

How does the narcotics trade affect the society and international relations? 103

What are the roles and influence of minority religions (Islam, Christianity) in Myanmar? 106

What is and has been the status of women in Burma/Myanmar? 109

What is the status of the cease-fires with minority insurrections in Myanmar? 110

What are relations with the United States? 114

What are relations with China and what is the status of the Chinese in Myanmar? 120

What is India's policy toward Myanmar and how did it change? 122

What was Japan's relationship with Burma/Myanmar? 124

What has been the role of civil society and quasi-governmental groups? 126

What is the status of human right in Myanmar? 128

Why was General/Prime Minister Khin Nyunt removed from power, and what did this mean? 130

Why was the capital moved from Rangoon to Naypyidaw? 132

What is the role of Buddhism in Myanmar today and what is its relation to political legitimacy? 135

What happened in the Saffron Revolution of 2007? 137

What were the internal and external effects of Cyclone Nargis in 2008? 139

What happened in the referendum on the constitution in 2008 and what are its provisions? 142

7 The Nature of Burmese Politics 148

How do politics in Burma/Myanmar function, and what are its implications? 149

8 Issues in Myanmar's Future 158

What are the current and future strategic interests of foreign powers in Myanmar? 159

What is the future of the military in Myanmar under any new government? 162

How will the minorities deal with the new government? 164

What types of economic crises does the country face? 165

What are the social crises facing the state? 169

What are the needs of the state in a transition to a new government? 170

What role is there for multilateral and bilateral donors? 171

Is democracy a reasonable expectation for Myanmar in the near term? In the future? 172

What role can the major powers play in Myanmar? 174

What might be the roles of ASEAN, the UN, and the EU? 175

What might the role of the Burmese diaspora be in a new government? 178

Coda 180

Postscript 187

Suggested Reading 190

Index 195

About The Author 217

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