Asian Review

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In the "unipolar" world, the US claims to use its power to liberal states and civil societies. Myanmar is an anomaly, seemingly untouched by this influence. Since 1988, the military has vastly expanded its power and its roles in the society. The number of armed forces has increased. Intelligence gathering has proliferated. Military-created institutions have taken a larger role in the economy, generating more funds for various activities. The military has neutralized most of the ethnic insurgents, and created a wide range of organizations with roles in society. It has also inculcated an ideology in which the military is indispensable for political stability, and demands attention as a source of mobility and patronage. At the same time, there is no independent judiciary; civil society organizations are crushed; political parties are harassed; the universities are strictly controlled; and the Buddhist sangha is closely monitored. Sources of change lie in outside pressure, economic crisis, and internal conflicts within the military machine.



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