Asian Review


Piyapat Bunnag

Publication Date



The European Union has turned away from the traditional notion of power politics and moved to assert instead soft civilian or normative power to influence the world. This paper examines the Union's foreign policy towards Myanmar looking from a constructivist perspective, focusing on the objectives of human rights and democratization. The paper sketches the constructivist approach to foreign policy, and then examines the evolution of the Union's foreign policy about human rights and democratization. Then this norm-based foreign policy and its effect on the Union's relations, and conflicts, with ASEAN over Burmese alleged human rights abuses will then come to the forefront. The norms of human rights, democracy, and good governance influence the Union's foreign policy, including that towards Myanmar. The Union's "sticks and carrots" approach differs greatly from the ASEAN approach and has prejudiced EUASEAN relations, in particular after the accession of Myanmar to ASEAN. Both approaches have proved rather unsuccessful in forcing Myanmar to develop her democracy and improve her human rights records.



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