Vietnam - Asia 2023 Smart City Summit Hanoi celebrates 15 years of administrative boundary adjustment 12th Vietnam-France decentrialized cooperation conference 31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Mar 10, 2021 / 10:11

Myanmar: Part 1 – Does history repeat?

Myanmar's reborn democracy was still very young when it was replaced by the rule of the same military.

The history per se is serious but sometimes playing its games with people. Like just now in Myanmar.

 Protesters gathered in Yangon, Myanmar to protest against the country's leadership by high-ranking military officials, on March 3, 2021. Photo: AFP/VNA

In this South East Asian country, the military had easily and unbloodily checkmated the democratically elected civil government led by the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Nobel prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, ending the second time this country was ruled not by its military since its official independence from Britain in 1948.

A brief look back in its history shows how short-lived civilian governments was and has been in this country: Only from 1948 to 1958 and from 2015 to February of 2021. Military coups were in 1958, 1962 and 2021.

In May 1990, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won overwhelmingly the multi-party parliamentary elections but the military refused to hand over power. By the end of 2015, they won the general elections again and then governed the country for the first time until the next military coup and after a parliamentary election victory, again.

Myanmar's reborn democracy was still very young when it was replaced by the rule of the same military.

Myanmar is once again torn between military rules and civilian goverment, between its past and its future. People inside as well as outside Myanmar are asking themselves: Does history repeat or things are running in circle in this country?

Myanmar's military staged a new coup d'etat but today's Myanmar and the world outside Myanmar are basically different from Myanmar of 1958 or 1962 and even of 2011 when its military government carefully started a process of democratization which led to the return of the civilian government in 2015 - dominated by the NLD and Ms Aung San Suu Kyi.

The military remains powerful but the wish of people inside the country to have the country being more open and to push democratization processes becomes evidently stronger and stronger.

The pressure and sanctions by the West post not only difficulties but also real political and economic dangers for the military government. With this new coup, Myanmar's military has put all the US, China and ASEAN in political dilemma and made many of Myanmar's partners confused. In the field of foreign policy and international relations, it is now not easy and comfortable for the new rulers in Myanmar.

Myanmar's military came back or has been able to come back to powers first of all because the civilian government wasn't politically strong, adroit and wise enough to effectively prevents military coups with democratic means or possible powers sharing with the military, because it provided greater scope for the military to attack. It might have underestimated the military's longing to dominate and to lead Myanmar's politics. It surely lacked right strategies to properly deal with the military after taking over in 2015 in Myanmar.

Now, Myanmar's military promised to allow new parliamentary election in one year. For Myanmar, this one year will be long and the road leading to the new democratic election will be bumpy. At sometimes in the future, a new civilian administration would be sworn-in but who or which political party will lead this government is another question, which noboby now could answer.

Myanmar: Part 2 - The Dilema of the US, China and Asean

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are of his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Hanoitimes.