Legitimacy Under Military Rule: Burma
Burma has been under direct or indirect military rule for almost half a century. This article blends historical and thematic examinations of the sources of legitimacy relied upon by the Burmese armed forces during this time. These include their role in the battle against ethnic separatist and communist insurgencies, the promotion and defense of Buddhism, the reinvigoration of monarchical traditions, and their claims to economic stewardship and regional integration. Civil unrest on a number of occasions has triggered a reversion to the use of force, followed by the offering of democratic concessions. Yet the generals continue to appeal to nationalism while subverting foreign influences and delegitimizing their opposition. Despite calls for a Burmese form of "disciplined democracy," the country's need for unity, stability, and independence will likely remain core arguments for a strong central government in the future, demanding the continued presence of the military.
Politics & Policy
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Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific