New Mandala readers who are not familiar with the work of the Transnational Institute’s Tom Kramer will find his relatively recent article on Burma’s ceasefires rewards a close reading. I have noticed that Tom also writes about Afghanistan. I can’t judge his Afghan analysis (I tip my hat to anyone who does field research there!) but I find his long-term focus on Burma ensures that he has something particularly punchy to say about mainland Southeast Asia. On the ceasefire front Tom’s policy prescription is a thought-provoking one:
Instead of isolating and demonising the cease-fire groups, the international community should engage with them involve them in discussions about political change in the country. Ethnic conflict must be resolved in order to bring about a lasting political solution in Burma. If ethnic minority needs and goals are not addressed peace and democracy are extremely unlikely to be achieved in Burma.
Will this ever happen? Or is it already underway?