The international community has done little to support such peace-building: much more could have – and still might be – done to promote community development. The armed ethnic groups should move away from political strategies based on a simplistic mapping of ethnicity and homeland territory, towards a more sophisticated, rights-based approach to self-determination.
These opposition networks have found themselves increasingly marginalised, and out-manoeuvred by the military government. Their strategic and ideological weakness, and general lack of capacity, is among the most worrying aspects of the country’s sad situation.
The cyclone and its consequences have presented opposition elites with a chance to reassess their positions on a range of issues. Even if Burma’s opposition networks do not become more effective, the widely-reviled military regime might yet fall. However, any such development would occur despite – not because of – their activities.