A New Mandala reader has recommended this article on Burma from the English edition of Le Monde:
A week after the elections of 7 November, the Burmese junta released the main opposition figure, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi. But the euphoria then masked the reality of the political landscape, which, despite its evolution, remains dominated by the armed forces (Tatmadaw). For many, the sham ballot and the transition process begun by the junta in 2003 – a “road map towards a disciplined democracy” – only confirmed the political role of an anachronistic military dictatorship (1).
However, there are considerable national and local transformations in the army and the opposition. The army is the only structure that seems to be truly organised, hierarchical and capable of intervening in all areas of political, economic and cultural life. It has dominated the Burmese state for over half a century. Its authority has not been challenged by any unified opposition, not even by Aung San Suu Kyi as leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD). Since independence in 1948, the decades of civil war, Burma’s unique geopolitical location between India and China, and the militaristic traditions inherited from the anti-colonial struggle and a fascination with imperial Japan have meant there are few competing institutions.