President Obama and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma met on November 14, 2014, in Daw Suu's home. They answered questions about Burmese elections set to take place in 2015, press freedom, and expectations for democractic transition and rule of law and human rights in the country, particuarly concerning the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar.
"Standing in the way of success in the peace process — as well as most other aspects of the transition to better governance — is the government's apparent inability to control the guns. Has there ever been a successful transition in which the government does not have authority over the military and the police?"
"The path towards 2014 demands greater reconciliation among ethnic groups so as not to derail either the development process or the physical and moral resources of the government in chairing ASEAN and hosting other related summits in 2014."
Despite impressive changes over the past three years, Myanmar (or Burma) now faces growing insecurity and rising disappointment among citizens that reform has not brought higher standards of living. Interethnic and interreligious unrest now threaten to halt reforms altogether, depress much-needed investment, and could even lead to broader regional tensions.
CFR Senior Fellow Joshua Kurlantzick leads a conversation on Myanmar's transition to democracy and the rise of inter-religious violence in the country, as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call series.
"Left unchecked, rising ethnic hatred and increasing attacks could push the country into a terrible period of ethnic cleansing," writes Joshua Kurlantzick about the continuing ethnic violence against Muslims in Myanmar.
President Barack Obama and Burmese President Thein Sein gave these remarks after their meeting on May 20, 2013. Their meeting was the first time in fifty years a leader from Myanmar had visited the United States.
Joshua Kurlantzick suggests that the interethnic conflict in Rakhine State in western Myanmar is symptomatic of the larger challenges the country faces as it transitions from absolute military rule to democracy.
As the United States and other Western countries continue to suspend sanctions against Myanmar, multinationals are lining up for the chance to invest in the one-time pariah. In this article for Bloomberg Businessweek, Joshua Kurlantzick argues that this gold rush is "wildly premature."
On the eve of President Obama's historic trip to Myanmar, Joshua Kurlantzick argues that the economic and political changes underway in that country—though substantial—may not be as secure as many Burmese reformers and outside observers think.
Joshua Kurlantzick says Peter Popham's The Lady and the Peacockis the most thorough and, in some ways, the most critical biography of Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now making the transition from longtime opposition leader to member of parliament and leading ally of the Myanmar president.
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The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »