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.
Joshua Kurlantzick says that after five decades of brutal military rule, Myanmar has been slowly shifting in the direction of legitimate democratic governance, but many serious obstacles still have to be overcome.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
2011 Corporate Conference: Recaps and Highlights
To encourage the free flow of conversation, the 2011 Corporate Conference was entirely not-for-attribution; however, several conference speakers joined us for sideline interviews further exploring their areas of expertise.
Former Treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin and Nobel Laureate economist Michael Spence on the global economic outlook.
Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose and Edward Morse on energy geopolitics.