Episode 39 | Myanmar Six Months On: A Failed State?

Episode 39

Myanmar Six Months On: A Failed State?

Released on July 19, 2021

The most shocking political development in Asia so far this year is arguably the seizure of power by the military in Myanmar, and the arrest of the country’s former de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The military’s crackdown on protests and other resistance against the coup has so far resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests.

In this episode we discuss the impact of the coup on the South East Asian nation, which is also often known as Burma, and how the current situation may develop in the months ahead.

Joining us to do so we are pleased to welcome back to the podcast Thant Myint-U, one of the best known historians of the country and the author most recently of ‘The Hidden History of Burma’.

Thant Myint-U (@thantmyintu)

Thant Myint-U is a historian and author. He has written numerous books, including The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century and Where China Meets India. The grandson of former U.N. Secretary General U Thant, he has served on three United Nations peacekeeping operations, in Cambodia and in the former Yugoslavia, including as the U.N.'s spokesman in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. From 2000-2007, he worked at the U.N. Secretariat in New York. In 2012, he was appointed a member of the President of Myanmar's National Economic and Social Advisory Council and a special advisor at the Myanmar Peace Center, the body responsible for the 2011-2015 peace process and the 2015 Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. In December 2015, he received the President of Myanmar's award for Outstanding National Service. In January 2018, he received the Padma Shri award, one of India's highest civilian honours, from the Government of India. He earned his B.Sc. in government and economics from Harvard University, his M.A. in international relations and international economics from Johns Hopkins University, and his Ph.D. in history from Cambridge University. He also appeared on Episode 11.

The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century

By Thant Myint U
As historian, former diplomat, and presidential advisor, Thant Myint-U saw the cracks forming. In this insider's diagnosis of a country at a breaking point, he dissects how a singularly predatory economic system, fast-rising inequality, disintegrating state institutions, the impact of new social media, the rise of China next door, climate change and deep-seated feelings around race, religion and national identity all came together to challenge the incipient democracy. Interracial violence soared and a horrific exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fixed international attention. Thant Myint-U explains how and why this happened, and details an unsettling prognosis for the future.
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