Commentary - The Irrawaddy Magazine
Walking the Walk

Whatever form the dialogue on constitutional change takes, what’s most important is that the discussion is substantive and its participants approach the matter genuinely.

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Obama’s Second Burma Visit Falls Flat

As US President Barack Obama concludes his second visit to Burma, many in the pro-democracy movement slam his ringing endorsement of President Thein Sein.

Aung Thaung: Why Now, Why Him and Who’s Next?

Before receiving US President Barack Obama, Burmese pundits welcome his administration’s decision to blacklist one of the ruling party’s most powerful and notorious lawmakers.

From Top Brass to a Bureaucratic Class

Decades of military appointments to key positions in government have left Myanmar’s administrative apparatus in tatters.

Death of an Activist-Reporter

The killing of Aung Kyaw Naing in military custody in Mon State belies the government’s claim that “considerable progress” has been made on human rights.

Does Burma’s Army Still Hold a License to Kill?

The way Burma’s government handles the killing of journalist Aung Kyaw Naing by the military will be a telling indicator of its reformist credentials.

Of Monks and Military Men

The Saffron Revolution showcased Burma’s monks at their best, but that moral standing has been eroded by a manipulative old guard that still holds power.

26 Years After Coup, Military Still in the Driving Seat on Road to Reform

Exactly 26 years ago the military seized power, and to this day former and active generals control the pace and extent of Burma’s democratic reforms.

The Dangers of Reporting on Nepotism

After investigating a secret business deal between Rangoon’s chief minister and two relatively unknown Chinese cronies, The Irrawaddy finds itself on a new “blacklist.”

Rewriting the History of Late Prime Minister Soe Win

A new book on the late prime minister and top general Soe Win provides a misleading account of his career in Burma’s former military regime.

US Takes Steps to Restart Business Relations With Burma

A new investment in solar power and an initiative to improve labor conditions in Burma show the two countries are moving closer to each other.

Has the United States Forgotten Suu Kyi?

In the past, when the opposition leader said something, world leaders listened, but these days Washington seems to have shifted its priorities.

On Obama’s Foreign Policy Report Card, Burma Gets a Pass

As leader of the world’s sole superpower in tumultuous times, Barack Obama needs Burma as a foreign policy success story, but should it be?

Kerry Visits as Burma Backslides—What Will He Do?

US Secretary of State John Kerry faces difficult questions when he arrives in Burma this weekend amid negative media reports about backsliding on political reforms.

Burma Struggles to Ditch Its Military Masters

To democracy advocates’ chagrin, Burma’s record of martial leadership is likely to continue through the next presidential election.

On the Road Back to Mandalay

If Myanmar wants to move forward and beyond the religious violence that rocked Mandalay last month, it should look more deeply into its past.

For Burmese, Little Hope for a Jokowi of Their Own

Burma’s political system is stacked against new faces, so a similar outcome to the Indonesian elections should not be expected next year.

Burma’s Time Bomb

Seeds of religious prejudice were planted long ago—in part through government-approved, racist publications—and we are now living through the consequences.

Expect Skepticism as Thein Sein Pledges to Act Against Riot Instigators

Recent inter-communal violence is just the latest event to distract attention in Burma from the real problems the country should be tackling.

Violence Gives the Lie to Burma’s ‘Reforms’

As Burma burns, the rest of the world continues to act as if it believes the country’s rulers are sincere about bringing democratic change.

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