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The pursuit of this military strategy led to the development of powerful centralizing militaries and the concurrent withering of civil services and political parties that provided direct channels of input from the populace. Sparing her readers the gossipy stuff, Callahan still draws a fascinating picture of the fierce rivalry between Burmese field commanders and staff officers, citing events that led to coups and counter-coups within the junta.

She relates this with the cold precision of an observer, and woe to the reader who is looking for a human face or anecdotes about the military psyche. These elements could have helped popularize the book.

BOOK REVIEW

Callahan concludes by debunking all the myths of invincibility the Burmese military has created. In contrast to the image it projects to the world, the junta is basically held hostage by powerful regional commanders, rests on a divided military organization, and relies on officers with no combat experience and troops who act more like hoodlums than peacekeepers. This is why there is political deadlock in Burma, Callahan says — not so much because the junta remains strong, but because it has been weakened by the times, despite its success in constraining activist Aung San Suu Kyi.

Callahan makes no bones about it — the future looks bleak for Burma.

Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia. Issue 6 March Elections and Statesmen.

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Burma airforce airstrike targeted the civilians.

Callahan makes a convincing argument as to why a junta has little appeal in the Philippine political landscape. Unlike Burma or Indonesia, Callahan says, the Philippine state has used the carrot-and-stick approach toward insurgent movements. The state always flirts with peacefully ending a conflict through negotiations, bribery, or simply cooptation through government appointments and contracts. The pursuit of this military strategy led to the development of powerful centralizing militaries and the concurrent withering of civil services and political parties that provided direct channels of input from the populace.

Sparing her readers the gossipy stuff, Callahan still draws a fascinating picture of the fierce rivalry between Burmese field commanders and staff officers, citing events that led to coups and counter-coups within the junta.


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She relates this with the cold precision of an observer, and woe to the reader who is looking for a human face or anecdotes about the military psyche. These elements could have helped popularize the book.

Main content

Callahan concludes by debunking all the myths of invincibility the Burmese military has created. In contrast to the image it projects to the world, the junta is basically held hostage by powerful regional commanders, rests on a divided military organization, and relies on officers with no combat experience and troops who act more like hoodlums than peacekeepers.

Table of Contents

This is why there is political deadlock in Burma, Callahan says — not so much because the junta remains strong, but because it has been weakened by the times, despite its success in constraining activist Aung San Suu Kyi. Callahan makes no bones about it — the future looks bleak for Burma.

Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia.


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Issue 6 March Elections and Statesmen. Facebook Pinterest YouTube.