Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi poses for a portrait at the National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon on December 8, 2010 in Yangon, Myanmar.

Long-established democratic buildings held agency within the US when an autocratic chief wished to steal an election, however Myanmar’s quasi democracy dissolved early on Monday morning native time, leaving it but once more below the boot of a junta. Aung San Suu Kyi, the nation’s civilian chief because the navy structure barred her from serving as President, is again below home arrest, the place she spent a lot of the final 30 years. Pro-democracy leaders have been rounded up. The future seems to be bleak once more.
Myanmar’s generals clearly took benefit of Aung San Suu Kyi’s tarnished global status. Her staunch denials that Myanmar’s navy was responsible of genocide towards Rohingya Muslims revealed a nationalist streak that the West had ignored in its zeal to impose a heroine narrative on Myanmar’s complicated political story.
But “the Lady” stays beloved inside Myanmar. And her present plight is a reminder that fledgling democracies want assist. Washington has misplaced concentrate on Myanmar since former President Barack Obama’s go to to Yangon in 2012, which noticed a whole bunch of hundreds of euphoric residents pour onto the streets. The Trump administration lacked a coherent Southeast Asia coverage and cared little about democracy anyplace. Its prime officers had been hardly ever seen in a area the place exhibiting up is all the things. The US stood by because the navy in Myanmar’s neighbor Thailand additionally snuffed out democratic rule.
US President Joe Biden now faces a test of his clout in Asia. He’s already threatening sanctions, however strangling the economic system amid the pandemic would trigger extra ache for its folks. As the Myanmar navy turns off web and communications networks, closes banks, and sends soldier patrols into metropolis streets, can Biden corral India, Japan, Australia and the 9 different Association of Southeast Asian Nations members to mitigate the severity of the crackdown?  

Ultimately, the US response will present how far Biden will go in pursuit of his vow to restore global democracy, or whether or not he’ll hold strains open to the generals in capital metropolis Naypyidaw as a part of the nice geopolitical sport of countering Chinese affect.

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