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Essay: Conflict in Myanmar

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  • Subject area(s): International Relations Politics essays
  • Reading time: 7 minutes
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  • Published: September 14, 2021*
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  • Words: 1,982 (approx)
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  • Conflict in Myanmar
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The root cause of the destruction that storms upon Myanmar begins with the persecution of the Rohingya; an oppressed group of Muslims faced discrimination from their native country as well as their neighboring state. Buddhist nationalist groups such as the Mabatha regularly boycott Muslim shops, ban Muslims from Myanmar, and strike against Muslim communities. After several riots in 2012, the long-lasting conflict in the predominantly Buddhist country was very much intensified, and more than one hundred thousand Muslim Rohingyas were internally relocated, and hundreds were murdered.

Conflicts grew exponentially due to the partial election which led to a transition from a authoritarian rule to a government ruled by an former general (Thein Sein). The government of Burma was able to start political and economic changes which led to it becoming a isolated country. These programs help with humanitarian injustice and led to the freeing of political prisoners and child soldiers. The National League for Democracy won a majority of the seats in the national parliament. Regardless of the significant structural and constitutional problems, the disfranchisement of groups of people who had voted in previous elections led the 2015 election to become a first step in developing a democracy. The new parliament was adopted on February 1, 2016, and Win Myint was inaugurated as the NLD’s second president on March 30, 2018. The new structured government instantly fostered change as prisoners were able to become freed as aforementioned. The United States of America believes that this crisis should be dealt with an innovative approach which will lead to long lasting peace and liberty. As Burma is transitioning into a democracy, they will face several challenges but it is vital for them to prioritize their human rights issue as we strongly believe that is the most important.

The United States’s methods of mediating this crisis have first and foremost employed an engagement strategy that has recognized the positive steps undertaken taken in the past till now and then to strengthen incentivization programs which work. The guiding principles of this approach have been to build up Burma in a way that it is strong enough to sustain its people and its own government. In order to do so, the United States places great emphasis on supporting Burma’s political and economic reforms; promoting national reconciliation; building government transparency and accountability in institutions; empowering local communities and civil society; promoting responsible international engagement; and strengthening respect for and protection of human rights and religious freedom. In 2016, the U.S.-Myanmar Partnership Dialogue was launched, and this has vastly expanded and led bilateral communication and cooperation in both the political and economic spheres of the U.S. and Myanmar.

The United States supported further reform. In 2012 the United States re-established a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) which helped to fulfill the Mission in Myanmar, it supported new grant and lending operations and technical assistance by international financial institutions and eased economic and investment sanctions against Myanmar. Since then, senior U.S. government officials have also demonstrated their support for the crisis in Myanmar by meeting with the Government of Myanmar, political parties, civil society, human rights activists, religious and ethnic leaders, and youth.

In addition to USAIID, there are several other US agencies that provide assistance to Burma such as the U.S. Department of State, Labor, U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Since 2012, the United States has been consistently providing funds to support the crisis in Burma. So far, the U.S. has provided over $500 million to support Burma’s transition, advance the peace process, and improve the lives of millions, including by assisting communities affected by violence and combating hate speech and communal violence. More than 1.1 million people have improved food security, and over 300,000 impoverished farming families have increased their agricultural productivity with better access to technology, markets, and new investments. In addition to exponential improvements in the people’s basic human needs, the more developed businesses have improved as well. New entrepreneurs are benefiting from the economic reform process, which has increased access to information and communications technology. The United States also provided almost $300 million in Fiscal year 2017 and 18 to address humanitarian needs in Burma. Especially being cognizant of internally displaced persons throughout the country and vulnerable Burmese refugees and asylum seekers in the region. This includes vulnerable communities along the Thailand-Burma border and in Rakhine, Kachin, and the Shan States, where the

United States continues to provide emergency assistance.

In recognition of Burma’s political and economic reform progress, the United States has taken concrete steps to accelerate broad-based economic growth and support the political reform process. The United States played an instrumental role in supporting renewed engagement from multilateral development banks, which re-started operations in 2013. In 2016, the United States terminated the national emergency with respect to Burma, which had been in place since 1997. The termination removed a range of economic and financial sanctions, including the designations of individuals and entities listed on the Office of Foreign Assets List pursuant to U.S. sanctions on Burma. The U.S. government encourages responsible investment in Burma as part of an overall strategy to encourage economic growth and improve the standard of living for the people of Burma. The United States plays a leading role by enhancing human capacity and promoting global standards throughout Southeast Asia due to the quality of private investment. U.S. companies will continue to play a critical role in supporting broad-based, sustainable development in Burma and are helping the country progress toward a more open, inclusive, and democratic society.

While till date through the efforts of the United States and other notable countries, Myanmar has made significant progress. However, major institutional and political challenges remain to be made, including reforming the constitution (which accords the military control of three key security ministries, one of two vice presidential appointments, and control of 25% of parliamentary seats), completing the national reconciliation process with various ethnic groups, further strengthening respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly on freedom of expression and assembly, releasing remaining political prisoners, and improving the conditions in Rakhine State, especially those facing members of the Rohingya population. Also, Beginning in August 2017, following attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) insurgents on security forces, over 700,000 Rohingya fled violence in northern Rakhine State, including violence committed by security forces and vigilantes. In November 2017. The United States determined that this situation constituted ethnic cleansing of Rohingya. In December 2017 the United States imposed targeted sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act on former Burmese Major General Maung Maung Soe for his role in human rights abuses against Rohingya in Rakhine State.

Despite the United States’s active efforts in Burma, other challenges remain. More progress needs to be made to reduce the military’s role in politics, move from ceasefires (which are reminiscent of patching bullet holes with duct tape)cease-fires to political dialogue (true tangible solutions), and to improve rule of law and government accountability. Sporadic, intense fighting between the Burmese military and ethnic armed groups in Kachin and Shan States and elsewhere has resulted in numerous civilian casualties and internal displacement. The United States finds that to urgently mitigate such impending violence, emphasis must first be relayed to the Government of Burma that stresses the importance of promoting tolerance, diversity, and peaceful co-existence, and for the Burmese military to completely end any military ties with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Possible Solutions

The United States greatly considers the significance of monetary aid in nations that are struggling with different forms of stability. In order to relieve the oppression of the Rohingya and to re-stabilize the nation, investments are something that the United States heavily supports. This approach is crucial as it lays out the foundation for what will happen in the future. Burma will be able to thrive not only economically but also be able to integrate progressivism into its culture if It’s people, especially those who have undergone unprecedented oppression, can sustain their families and contribute to the common good of the nation as a whole. Being able to foster the emergence of small and medium enterprises, flourishing agriculture, and international trade are all things that not only the people of Burma, but also aid the currently unstable government in being able to provide a means of protection and stability for their citizens. This is of course not to neglect or put aside the immediate humanitarian action that needs to be taken, but instead is stressed so heavily as economic stability has historically been tied to peace and prosperity, an aforementioned goal the United States has for Burma. In regards to immediate relief, the United States would be more than willing to increase its aid in the situation along side the aid of other nations and bodies under the United Nations.
In addition to this, the United States urges religious freedom in order to mediate and dismantle the religious conflict that is ever so prevalent in Burma. The United States would first prioritize a non-violent approach of dismantling the military overrun of the Burmese Government as it has done previously in the past. So for instance,in the past,high level US government administration has taken strides to meet with leaders in Burma, assess the situation, and provide aid upon their analysis. This essentially allows them to consider all important factors as dismantling any conflict, especially religious requires meticulous planning and thorough analysis in order to mediate it non-violently. In order to further stress the need for this, the US calls upon other nations within the United Nations to meet with leaders in Burma in order to peacefully settle the discourse. Other nations could be useful in not only the insight they provide but also the possible economic stability that they may be able to provide for the region, which the United States believes is the long term goal for Burma and what can truly uproot this catastrophe.

Also, to take into account the needs of those who are currently attempting to seek asylum and are in desperate need to flee the country, the United States not only urges the importance of immediate shelter, goods, and services for the survival of the Refugees, but also hopes to further its development in neighboring nations in order to increase their capacity to take in refugees. Historically, and within our own nations, Refugees have fostered economic growth and development as well as sustainability in a myriad of places. It is very important to consider the fact that refugees expand the job market, foster competition, and expand innovation in the nations they migrate to. They do this for already established businesses in the nation as well as aid in the creation of new industry. This is so crucial for nations to understand because they can benefit another nation and benefit themselves at the same time. However, nations do suffer the short turn fiscal burden of taking in many refugees at a time, and in order to soften that, the United States has a few approaches. One of which being aiding neighboring nations to Burma with the investment, expand their opportunity for trade with the world floor, and help them develop technologies to expand Industry faster. Another approach would be to ensure that these nations (such as Thailand) are taking positive strides to improve their economy such as enacting strong monetary and fiscal policy, and having steady control on their interest rates to achieve a greater influx of capital via foreign currency exchange and bond trade. Neighboring nations that have a strong means of creating and expanding business and a flourishing economy should have little to no trouble increasing their capacity for Burmese refugees.

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