Eastern Burma: Long wars without exhaustion

Desmond Ball, Nicholas Farrelly

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The persistence of civil war in a country such as Burma has two logical explanations. The first is that the reasons for commencing armed conflict remain, largely, the same as when the conflict began. In Burma, those who took up arms against the government because of its ethnic chauvinism, religious intolerance, harassment or brutality have proven that they can remain motivated through long years of war. Some of the specific reasons for fighting may change, but the initial justifications can, in a process that is intuitively unremarkable, become even more entrenched. The second explanation flows from the first. After decades of fighting it might be that there is so much invested in the conflict, and so much effort put into justifying the righteousness of struggle, that it is impossible to accept an outcome except complete victory. Conflict generates its own self-reinforcing entrenchment. In Burma, those who were willing to negotiate and accept terms of ceasefire from the Myanmar military (usually referred to by its Burmese name, tatmadaw) have, by-and-large, already stopped fighting (Kramer 2009a). At the same time, some of those groups are now preparing for hostilities to resume. Ceasefire stalemates almost inevitably contain key ingredients for future fl are-ups. The recent evidence from this part of the Asia-Pacific region is that with these explanations in mind the possibility of future conflict can never be completely discounted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDiminishing Conflicts in Asia and the Pacific: Why some subside and others don't
    Editors Edward Aspinall, Robin Jeffrey and Anthony J Regan
    Place of PublicationAbingdon and New York
    PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
    ISBN (Print)9780415670319
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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