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.
|Title of host publication
|Diminishing Conflicts in Asia and the Pacific: Why some subside and others don't
|Edward Aspinall, Robin Jeffrey and Anthony J Regan
|Place of Publication
|Abingdon and New York
|Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
|Published - 2013