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Charney, Michael W. (2022) 'The Rise of the Military in Myanmar and What Comes Next: The Decline of a Military Machine?' Independent Journal of Burmese Scholarship = Si capʻ mraṅʻ nhaṃʹ, 1. pp. 13-43.

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Abstract

As a result of the many dated and often partisan takes on the Myanmar military, combined with the lack of access to the institution, and a sustained effort by the military to present itself, unrealistically, as a bearer of precolonial royal and military traditions, the military is poorly understood, by scholars as well as by the general public, both national and international. The military is most often depicted as either being stronger than it is or weaker than it is. These mistaken impressions have led to many of the failures today to end military rule in Myanmar, as well as to the international community’s failures to coax the military to change its ways. One of the remaining obstacles to overcoming the influential, but dated, characterizations of the military is the challenge of doing primary research on the institution. Existing research is elite-centered, focused on the perspectives and recollections of the higher echelons of the military officer corps, often through conversations after they have left their command. They represent a different social milieu than much of the everyday soldiery who are under very close control or observation by their commanders. And their separation from the rest of society means that what the general population feels is no guide at all to how the everyday soldier feels or behaves. One of the unique opportunities of the present special issue of this journal is that interviews with deserting soldiers offers us at least some insights into how some soldiers view their role and that of the military in Myanmar’s society and governance. Of course, this only represents that tiny slice of the military that has chosen to serve no longer and as a result, this can only be one part of a larger picture. Nevertheless, it is a beginning. In the short overview below, the author discusses some key aspects of Myanmar’s military history to attempt to put the institution’s position in contemporary Myanmar into a wider context.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Memories of Leaving the Myanmar Military
Keywords: Tatmadaw, Burma, Myanmar, Defectors, Army
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of History
Subjects: D History General and Old World
ISSN: 25223798
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2022 15:35
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/37973
Related URLs: https://ijbs.on ... aelWCharney.pdf (Publisher URL)

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