The unstable situation in Myanmar.

Arji

Member
No, nothing will happen even they show up. ASEAN is about as toothless as the UNSC when it comes to security issues.
I'm not talking about any tangible result. I just like to see everyone else's reaction to this, cause I for one, think ASEAN did the right thing given what they are.

I feel like most people see ASEAN as an EU like entity, or as a binding organization, where it's actually modelled closer to the UN. I mean, how could they not? How else are you going bring nations of different form of government with varying degree of ideology, with an even greater number of different ethnicities and beliefs under one platform. All decision must be made under a consensus, and like the UN, ASEAN has no say over the sovereignty of each member states.

Now, when it comes to dealing with Myanmar. Everyone seems to think that ASEAN should not engage with the Tatmadaw, and instead have talks with the NUG. Supposed that happen, what power does the NUG holds currently? Aside from popular support, they hold little to no sway over the current situation. On top of that, engaging with with the NUG would undoubtedly drive the Tatmadaw away, leaving them nowhere to go to but China or Russia. If that happen, you can bet that Myanmar will continue on its path on becoming a fail state. Engaging with the Tatmadaw however, means at least having a chance of urging them to change the situation. It might not work entirely given that ASEAN has almost no leverage, and it may not get rid of them entirely, but even if there's even a small chance of stopping the bloodshed, why not take it? Besides, what's stopping ASEAN from talking to the NUG after the summit, thus becoming a sort of peace broker between the two?

Yea, it might pissed off the NUG and the protester, but they need to understand, they are the hostage, and the Tatmadaw is holding a gun to their head. When people urge ASEAN to invite the NUG to the summit instead of the Tatmadaw, it's the equivalent of negotiating for a hostage release by talking to the hostage. Inviting the Tatmadaw had nothing to do with recognizing its legitimacy, even if the Tatmadaw wish to make it seems so (I do believe that's why they even bother coming at all), it's more recognizing the reality of the situation. You had to negotiate with the one holding the gun, regardless of legitimacy.

Of course, most of the protester and activist don't see that. In their eyes, the Tatmadaw is evil and everyone should condemn them, not realizing they can act much worse than now. And if all lines of communication to them is cut-off, then there's no hope of stopping them short of a full-blown war. Sometimes, I think they're too idealistic for their own good, but I kind of understand given that emotions run high, and that they're in the receiving end of the Tatmadaw's brutality.

Call it toothless or whatever, but just like the UN, its purpose is to give platform for communication and prevent an interstate war between ASEAN states, by promoting communication and trade. For that purpose, ASEAN is still useful.
 
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STURM

Well-Known Member
To date it has been Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia who have strongly spoken out against Myanmar’s military and condemned the violence. The rest of ASEAN - for their own reasons - have been quiet.

It also remains to be see how much influence China actually has with the Myanmar military. Following the coup it was hoped that China would play a significant role behind the scenes; the current situation is not to its interests.
 

Arji

Member
It also remains to be see how much influence China actually has with the Myanmar military.
I believe that China's only concern is regional stability in order to protect their assets/investment in Myanmar. They have no horse in this race and instead choose to keep their options open. They don't outright support the Junta, in case the democratic government comes back, but they don't want to burn any bridges either by condemning them, just in case the Junta won out.

Whoever comes on top, China will have an avenue to pursue relations with them. Then again, I feel like they have a dilemma, they don't want to outright support one side or the other but they know that without outside interference, the instability will only grow. I guess that's probably why they're supporting ASEAN stance of 'urging' instead.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
Call it toothless or whatever, but just like the UN, its purpose is to give platform and communication and prevent an interstate war between ASEAN states, by promoting communication and trade. For that purpose, ASEAN is still useful.
Yes, whatever NUG and their supporters wants or those human rights NGO demands, in the end they have to make compromise with the Military. Those who are thinking that the Military will simply cave in to International pressure is really living in dream world.

Myanmar Military has live long under many pressure from external and within. They have handle many internal Insurgency, that challenge of Civil War from NUG means nothing to them. The only way out is to try coax the Junta on giving some compromise with the NUG as opposition. While like it or not NUG has to live with that to. Providing middle ground and come out with more stable Myanmar is the only choices right now for the sake of Myanmar people.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Malaysia has called on the military to 'de-escalate the situation on the ground and stop the killing and violence against civilians', 'to release political detainees promptly and unconditionally' and for 'the Asean chair and Asean secretary-general to have access into Myanmar'. No doubt these calls will be ignored. In reference to the Asean principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other Asean member states; Malaysia said 'it did not mean the grouping should ignore a serious situation that jeopardises the peace, security and stability of the region. The principle of non-interference is not for us to hide behind; it cannot be a reason for our inaction. Within the Asean domain, constructive engagement is anchored in trust, understanding and goodwill'.
 

Arji

Member
Malaysia has called on the military to 'de-escalate the situation on the ground and stop the killing and violence against civilians', 'to release political detainees promptly and unconditionally' and for 'the Asean chair and Asean secretary-general to have access into Myanmar'. No doubt these calls will be ignored. In reference to the Asean principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other Asean member states; Malaysia said 'it did not mean the grouping should ignore a serious situation that jeopardises the peace, security and stability of the region. The principle of non-interference is not for us to hide behind; it cannot be a reason for our inaction. Within the Asean domain, constructive engagement is anchored in trust, understanding and goodwill'.
Apparently they have reached a consensus.

PM Lee's Statement
"At the end of this, General Min Aung Hlaing responded," Mr Lee told reporters after the meeting.

"He said he heard us, he would take the points in which he considered helpful, that he was not opposed to ASEAN playing a constructive role, or an ASEAN delegation visit, or humanitarian assistance, and that they would move forward and engage with ASEAN in a constructive way."


Speaking to reporters, Mr Lee said he presumes ASEAN will now get together and work out a delegation to visit Myanmar, as well as start coordinating a humanitarian assistance effort for the country.

"I'm sure that in implementing this, there's a long way forward because there's one thing to say you'll cease violence and release political prisoners; it's another thing to get it done," he said.
Statement by the Indonesian President

It's not 'official', But Yea, it seems that ASEAN will send a delegation to Myanmar. I'm honestly surprised.
 
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Khabaopie

New Member
No, nothing will happen even they show up. ASEAN is about as toothless as the UNSC when it comes to security issues.
While ASEAN's reputation today of an organisation of chronic vacillators is somewhat well deserved, in the past, this wasn't always the case. Recall the Khmer Rouge, so-called Democratic Kampuchea and the subsequent Vietnamese invasion. ASEAN at the time just consisted of its founding members and relatively united; all of which were opposed to Communism and were affiliated with the West to varying degrees. They were mutually motivated by a fear of the Vietnamese communist domino (imagined or otherwise) to actively fight and interfere to keep the Khmer Rouge in power, knowing full well the atrocities they had committed as they saw Cambodia as the lesser risk.

This is why many in the international community and Myanmar are hopeful and actively urging ASEAN to take action; because they haven't always been as ineffective as they are today.

Now, when it comes to dealing with Myanmar. Everyone seems to think that ASEAN should not engage with the Tatmadaw, and instead have talks with the NUG.
This was exactly what ASEAN did in Cambodia. They engaged only the deposed government (unfortunately in this case, it was the Khmer Rouge) refusing to (officially) talk at all with Vietnam or the newly installed Cambodian interim government until the Paris Agreements of 1991. ASEAN waged a very effective legal and diplomatic battle against Vietnam and their supported government, FUNSK, denying them international recognition and successfully retaining the Khmer Rouge's seat in the UN and with it legal recognition as the legitimate government.

An interesting summary here: ASEAN on Myanmar’s Coup: Revisiting Cold War Diplomacy on Cambodia - New Mandala

Unfortunately, a few considerations prevent ASEAN from doing the same thing for nobler reasons today:

Note that Cambodia's current quasi-dictator, Hun Sen, was a member of FUNSK and suffered greatly at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, and has on numerous occasions, demonstrated his contempt for the Association and fellow members. No doubt his sentiments are echoed by many within Cambodia, not just his supporters but probably most Cambodians with long memories. Therefore, considering their Cambodian experience, I suppose it is somewhat understandable that ASEAN members would be rather leery of overtly supporting a side for fear of antagonising Myanmar's future political elites, whoever they may be. Furthermore, Myanmar is also a major hub for drug and human trafficking in South East Asia, even before the coup. I don't have the source on hand but I think they have been blamed for enabling much of South East Asia's drug epidemic and HIV rates which would no doubt intensify if Myanmar is destabilised further. Thailand is especially at risk and its no surprise that the Junta there openly supports the Tatmadaw.

Another consideration is that ASEAN members are not nearly as united (at least in interests) as it was during the Cold War; any state that can put forward a suitable candidacy application is very readily accepted. It is this divergence in interests that is probably most pertinent in paralysing the Association from any tangible action.

The rest of ASEAN - for their own reasons - have been quiet.
Well, I think the idiom about stones and glass houses will be familiar to many here. Don't get me wrong, relative to Western standards, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia are hardly shining examples of civic liberties, but I do think they have much more of a leg to stand on than some other ASEAN member states.
 

CheeZe

Active Member
Here's an English source from AFP. Myanmar insurgent group says has razed military base near Thai border (msn.com)

This is an interesting development, in my opinion. Previously, reports said that the various armed ethnic groups were sitting this out. If the KNU and others start working with the pro-democracy groups, or at least in parallel, this could possibly stretch the Tatmadaw's resources thinner than they would like. Add in the fact that the Thai border officials are getting unhappy about the aggressiveness of Tatmadaw border forces, the situation in the region may change from the internal pressures.

As before, I doubt that anything ASEAN does will alter the course of the Tatmadaw. There is little point in bringing up past achievements as they are unrelated to today. Such a scenario wouldn't happen today. It would be like saying that the UNSC's greatest achievement was authorizing an intervention in Korea. Another impossibility today. You have, yourself, pointed out why we shouldn't hold out much hope for ASEAN taking a united stance, let alone action, in this situation. There are no shared values regarding democracy, civil, and human rights across the group and the national leaders.

Add in the Chinese factor and no one will want to risk provoking their ire.
 

CheeZe

Active Member
UPDATE 4-Myanmar seeks murder, treason charges against protest leader; air strikes in east (msn.com)

The Tatmadaw are escalating things against the KNU. Air strikes against villages and civilians fleeing towards and into Thailand. Ethnic Chin forces have also begun taking actions against Tatmadaw troops. Developments are not looking good, in my opinion.

Also in the article, ASEAN is not inviting the NUG to this special Myanmar conference. Not surprising to me that they aren't including the NUG in the talks.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Active Member

Myanmar's National Unity Government, set up by opponents of army rule, said on Wednesday it had formed a "people's defence force" to protect its supporters from military attacks and violence instigated by the junta.

In a statement, it said the move was a precursor to establishing a Federal Union Army and that it had the responsibility to "make effective reforms in the security sector in order to terminate the 70 year long civil war."


A short statement, but to the point. Very worrying, but it's what I thought could happen if the army kept escalating. If they're out to kill you, what do you have to lose by taking up arms in response?
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Analysis of situation —Part 1

Now, when it comes to dealing with Myanmar. Everyone seems to think that ASEAN should not engage with the Tatmadaw, and instead have talks with the NUG. Supposed that happen, what power does the NUG holds currently? Aside from popular support, they hold little to no sway over the current situation. On top of that, engaging with with the NUG would undoubtedly drive the Tatmadaw away, leaving them nowhere to go to but China or Russia. If that happen, you can bet that Myanmar will continue on its path on becoming a fail state. Engaging with the Tatmadaw however, means at least having a chance of urging them to change the situation...

...they need to understand, they are the hostage, and the Tatmadaw is holding a gun to their head. When people urge ASEAN to invite the NUG to the summit instead of the Tatmadaw, it's the equivalent of negotiating for a hostage release by talking to the hostage. Inviting the Tatmadaw had nothing to do with recognizing its legitimacy, even if the Tatmadaw wish to make it seems so (I do believe that's why they even bother coming at all), it's more recognizing the reality of the situation. You had to negotiate with the one holding the gun, regardless of legitimacy.
1. Agreed. As you correctly said we should not be negotiating for hostage release by talking to the hostage. ASEAN’s willingness to continue to dialogue with Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing ensures that he does not go into a full-on repression mode. On 24 Apr 2021, ASEAN released a Chairman’s statement, to which I quote 2 relevant paragraphs:
“8. We, as an ASEAN family, had a close discussion on the recent developments in Myanmar and expressed our deep concern on the situation in the country, including reports of fatalities and escalation of violence. We acknowledged ASEAN’s positive and constructive role in facilitating a peaceful solution in the interest of the people of Myanmar and their livelihoods, and therefore agreed to the “Five-Point Consensus” attached to this Chairman’s Statement. We also heard calls for the release of all political prisoners including foreigners.
9. We also underscored the importance of Myanmar’s continued efforts in addressing the situation in the Rakhine State, including commencing the repatriation process, in a voluntary, safe and dignified manner in accordance with its bilateral agreements with Bangladesh. In this regard, we looked forward to the resumption of repatriation of verified displaced persons as soon as possible. We reiterated our appreciation to the Secretary-General of ASEAN for his efforts in leading the implementation of the recommendations of the Preliminary Needs Assessment (PNA). We also looked forward to the conduct of the Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) and encouraged the Secretary-General of ASEAN to continue identifying possible areas that can effectively facilitate the repatriation process for displaced persons from Rakhine State. We further underscored the importance of efforts to addressing the root causes of the situation in Rakhine State.”

2. I believe that the National Unity Government (NUG) led by Win Myint does not have the extensive external support needed to get sufficient amount of arms to put up a fight; which makes the latest NUG announcement of a "people's defence force" premature and rash — especially since ASEAN is still trying to persuade Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to dial back the violence and allow an ASEAN special envoy into the country, so that humanitarian assistance from ASEAN can be delivered to Myanmar's citizens under the terms of the “Five-Point Consensus”, as follows:

“On the situation in Myanmar, the Leaders reached consensus on the following:
  • First, there shall be immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties shall exercise utmost restraint.
  • Second, constructive dialogue among all parties concerned shall commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people.
  • Third, a special envoy of the ASEAN Chair shall facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the Secretary- General of ASEAN.
  • Fourth, ASEAN shall provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Centre.
  • Fifth, the special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.”
A short statement, but to the point. Very worrying, but it's what I thought could happen if the army kept escalating. If they're out to kill you, what do you have to lose by taking up arms in response?
3. The Tatmadaw wants the National Unity Government (NUG) to form an ‘army’, that way, when citizens are killed at protests, the Tatmadaw can call the people killed members of a rebel army. I am sure the NUG’s "people's defence force" can get their hands on some small arms, in the low hundreds in 3 to 6 months, but the Tatmadaw at present has:

(i) MBT-2000, T-72S and Type 59 tanks; and​

(ii) BAAC-87, WZ-551, MAV and BTR series of APCs.​

Yes, whatever NUG and their supporters wants or those human rights NGO demands, in the end they have to make compromise with the Military. Those who are thinking that the Military will simply cave in to International pressure is really living in dream world.

...The only way out is to try coax the Junta on giving some compromise with the NUG as opposition. While like it or not NUG has to live with that to. Providing middle ground and come out with more stable Myanmar is the only choices right now for the sake of Myanmar people.
4. Right now, the Tatmadaw still wants to engage in dialogue with ASEAN, so they have decided to keep a lid on the level of violence used against protestors. If they do not hesitate to use armour and artillery on the protestors — the current total death toll of 769 will look tiny. When an egg (i.e. NUG) meets the rock called the Tatmadaw, we will see egg yoke splattered everywhere.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Analysis of situation —Part 2

5. There will be refugees but if ASEAN is not able to send in a special envoy soon (along with an aid package), a bigger out flow of refugees is expected. In this case, I am sure Thailand and Bangladesh will not want to allow even one rebel base to be established in their respective territories, along with these refugee camps — as long as talks with ASEAN are ongoing. Therefore, these ineffective Burmese ‘rebels’ are in for a rude shock, once the Tatmadaw gets the excuse it needs to go full on into repression or pacification mode. At that time, we will see a death toll of 500 to 700 per day.

6. Slapping ASEAN’s face will ensure that ASEAN will not recognise NUG as Myanmar’s legitimate government. The NUG will soon understand that their decision will have real world consequences in getting a seat at the table. This move to form a "people's defence force" with support from a rebel group like the Karen National Liberation Army, can also escalate the level of violence that will in time increase the death toll, but I have to respect the choice they make. Right now, the military junta has only declared the NUG to be illegal. Once armed rebellion occurs, the NUG members will be deemed as traitors (rather than seen as protestors) by the Tatmadaw.

In their eyes, the Tatmadaw is evil and everyone should condemn them, not realizing they can act much worse than now. And if all lines of communication to them is cut-off, then there's no hope of stopping them short of a full-blown war. Sometimes, I think they're too idealistic for their own good, but I kind of understand given that emotions run high, and that they're in the receiving end of the Tatmadaw's brutality.

Call it toothless or whatever, but just like the UN, its purpose is to give platform for communication and prevent an interstate war between ASEAN states, by promoting communication and trade. For that purpose, ASEAN is still useful.
7. Agreed. From what I see, the protestors are organised and brave. But organised protests via throwing a few Molotov cocktails is very different from fighting like the Tamil Tigers.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Analysis of situation —Part 3

8. The are limitations to ASEAN and it is often called toothless but it is still useful in preventing the NUG’s extermination. If the Tatmadaw uses too much violence in repressive actions, ASEAN will not be able to continue its planned dialogue through a special envoy (that was decided after the 24 Apr 2021 ASEAN Summit)— if that happens, I expect this military dictatorship to start sending out secret death squads to kill members of the NUG.

Independent verification is going to be impossible since the Tatmadaw is arresting foreign and domestic journalists. This is turning into a shooting war now.
9. Objectively speaking, without extensive external support from a state intelligence agency (eg. CIA or SID) or a few bases in Thailand (where training can be provided), plus the rapid supply of 15,000 to 50,000 rifles and 500 to 2,000 anti-tank weapons, over a period of 9 months to 3 years, any rebel army in Burma, is doomed to failure.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Active Member
Therefore, these ineffective Burmese ‘rebels’ are in for a rude shock, once the Tatmadaw gets the excuse it needs to go full on into repression or pacification mode. At that time, we will see a death toll of 500 to 700 per day.
I'm not sure it really matters now. The Burmese Army is murdering people every day, so is there any real difference whether it's 50 or 500? They're still executing people for no good reason, in some cases laughing as they're doing it. Sure, more people may suffer on a daily basis, but given there's no end in sight I can see how ordinary people have had enough.

After all, no successful revolution was brought about by people hiding at home and hoping an international organisation would sort it out for them. As things are now, I don't think there's any way to bring about long-term peace in Burma without the Army being overthrown. They're not going to suddenly see the error of their ways, unless the leadership orders a series of atrocities that even front link personnel are going to rebel against.

Slapping ASEAN’s face will ensure that ASEAN will not recognise NUG as Myanmar’s legitimate government. The NUG will soon understand that their decision will have real world consequences in getting a seat at the table.
It's not just the NUG, it's ordinary Burmese as well. In fact, Burmese civilians from what I understand believe ASEAN is partly to blame for the army's atrocities through cowardice/lack of leadership in isolating the junta.

You have many times said that ASEAN is complex in its structural difficulties, so the failure to take tough action is not malicious, and I can only go by what is said on social media. But from their perspective, is ASEAN helping or just lending credibility to the Burmese military as the legitimate government? Realistically, is ASEAN going to achieve anything other than a return to the situation at the turn of the century where the junta were in charge? They're not going to willingly allow meaningful elections again. And Burmese aren't going to accept a return to the terror of indefinite military rule.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #98
I'm not sure it really matters now. The Burmese Army is murdering people every day, so is there any real difference whether it's 50 or 500? They're still executing people for no good reason, in some cases laughing as they're doing it. Sure, more people may suffer on a daily basis, but given there's no end in sight I can see how ordinary people have had enough.

After all, no successful revolution was brought about by people hiding at home and hoping an international organisation would sort it out for them. As things are now, I don't think there's any way to bring about long-term peace in Burma without the Army being overthrown. They're not going to suddenly see the error of their ways, unless the leadership orders a series of atrocities that even front link personnel are going to rebel against.



It's not just the NUG, it's ordinary Burmese as well. In fact, Burmese civilians from what I understand believe ASEAN is partly to blame for the army's atrocities through cowardice/lack of leadership in isolating the junta.

You have many times said that ASEAN is complex in its structural difficulties, so the failure to take tough action is not malicious, and I can only go by what is said on social media. But from their perspective, is ASEAN helping or just lending credibility to the Burmese military as the legitimate government? Realistically, is ASEAN going to achieve anything other than a return to the situation at the turn of the century where the junta were in charge? They're not going to willingly allow meaningful elections again. And Burmese aren't going to accept a return to the terror of indefinite military rule.
I believe the main goal of the other ASEAN-countries is to stop the killings and human rights abuses, not to demand that the Tatmadaw steps down and hand over the power to the chosen civilian government, because that's unrealistic. The whole coup d'etat was launched in order to be back in power.

Stopping the killings and releasing the political prisoners is only acceptable for the Tatmadaw if they can have and keep the absolute control and power in the country.

Anything more will need foreign military intervention for a full scale war.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
After all, no successful revolution was brought about by people hiding at home and hoping an international organisation would sort it out for them. As things are now, I don't think there's any way to bring about long-term peace in Burma without the Army being overthrown.
Is there ever any armed rebellion/revolution by civilian forces that able to overthrow a unified military and security apparatus ?


This's quite good reading on that. Basically if you face with solid unified military, then the chances ofcivilian uprising more likely failed with high costs on civilian it self. However if you face a fractured military (example what happened in Syria, or Libya) then it's another matter.

If we look to Chinese Civil War, Russian Revolution, they're (the communist) able to conduct successful revolution due to no solid unified military from previous regime left. Thus there's 'vacum' of power. Tsar Army basically fractured, and there's no unified national army in China after the Empire collapse. Every factions has chances to build their own army.
The Mullah basically can overwhelmed Shah's armed forces that's fractured and not having solid command figure to rally on anymore.

This's not what happened in Myanmar now, Tatmadaw so far shown solid control with Military and Security apparatus. The ethnic insurgencies already happened for long time in Myanmar, and I cynically suspect Tatmadaw let it run to give them excuse for strong handed policy with minorities ethnics.
One other thing, we as outsider don't really know how strong the rural Myanmar support the Civilian factions in NUG. We got report on protest and disobedience mostly in Cities. If the majority of rural grassroots don't want to shown strong oppositions toward Tatmadaw, then Tatmadaw will be more easier to round up NUG supporters as rebellious forces.

I don't think any of Myanmar neighbors want to let themselves as bases for rebel forces to Tatmadaw, just like Pakistan done toward mujahideen forces during their war with Russian. Certainly not China, very doubtful from Thailand, unlikely from India, and even Bangladesh that have less cordial relationship with Myanmar.

So talking with Tatmadaw is still necessary, civilian NUG has to come to middle on that. Compromise they (NUG) have to swallowing that bitter pill. Unless they are willing to take very big risk to be route entirely.
What ASEAN done is to try find that compromise. However if NUG doesn't want to take that path, they will be left alone.
 
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Musashi_kenshin

Active Member
I believe the main goal of the other ASEAN-countries is to stop the killings and human rights abuses, not to demand that the Tatmadaw steps down and hand over the power to the chosen civilian government, because that's unrealistic.
My point exactly. Right now Burmese have no hope for the future other than fighting back or accepting permanent subjugation by the army. ASEAN, as you say, wants to stop the killing, but it's improbable they will succeed in obtaining a just future for the country. Hence why it's fairly obvious if Burmese don't see ASEAN as part of the solution.

So talking with Tatmadaw is still necessary, civilian NUG has to come to middle on that. Compromise they (NUG) have to swallowing that bitter pill.
You can't compromise with a regime that rejects the will of 75% of the electorate. They unilaterally imposed a constitution on the country that most observers said would make it impossible for another political party to take control. When Aung San Suu Kyi won not just one but two elections by vast landslides, she was fighting against a system that could not be more in the military's favour.

This is the key point that needs to be examined in understanding Burma's future. The military have had all the advantages in the contested elections they've held, but they've still lost. If the Burmese people compromise further, it will mean giving the military an automatic majority and the right to form the government, with at best token representation for Burmese people. There is no point in that, other than to make neighbouring countries breathe a sigh of relief and say "problem solved".

As for the military, given they're already losing elections and have now burnt away the last of their public support, they will not make any compromises.

I'll say it again, for emphasis. What the military wants is incompatible with what Burmese want. Burmese put up with a joke political system that was supposed to guarantee miltiary rule and still managed to unite together to get a government they wanted. There are no further concessions that can be made to the military that don't result in the generals having permanent rule.

An armed resistance is obviously the highest risk strategy, but as I've said Burmese aren't seeking to stop the violence. If they were, they would have stopped protesting and gone home months ago. They're aiming to get the military to give up control and restore it to a civilian government. They've tried peaceful tactics for a long time now, and there's no sign that it's working. Therefore it's perfectly understandable if they take up arms.
 
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