U.S. Reform Agenda in Myanmar on Shaky Ground

U.S. Reform Agenda in Myanmar on Shaky Ground
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Myanmar President Thein Sein, Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Nov. 13, 2014 (AP photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe).

Yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Myanmar, where he will attend the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit as well as meet with national leaders. The visit comes less than two years after Obama’s first to the Southeast Asian nation, which was also the first ever by a sitting U.S. president.

Obama’s 2012 Myanmar trip was “a symbolic visit to reinforce the message that reform needs to be consolidated. It is a mark of appreciation, a reward if you like, and at the same time it is a measure to press for further reforms,” John Blaxland said in an interview with World Politics Review in the run-up to the trip.

And as Prashanth Parameswaran explained in World Politics Review afterward:

[T]he Obama administration has looked to Myanmar as a key component in its plan to promote democracy and human rights in the Asia-Pacific. Obama certainly did not shy away from doing so during his trip . . .

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