A Delicate Balance

A Delicate Balance

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December 21, 2012

As Renaud Egreteau reports at Le Monde diplomatique, the political opening for dialogue in Burma between its eight competing ethnic factions is a positive development, but the looming temptation for the ethnically dominant Bamar to run roughshod over the others in order to exploit natural resources must be overcome if internal peace is to prevail. While the recent truce within the Bamar majority between the military hierarchy and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi garnered headlines in world media, the legacy of six decades of civil war between the Bamar and the seven ethnic minorities leaves little trust to build on. As Thailand and China have their eyes on timber and precious stones, the ongoing conflict that includes four separate armies means any resolution of differences requires a delicate balance in negotiations, as well as a commitment to preventing further destabilization of Burma by the forces of globalization.

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