The United States and Myanmar: From Antagonists to Security Partners?
KeywordsPolitical Science; Area Studies; Southeast Asian Studies
US–Myanmar relations; US Burma policy; military engagement; congressional foreign policy entrepreneurship
300; 320; 322; 327
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AbstractThis article provides an overview both of the considerable makeover that relations between the United States and Myanmar have undergone since Naypyidaw ushered in a programme of wide-ranging reforms, and of the main policy areas in relation to which Washington remains keen to induce further change. The article also aims to explain why, notwithstanding the significant improvement in bilateral relations and the Obama administration’s interest in also pursuing military engagement, progress in this field has remained rather limited. Focusing on the politics of US policymaking on Burma, the article argues that while the Obama administration was able to take the initiative on recalibrating US Burma policy, congressional resistance in particular, amid wider concerns shared by non-governmental organisations, has so far constrained the administration vis-à-vis US–Myanmar military-to-military relations.