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February 01, 2021

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Agreed, it sucks.

But it does make me thankful that we have a military that, especially in the senior ranks, is truly dedicated to the concept of government by civilians. To the point of putting out directives to that effect when a President sounds like he is contemplating trying to use the military to mess with an election.

The military said it detained the democratically elected leaders in response to "election fraud," Reuters reported.

I'm not really a big proponent of American exceptionalism, but as a basic point of fact, the US has historically a global example of, for lack of a better term, rule of law and constitutional good order.

We tend to think of ourselves as champions of freedom, liberty, and democracy, but I think the above is a more accurate, if somewhat less flag-waving, way to characterize it.

My point here is that what we do actually matters. If the 'big kid' and self-appointed 'leader of the free world' indulges in BS about election fraud, complete with an attempted free-lance coup and talk at high levels of more organized attempts, then that lowers the bar.

When you set yourself as an example, and then behave badly, folks who also want to behave badly will point to your example.

I'll also second wj's comment about our history of civilian control of the military. We owe a lot to that tradition, we should guard it jealously.

McConnell has thinks:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged Myanmar’s military to “immediately release” the country’s civilian political leaders and said the United States should “impose costs” on those who stand in the way of democracy there.

Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup, stating Monday that it had taken control of the country and declared a state of emergency for a year after detaining civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others from her ruling National League for Democracy.

“Reports that Burma’s military has rounded up civilian leaders including Aung San Suu-Kyi and key civil society figures are horrifying, completely unacceptable, and obviously a saddening step backwards for Burma’s slow and unsteady democratic transition,” McConnell said in a statement, using another name for Myanmar.

McConnell, who has been a longtime champion in the United States for Suu Kyi, called on Myanmar’s military to “respect the democratic process” and said “Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy should work to bring all of Burma together to move forward in an inclusive and democratic manner.”

It appears that the Myanmar military may not have thought this thru.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/myanmar-coup-military-suu-kyi/2021/02/02/7717e4f8-647e-11eb-bab8-707f8769d785_story.html

For example, they shut down the Internet for the coup. No surprise there. However,

Communications . . . were forced back open Tuesday after essentials that cropped up only in recent years — ATMs, mobile payments, credit card machines — failed to function during this week’s outages.
Oops. It's just not the same country any more. China may be able to firewall the entire country, and control all social media within. But that kind of capability take time, and expertise, to create. And the generals just don't have that.

Sorry, I missed the comments. Spoke with a friend who organized the trips to Myanmar (worked with teaching NPOs) The military had been whipping up anti Muslim hysteria but because many of the Burmese and other ethnic minorities in Rakine and other locations were treated pretty badly, it seems that the military overplayed its hand. While people were disappointed that with the NLD, in the recent election (which the military coup was timed to prevent the certification of the results, gee why does that sound familiar?) there was a 70% turnout even with Covid, and the NLD, despite

My friend's wife is Burmese and her friends and relatives are in the National League for Democracy. Many of them have gone into hiding, but there are protests, often organized thru Viber and Facebook, which is why the military government shut the latter down.
https://www.euronews.com/2021/02/04/myanmar-blocks-facebook-amid-growing-resistance-to-coup

The medical workers (Doctors and nurses) have gone on strike
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55906536

For Biden, a strong response could have the Chinese taking advantage, especially since Myanmar is on the Indian Ocean and China has been teasing a conflict with India
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-53062484

Looks like there is part of a sentence missing (behind 'despite').

Lost track of my comment.

The NLD, despite a lot of disappointment with the party, was still the winner of the vote. From this link

https://www.usasean.org/article/2020/11/12/myanmar-analytical-update-ruling-nld-party-wins-2020-general-elections-landslide

According to the Union Election Commission (UEC), over 70% of the 37 million registered voters, in a population of 56 million, participated in electing the government officials to serve for the next five years in the following chambers:

Amyotha Hluttaw (Upper House of Parliament): 161 seats
Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House of Parliament): 315 seats
State and Region Parliaments: 612 seats
Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, this was an impressive turnout, higher even than the historic 2015 elections.

Although official results have not yet been certified by the UEC, all major local news outlets are projecting a clear landslide victory for the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This will allow the NLD-dominated parliament to choose the president and one of two vice-presidents, appoint and confirm cabinet ministers and deputy ministers, as well as pass any legislation it pleases. For American business, this development means a steady continuation of the NLD’s economic reform efforts, with perhaps a greater momentum. Expect many of the same players over the past five years to remain in power.

There are, however, limitations to the NLD’s ability to govern. Per Myanmar’s 2008 military junta-drafted constitution, 25% of all parliamentary seats are reserved for the military, effectively giving them veto power over any proposed amendment to the constitution. The military also controls the defense, home affairs, and border affairs ministries. All those military MPs and ministry heads are directly appointed by, answer to, and serve at the pleasure of the Commander-in-Chief.

Clearly, 25% was not enough. One wonders if where they got the idea to complain about election irregularities...

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