Aung San Suu Kyi’s release has generated important political possibilities for Burma, says Holliday. Beyond Burma’s borders, key powers are generally supportive of change. China seeks above all a stable, prosperous, and friendly Burma, and has long urged military rulers to embrace national reconciliation and incremental reform. India has no problem with this agenda. The US wants faster progress but is pushing too hard after many years of policy failure. The odds therefore remain stacked against Ms. Suu Kyi. However, by signaling that talks are now possible without preconditions and that sanctions may be debated, she has created an important political opening. For generals keen to settle a fractious nation and bring in Burma from the cold, the offer placed on the table could be enticing.
Holliday is dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong.
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