This book analyses Myanmar’s contemporary political history, arguing that Myanmar’s so-called "democratization" has always been a calculated regime transition, planned by the military, with every intention for the military to remain the key permanent political actor in Myanmar’s political regime.
Using Myanmar’s regime change since 2011 as an extended case study, the book offers an original theory of regime transition. The author argues that Myanmar’s ongoing regime transition has not diverged from its authoritarian military root and explains how the military has long planned its voluntary partial withdrawal from direct politics. As a consequence, Myanmar’s "disciplined democracy" contains features of democratic politics, but at its core, remains authoritarian. Providing an original contribution to the theoretical literature on regime change by developing a theory of trial and error regime transition, the book engages with and challenges the popular democratization theory by arguing that this theory does not sufficiently explain hybrid regimes or authoritarian durability. Additionally, the book adds to an alternative understanding of how the regime transition was initiated by examining the historical evolution of Myanmar’s post-colonial regime and offers a fresh perspective on contemporary political developments in Myanmar.
An important contribution to the study of authoritarian durability and the dynamics of regime change in Southeast Asia, this book will be of interest to academic researchers of comparative politics, international relations, and Southeast Asian studies.
1. Introduction to Myanmar’s Paradoxical Regime Change 2. Myanmar’s Trial and Error Praetorian Regime 3. The Origins of Contemporary Myanmar 4. The Evolution of Myanmar’s Military Regime 5. A Disciplined Society for a Disciplined Democracy 6. The International Dimension of Myanmar’s Regime Change 7. Myanmar’s Way to Democracy 8. Conclusion