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Persuading Pariahs: Myanmar's Strategic Decision to Pursue Reform and Opening

Title
Persuading Pariahs: Myanmar's Strategic Decision to Pursue Reform and Opening
Authors
Chow, Jonathan T.Easley, Leif -Eric
Ewha Authors
Leif Eric Easley
SCOPUS Author ID
Leif Eric Easleyscopus
Issue Date
2016
Journal Title
PACIFIC AFFAIRS
ISSN
0030-851XJCR Link1715-3379JCR Link
Citation
vol. 89, no. 3, pp. 521 - 542
Keywords
Myanmar/BurmaChinaASEANsanctionspariah statesauthoritarian transitionsAung San Suu Kyi
Publisher
PACIFIC AFFAIRS UNIV BRITISH COLUMBIA
Indexed
SSCI; SCOPUS WOS scopus
Abstract
Myanmar's liberalizing reforms since late 2010 have effectively shed the country's decades-long "pariah state" status. This article evaluates competing explanations for why Myanmar's leaders made the strategic decision to pursue reform and opening. We examine whether the strategic decision was motivated by fears of sudden regime change, by socialization into the norms of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), or by the geopolitics of overreliance on China. Drawing on newly available materials and recent field interviews in Myanmar, we demonstrate how difficult it is for international actors to persuade a pariah state through sanctions or engagement, given the pariah regime's intense focus on maintaining power. However, reliance on a more powerful neighbour can reach a point where costs to national autonomy become unacceptable, motivating reforms for the sake of economic and diplomatic diversification.
DOI
10.5509/2016893521
Appears in Collections:
스크랜튼대학 > 국제학부 > Journal papers
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