Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10356/138682
Title: Beneath the war helmet : civil-military relations through the eyes of the Tatmadaw
Authors: Swan, Ye Tun
Keywords: Social sciences::Political science::Political institutions::Asia
Social sciences::Military and naval science
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Abstract: The history of Myanmar’s civil-military relations could only be described as adversarial. Since the country achieved independence from Britain in 1948, civil war, foreign incursions, and political instability caused the Armed Forces to be the most dominant institution in the country from 1961 to 2015. Under the justification of threats to national security, the military has controlled the country for fifty-three years. Until the National League for Democracy (NLD)’s victory in the 2015 election, the country had been ruled either a military backed party or direct military rule with no meaningful opposition to their policies. Despite a civilian government being elected to office in 2015, according to the 2008 Constitution the military is not only still present in the Parliament but still retains monopoly over the Ministry of Defence and all security services in the country including the police. The existence of such a clause not only prevents the civilian control of the military but directly threatens democratic values. Furthermore, the Tatmadaw holds a full quarter of the seats in Parliament which allows the military to maintain its hold on the lion’s share of the national budget and effectively gave it veto power. In many ways, civil-military relations in Myanmar are clearly divided along military and civilian lines. This thesis seeks to present a critical analysis of the civil-military relations of Myanmar after half a century of military rule. Looking through Michael Desch’s theory on threat environment and Samuel Finer’s work on the role of the military in politics, the thesis seeks to explain the Tatmadaw’s character and how the Tatmadaw has managed to survive for half a century as pure military regimes are generally not durable. The military remains the sole group that controls all armed organisations in the country leaving the civilian authorities with no other way to enforce government policy without the approval of the military leaders. This lack of checks and balances on the Tatmadaw presents an obstacle to the democratisation process and military professionalism in the new republic.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10356/138682
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Theses

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