Business as Usual? International Responses to the Military Coup in Myanmar
Since the military coup in Myanmar on 1 February, the attention of the world has been captured by a wave of pro-democracy protests throughout the country and the violent response of the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw). In this presentation Htwe Htwe Thein and Michael Gillan track how international governments and businesses have responded to the coup with reference to the framing, underlying logics and intended impacts of their actions. At first glance, many of the current responses from these international actors do not seem to be anything new. In fact, they appear to align with past actions and discourses used during the decades of military rule prior to democratic reforms commencing in 2011: sanctions regimes (US, UK, EU); ‘constructive engagement’ (ASEAN); and, for international businesses, the ethical dilemmas, operational challenges and motives that inform their decisions to ‘stay or go’ from the country. Thein and Gillan argue, however, that these responses are shaped in significant ways by a new condition within Myanmar: the existence of a robust pro-democracy social movement, inclusive of the formation of an alternative ‘National Unity Government’, and the associated legitimacy crisis of the military regime.
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About the speakers
Htwe Htwe Thein is an Associate Professor in International Business at Faculty of Business and Law, Curtin University in Western Australia
Michael Gillan is an Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia (UWA Business School).
Kristian Stokke is a professor at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography (UiO).