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History As It Happens

Jun 20, 2024

Since achieving its independence in 1948, Burma – now Myanmar – has spent decades under military rule, its people joining ethnic armies at war with the state. With the current war now in its fourth year, pro-democracy activists are being jailed, tortured and murdered. The junta toppled a democratically-elected government in 2021, yet the war doesn’t receive as much attention in the U.S. as other wars where democracy is said to be on the line. In this episode, Priscilla Clapp of the U.S. Institute of Peace discusses Burma's history of military rule and democratic activism, and whether any reasons for optimism exist as the country fragments into autonomous statelets ruled by armed groups opposed to the central government. Clapp served as chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Burma (1999-2002).