Opinion | Myanmar’s junta is losing. The U.S. should prepare for its collapse.

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Nearly three years after Myanmar’s military staged a coup against a democratically elected government and plunged the country into civil war, the tide appears to be turning — and thankfully, not in favor of the ruling generals. Even if one is still far away, the world must begin to think about what the fall of the regime might entail. That means talking to the National Unity Government, the country’s only legitimate democratic force.

Well-armed tribal militant groups have had major successes against the army across the country. of The latest offensive It began on October 27, when rebel groups in Myanmar’s Shan State succeeded in capturing several city-states, military bases and border crossings with China. In the northeastern Sagaing region, various ethnic insurgents have made similar gains in Chin and Rakhine states.

Unfortunately, the changes on the battlefield so far have not benefited the National Unity Government, the country’s shadow government. The Government of National Unity is largely constituted. Imprisoned and exiled officials Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi with other activists from the ousted National League for Democracy party. The team is still going strong. Myanmar’s seat of the United Nations. But, inexplicably, it has a government of national unity. He fought for recognition or support, including from the United States.

Countless, often feuding ethnic groups have plagued Myanmar’s border regions for decades — with their own agendas, weapons, and sometimes covert foreign support, particularly from China. These groups are now dominant.

Many of these armed groups have sustained themselves for years by engaging in illegal trade, including people, drugs, timber and wildlife. The escalation of the war in Shan State was caused by China’s attempts to control it. Illegal cyber fraud centers Run by Chinese criminal gangs. The effort to topple Myanmar’s junta and restore democracy has not been easy.

Still, the The Myanmar army is exhausted Spread thin and parallel battles on multiple fronts. Unable to move troops easily on the ground, the military mostly moved to air operations. Mostly bombed villages And killing innocent civilians. Rebel groups have also accused the junta. Using chemical toolsIf proven, this would be a serious violation of international laws and regulations and should be brought before the International Criminal Court.

It has created a civil war in Myanmar. Human fantasy. The world’s attention is distracted by other pressing crises. But the war in Myanmar is almost over 2 million people were displaced. In the country and more than 1 million more live as refugees in neighboring countries. The United Nations has received less than a third of the funds it needs to help civilians in need during the fighting in Shan State, he said.

The United States cannot rely on Myanmar’s neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take the initiative. The regional group is weakened by its rigid stance on “mutual understanding” and “non-interference in each other’s internal affairs”, ineffective and irrelevant. With some countries negotiating with the National Unity Government and others still negotiating with the ruling generals, ASEAN is hopelessly divided.

United States in November He strengthened the sanction The regime will cut off US financial transactions with state-owned oil companies. (Although the movement It’s timed out. – of The European Union has imposed sanctions on the company In February 2022 – and the United States It stopped short Also in October, the United States joined Canada and Britain in imposing sanctions on three more entities and five individuals for aiding and abetting the regime’s human rights abuses. Earlier in August, the sanctions were meant to be lifted. Jet fuel supplies to the governing body.

The junta is exhausted. Additional pressure may accelerate failure. If this happens, it can lead to violence, with rival clan armies taking control of different regions and a gap in the middle. China may respond by moving in to protect its border regions; China already has it Organized military exercises near Shan State. In a worst-case scenario, Myanmar could become a failed state, which could exacerbate the problem of people-trafficking and illegal drugs.

To prevent such incidents, the United States must promote and prepare Government of National UnityThey have now started serious discussions with representatives. The group’s officials say they want a future Myanmar that is democratic and federal, recognizing ethnic groups and guaranteeing minority rights. Those commitments must be respected when drafting a new constitution, as they are the only way to stabilize Myanmar. Strong planning must begin now.

Post View | About the editorial board

Editorials represent the views of the Post as an institution, as determined by discussion among members Editorial BoardIt is based on the comments section and is different from the news section.

Editorial Board Members: Opinion editor David ShipleyDeputy opinion editor Charles Lane and deputy opinion editor Stephen StrombergAlso, writers Mary Dueld, Christine Mba, Shadi Hamid, David E. Hoffman, James Homan, Heather Long, Milli Mitra, Eduardo Porter, Keith B. Richburg And Molly Roberts.

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