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At a recent conference in Washington, Zaw Oo, a distinguished scholar and economics adviser to President Thein Sein of Myanmar, poignantly mentioned the need for his country's people to "reintroduce the dignity of history" into discussions on their future. His phrase captured an essence of the future that is too often ignored by technical specialists, who are usually focused closely on the uncertainties inherent in their own disciplines.

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Photo: Mizzima

The international community in Yangon has been embroiled by rent scandals. UNICEF led the pack, but in this case a pioneering role was not something to be proud of. The international organisation that focuses on the plight of children in need was revealed to be paying US$87,000 a month to a shady landlord. The flashy Apple headquarters-like interior decoration further inflated the bill. Country rep Bertrand Bainvel had a hard time justifying such extravagance.

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Peace efforts are almost always connected to a constitution. Peace negotiations in South Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines and elsewhere have shown that peace, conflict and a constitution are directly linked.

Myanmar is no exception.

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Stalling reforms and the price of idealism

Last week the Obama Administration added a new Myanmar name to the US sanctions list, casting a shadow over what was previously seen to be greatly improving US/Myanmar political relations.

03 Nov The Game

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The effects of the war economy

One cannot possibly imagine the effects of the war economy in Myanmar. There is no data available as to how big the war economy is in Myanmar; no research that I know of has been done in this area, but the effects must be incredible.

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Shashi-Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor. Photo: Project Syndicate

The phrase “Silk Road” evokes a romantic image – half history, half myth – of tented camel caravans winding their way across the trackless deserts and mountains of Central Asia. But the Silk Road is not just part of a fabled past; it is an important feature of China’s current foreign policy.