パーリア国家の自己改革:―ミャンマーの外交「正常化」と米国、中国との関係―  [in Japanese] Self-Reformation of "Pariah State": Myanmar's Diplomatic "Normalization" with the United States and China after 2011  [in Japanese]

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Abstract

This article aims to properly contextualize the drastic and surprising changes in Myanmar's diplomatic relations with the United States and China since March 2011. It includes a critical review of conventional understanding and a closer investigation of the relationship's development since 1988. The literature has interpreted Myanmar's diplomatic "normalization" with Western countries as a byproduct of the United States' Asia rebalance policy and Myanmar's departure from an over-reliance on rising economic and political power of China. This explanation, however, reflects a common tendency to oversimplify the relationship between a small state and two major powers. In order to provide a more balanced perspective and a more accurate understanding of the dynamics, this article points out three oversimplifications concerning the Myanmar-United States and the Myanmar-China relationships, and then the author argues that they made it difficult for us to predict Myanmar's diplomatic "normalization" in this short of a term.<br>The first oversimplification assumes that Myanmar's political leadership and its foreign policy have been making the country a "pariah state" that defies Western political values, such as democracy, human rights, and rule of law, with strong, and often unreasonable, consistency. This article critically review the assumption by highlighting the strategic thinking of the military regime of Myanmar by focusing on the impact of the 2011 political reformation on the new state leaders' policy priorities. The second simplification is that U.S. sanctions against Myanmar have been based on a value-centered policy approach mainly caused by the United States' strong sympathy for the democratization movements and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. What is missing here is an understanding of the changeability of the value-centered approach. So the author analytically traces the process in which the Obama Administration has shown favorable responses to the political reforms in Myanmar and subsequently U.S. sanctions have been eased. Finally, Myanmar's reliance on China has been improperly interpreted as China's relentless control over Myanmar's policy options by taking advantage of the gap in the national strength between the two countries and of Myanmar's international isolation. While this asymmetrical relationship caused by their fundamental conditions is obvious between them, the close examination in this article suggests that the nature of the ties between these two countries was not sufficiently consolidated to shape the range of Myanmar's policy options and to prevent Myanmar's balancing behavior to cope with the uncertainty in the changing regional order.

Journal

  • International Relations

    International Relations 2014(177), 177_84-177_97, 2014

    JAPAN ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

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