Nov 16

Burma’s Democracy in the Spotlight as Obama Pivots to Asia

Democracy rises

In his first major foreign policy move after the election, President Obama will begin a three country tour in Southeast Asia where he will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Burma. Long viewed as a pariah state, Burma (also known as Myanmar) was ruled by an iron-fisted military junta from 1962 until it began to embrace democratic and economic reforms in 2011.

The release of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2010, a democracy activist who was a political prisoner under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 years, was a watershed moment in the country’s transformation. The White House says Obama will “praise” Burma’s rapid democratic transition during his visit, but critics say the country still has a long way to go in creating a more civil society.

In September, Suu Kyi was welcomed to Washington at the Asia Society by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton where she discussed ongoing reforms in Burma.

Myanmar Democracy Icon Aung San Suu Kyi Visits Washington from The Asia Society on FORA.tv

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