Current Realities and Future Possibilities in Burma/Myanmar

Current Realities and Future Possibilities in Burma/Myanmar: Options for U.S. Policy, released in March 2010, offers a detailed strategy that positions the U.S. to respond effectively and flexibly to the shifts that a potential democratic transition in Myanmar could take. This report is complemented by a wide-ranging review of Asian policy toward Myanmar, incorporating perspectives from leading experts in nine Asian countries.

The U.S. policy report was developed in response to the new direction for relations with Myanmar that the White House announced in September 2009. This new direction moved the U.S. away from previous efforts to isolate Myanmar’s ruling generals, balancing economic sanctions with "pragmatic engagement" and initiating efforts to expand channels of communication with the military leadership.

Developed by Asia Society’s Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward Burma/Myanmar, the U.S. policy report argues that a comprehensive U.S. approach—taken in concert with regional and international partners—provides the best hope for bringing Myanmar into the world community. The report recommends framing U.S. policy toward Myanmar in response to changes taking place in the country, with careful consideration of how available policy instruments, including engagement and sanctions, can be used to encourage political and economic reform.

Together, the U.S. report and the Asian policy review present an agenda of policy prescriptions for regional governments and the international community. A common thread running through both the reports is concern about the lack of a cohesive international strategy to deal with Myanmar.

The Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward Burma/Myanmar is co-chaired by General Wesley Clark and former Administrator of USAID Henrietta Fore, and directed by Suzanne DiMaggio, Vice President of Global Policy Programs at Asia Society.