Max Fisher in the New York Times –
Myanmar seemed to be building a peaceful transition to civilian governance. Instead, a personal struggle between military and civilian leaders brought it all down.
The wrenching collapse of Myanmar’s once-celebrated democratic opening had many witting and unwitting accomplices along the way. But its central driver, activists and experts say, was a yearslong power struggle between the military and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s civilian leader.
Democratic transitions can be a messy business. Old regimes tend to surrender power slowly, piece by piece. In a transitional phase that might last decades, the authoritarian and democratic systems often operate side by side. If they stay on tolerably good terms, with a shared understanding of their eventual destination, they have a chance to make it.
That was once the hope for Myanmar. The country’s military junta, after decades of iron-fisted rule, in 2011 began handing off power to a civilian government. After her party’s election victory in 2015, that government was headed by Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient for her resistance to the junta through years of house arrest.