The Geopolitics of Change in Burma
The United States and the West did not change their policy of isolating Burma because of their concerns were primarily with the lack of democracy and human rights. It was "the China factor". Burma was becoming a vassal of China, which was seen as a threat to the status quo and regional stability. At the same time, Burma's military was also concerned about China's growing influence and realised that it has to reach out to the West to avoid being absorbed by Chinese political, economic and strategic interests. But in order to "woo the West" they also realised that they had to liberalise the country's rigid political system - but not in a way that would jeopardise their hold on power.
Bertil Lintner was born in Sweden in 1953 and left for Asia in 1975. He spent 1975-79 traveling in the Asia-Pacific region (the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand). He has been living permanently in Thailand since December 1979, working as a journalist and author. Mr Lintner was a freelance journalist until March 1988, when he was employed by the Far Eastern Economic Review of Hong Kong (for which he began writing on a free-lance basis in 1982) as its Burma correspondent. Later, he also covered a wide range of issues for the Review such as organized crime, ethnic and political insurgencies, and regional security. After the Review was closed down in November 2004, he worked as a senior analyst for Jane's Information Group in the US and the UK, and wrote for Asia Times Online until 2014. From 1995 to 2014 he was also the East Asia correspondent for the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.
He is the author of fourteen books on Asian politics and history, including Outrage: Burma’s Struggle for Democracy; Burma in Revolt: Opium and Insurgency Since 1948; Land of Jade: A Journey From India through Northern Burma, Burma in Revolt: Opium and Insurgency Since 1948, Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's Struggle for Democracy, Bloodbrothers: Crime, Business and Politics in Asia, Great Leader, Dear Leader: Demystifying North Korea Under the Kim Clan, Merchants of Madness: the Methamphetamine Explosion in the Golden Triangle; Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Struggle for Democracy; World.Wide.Web: Chinese Migration in the 21st Century; and Great Game East: India, China and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Frontier.
His work can be viewed at www.asiapacificms.com.