The 1 February 2021 coup in Myanmar removed Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government. A broad spectrum of society continues to resist the coup in various ways. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Richard Horsey assesses the situation and what the future may hold.
The numerous ethnic armed groups fighting Myanmar’s regime have taken different tacks after the 2021 coup. Some are aiding the parallel government; others are not. With civil strife set to continue for some time, donors should concentrate on mitigating war’s effects on the population.
Together with the Philippines, Vietnam is on the front line of maritime disputes with China. The risk of armed confrontation is low but growing. Hanoi should redouble efforts to build confidence, starting with less sensitive issues, and to establish an effective Code of Conduct.
International donors cut off all but emergency aid to Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover in August. Months later, the state is collapsing and a humanitarian disaster is looming. Donors should work with the state to restore basic public services and mitigate the population’s suffering.
The maritime dispute between China and the Philippines is simmering against the backdrop of strategic competition between Beijing and Washington. To keep tensions below boiling point, Manila should push for a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea as well as greater regional cooperation.
The disputes in the South China Sea are fundamentally about claims of sovereignty, the broadest of which are staked by Beijing. The Chinese-U.S. rivalry, meanwhile, loads the dissension with geopolitical significance. Both major powers stand to gain by accepting the constraints of international law.
World attention to Myanmar is waning, despite the deepening impasse between the junta and resistance forces. Major powers should back the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in reinvigorated efforts to relieve the suffering of people facing poverty and disease as well as regime repression.
Myanmar's status as one of the world's largest illicit drug producers is only possible because of criminal justice failures.
If [Ethiopian President] Abiy survives the conflict in power, he will likely be thankful to Beijing and Moscow for protecting him at the UN during the war.
History shows that ignoring Afghanistan allows problems to fester and grow. Migration, terrorism, drugs: all of these issues could destabilize the region and spill over into Europe.
Myanmar needs to be a much higher diplomatic priority for the major powers and the UN.
There’s significance in the propaganda war that’s playing out [in Myanmar]. I think they [the military] make the resistance feel emboldened and confident.
If we do nothing, Afghanistan drifts into state collapse. The economic chokehold is squeezing the air out of the economy.
The latest five-day plenum of North Korea’s ruling party focused on food insecurity, chief among the nation’s challenges. With the pandemic not yet tamed and other uncertainty on the international scene, Pyongyang may continue refraining from major provocations into 2022, but for how long is unclear.
The South China Sea has long been a critical maritime passage, means of supply and trade route that was fought over by many claimants. Today the South China Sea is once again a 21st century flashpoint.