søndag 28. februar 2021

The staying power of SE Asia’s political militaries

Myanmar’s recent reversion to outright military rule has ended a brief and tentative experiment with electoral democracy and restored the country’s status quo ante as a junta-run dictatorship. While international condemnation grows around the putsch, Myanmar is not alone in a region where the armed forces continue to play outsized political roles.

While Southeast Asia’s militaries are deeply enmeshed in politics, their political authority could soon grow as the region teeters towards a potential conflict in the South China Sea and as internal strife simmers in various locales.

Southeast Asian states spent US$34.5 billion on defense in 2019, up 4.2% from 2018, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think tank.