As army units fan out across Myanmar’s major cities, the sense of déjà vu is almost palpable. Fed by the relentless demands of a 24-hour news cycle, media in Myanmar and globally have been waiting with a mix of fascination and dread for a replay of grainy images from 1988 and 2007 etched in collective memory: lines of infantrymen marching rifles raised towards crowds of civilian protesters, the use of live ammunition, bloodied bodies in the streets.
The wait may be in vain. Two weeks into the Myanmar military’s latest war against its own people, it is becoming clearer by the day that another classic Tatmadaw-style crackdown involving widespread coordinated violence is unlikely.
With no indications of rifts in its command echelons and time arguably on its side, the 350,000-strong military appears to have neither the interest nor the appetite for another bloodbath.