25 June 2021

Business as usual? International Responses to the Military Coup in Myanmar

In this episode of the Nordic Asia Podcast Kenneth Bo Nielsen of the Norwegian Network for Asian Studies is joined by Htwe Htwe Thein (Curtin University in Western Australia), Michael Gillan (University of Western Australia, UWA Business School) and Kristian Stokke (University of Oslo) to analyse how international governments and businesses have responded to the Myanmar military coup.

At first glance, many of the current responses from these international actors seem familiar: some actors – the US, UK and EU impose sanctions; others such as ASEAN advocate ‘constructive engagement’; while international businesses has to navigate familiar ethical dilemmas, operational challenges and motives when deliberating whether to ‘stay or go’. However, this time the responses are shaped in significant ways by a new condition within Myanmar: the existence of a robust pro-democracy social movement, the formation of an alternative ‘National Unity Government’, and the associated legitimacy crisis of the military regime. In other words, this time around not everything about the international response has been business as usual.