Disorder in Order: the Army-State in Burma
since 1962 by Donald M. Seekins (Bangkok:
White Lotus, 2002). 403 pp. US$25.00.*
Disorder in Order examines Burma’s
history of “regime entropy” following the March 1962 coup d’etat
that ended the country’s brief experiment with parliamentary government.
Implementing socialist economic policies in central Burma
and a hard line against ethnic minority and communist insurgents in the Border
Areas, Ne Win’s Army-State presided over the country’s fall from prosperity to
Least Developed Nation status by 1987. The following year, a new martial law
regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), brutally
suppressed a nationwide movement for democracy that drew on the country’s colonial-era
traditions of revolutionary nationalism. Although SLORC promoted an open
economy, including foreign private investment, the second Army-State operates
on the same assumptions as its predecessor: that government is synonymous with
pacification, unquestioned central control and cultural homogenization.
argues that while the post-1988 junta, renamed the State Peace and Development
Council in 1997, claims a unique mission in defending national unity and social
order, its policies generate political disunity and socio-economic disorder.
Tragically, genuine order, the key to Burma’s
development, remains out of reach as the 21st century dawns.
the Buddha from Arakan
One: the Historical Roots of Military Rule
Two: Regime Entropy – the First Army-State, 1962-74
Three: Regime Entropy – the Socialist
Republic of the
Union of Burma,
Four: the State and Nation at War, 1988
Five: SLORC in Power - the 1990 Election
Six: SLORC in Power - Building a New Army-State
Seven: the Disorder in Order
Order from: White Lotus Press, <http://thailine.com/lotus>
Dr. Seekins is Professor of Southeast Asia Studies at Meio University
in Okinawa, Japan.
Having followed developments in Burma
closely since 1988, he has visited the country numerous times and has written
extensively on Burma
and Burma-Japan relations.