Few imagined Myanmar would embrace democracy when the U.S. began its historic engagement with the military regime. The country’s rapid changes were lauded by visiting Western leaders, and the nation’s president was hailed as a hero. But spasms of spreading, communal violence show the reform path is bumpier than expected and have taken the sheen off a foreign policy success of the Obama administration’s first term.
While Washington says the country’s overall direction is still positive, some experts worry Myanmar risks backsliding toward military rule that ended two years ago.
In the past two weeks, violence between Buddhists and Muslims has left dozens dead.
Thousands of refugees of an earlier spate of sectarian blood letting are fleeing on rickety boats.
And in a key concern to US policymakers, the country’s murky military ties with North Korea continue.