Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Public Affairs/International Relations

First Advisor

Samuel Barkin

Second Advisor

Michael Keating

Third Advisor

Paul Kowert


Having ruled the country for more than five decades, the Burmese military regime voluntarily gave up its iron-fisted power in late 2010. Many wonder why the regime did this. This thesis examines the key drivers behind Burma's democratization, analyzing the internal and external threats to the regime that affected its thinking. In the past, the regime responded quickly and violently to movements for democratic change. The thesis critically assesses those drivers to answer why the regime has now opted for change. I will critically analyze the four drivers of the reform process--rapidly growing civil unrest, China's excessive influence, the modernization of the deteriorating Burmese military, and the benefits of a new political economy for the regime and its cronies.


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