Soldiers and Diplomacy in Burma: Understanding The Foreign Relations Of The Burmese Praetorian State

$38.00 SGD

By Renaud Egreteau and Larry Jagan, Preface by David I. Steinberg

Soldiers and Diplomacy addresses the key question of the ongoing role of the military in Burma's foreign policy. The authors, a political scientist and a former top Asia editor for the BBC, provide a fresh perspective on Burma's foreign and security policies, which have shifted between pro-active diplomacies of neutralism and non-alignment, and autarkical policies of isolation and xenophobic nationalism. They argue that important elements of continuity underlie Burma's striking postcolonial policy changes and contrasting diplomatic practices. Among the defining factors here are the formidable dominance of the Burmese armed forces over state structure, the enduring domestic political conundrum and the peculiar geography of a country located at the crossroads of India, China and Southeast Asia.

Egreteau and Jagan argue that the Burmese military still has the tools needed to retain their praetorian influence over the country's foreign policy in the post-junta context of the 2010s. For international policymakers, potential foreign investors and Burma's immediate neighbors, this will have strong implications in terms of the country's foreign policy approach.


"...a veritable gold mine of useful information...Egreteau and Jagan seem to have combined well - they have significant knowledge of the affairs in Burma, which are complex and sometimes shrouded in secrecy, but they cover a considerable terrain in great detail (with reams of footnotes). The book is also well written and quite easy to read, so it will probably be a reference manual used for many years." - Jim Pollard, The Nation

"There has long been a need for an objective and well researched study of the role played by Burma’s armed forces in the country's external relations. This outstanding book makes a major contribution to modern Burma studies." 
- Andrew Selth


Renaud Egreteau is a Research Assistant Professor with the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at The Universtiy of Hong Kong, and a Research Associate with IRASEC, Bangkok. Larry JAGAN has worked as a freelance journalist and political analyst based in Bangkok since the early 2000s. Previously he worked for the BBC World Serviceas News and Current Affairs editor for the Asia and Pacific region.

Larry Jagan is a journalist and political analyst based in Bangkok.


IRASEC Series on Contemporary Asia
Publication Year: 2013
560 pages, 229mm x 153mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-673-3, Paperback

NUS Press and IRASEC