The Myanmar junta collapsing is half the problem. All signs from history indicate that the very political state of Myanmar as a unified entity is extremely artificial and highly unlikely to be held together through any means that can be construed as democratic or accepted by all parties.

Expect Myanmar to go the way of Yugoslavia within the next decade or even faster. Probably the best for everyone living there. And I'd fully expect China, India and Thailand to make land grabs of Burmese land bordering them too. Some countries really shouldn't be held together.

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I agree with Mr. Mathieson's analysis. When the junta will collapse is anyone's guess, however. I don't think it's enough to say the Three Brotherhood Alliance (TBA) will oust the junta anytime soon, and Mathieson isn't suggesting this either. If the post-junta situation is already fraught, conceptually and in hard reality, so are the conditions that will lead to the junta's final defeat. Perhaps the military will lay down their arms voluntarily if the TBA has them wildly on the run. Perhaps the corrupt, murderous chieftains of the military will endure antagonisms within their ranks that might see the junta implode from within. If these signs emerge, then I expect the US and its European poodles (including Australia) will get off their rumps and mount pressure enough to bring about the collapse of the junta but without laying the foundations of a 'civil war' between invested parties or armed groups.

Much, I think, depends on what China does in the weeks, months, years ahead in Burma. Obviously it is lending support for Chinese and non-military outfits to take down mostly Chinese scammers north of the Burmese border. But would that necessarily mean China will throw its weight behind the TBA and overthrow the junta? Or would Beijing talk the junta into laying down its arms and ending its murderous rule? And will Xi Jinping offer these murderous dogs sanctuary or asylum in China if the result does not see Burmese pitting against each other for power and influence? And what about Rakhine: what will become of it and the Rohingyas?

My sense is that China will want to secure its current investments in Burma -- from crucial resources to establishing geostrategic bridgeheads vis-a-vis the US and, more and more, India. So it's likely, in this case, that it will do a deal with the TBA in the aftermath of the junta's collapse. The stupendously weak and meek ASEAN will want the same thing -- to protect its longtime economic investmensts in Burma -- but will typically ride on China's back.

This brings forth the next question: Will the TBA stick together? Or will infighting break out amongst them for power and influence? My guess is that the TBA will also break up. The smell of power and the allure of capital accumulation will be too great for any one group to resist. And what about the rest of the disenfranchised and/or marginalised populations? Will they not want a piece of the action too? History tells us post-junta Burma might be much uglier than we dare to think.

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