Commentary on “Building trust at Panglong”

Talking about "trust and trust-building”, we need to come to the root cause of where stimulation to achieve "trust" could be motivated.

What exactly must we do to be able to have incentive to build trust?

In Burma context, there are two conflict areas to take into account. One is ethnic conflict and the other, ideological conflict or differences.

The ethnic conflict could be resolved if the Tatmadaw, which claimed to represent the whole union, but in reality only its organization with pretense to speak for the majority Bamar, would withdraw its occupation troops from the ethnic states. This should be the theoretical out going point. It could gradually implement it by first withdrawing its troops to the respective mother units and really stop its offensive operations, as a first step to build trust. Then earnest demarcation arrangement and peace talks could follow.

In order to resolve ideological conflict, the Tatmadaw must let go or abandon its military and Bamar supremacy aspirations and let the civilian elected government take the country's administrative responsibility. In other words, to abandon its military dictatorship and Bamar-dominated unitary system ideological thinking.

If the Tatmadaw could first stimulate "trust" by withdrawing its occupation troops and really stop military offensives, it could be a start of "trust-building". If not one could repeat a million times to build trust, but nothing would ever happen. This is to do with ending the ethnic conflict.

Regarding ideological conflict or differences, the only way to build trust with all the peoples and strata embracing the whole country is to promise that it goes back to the barracks and leave political settlement and arrangement to the public and the organizations that represent them, together with the elected civilian government.

If the said two conflict areas is approached as mentioned, trust-building could succeed and trust eventually could be built. Otherwise, it would only be a wishful-thinking without commitment and political will undertaking to achieve conflict resolution, no matter how much peace conferences are held, and the vicious circle of violence will continue in the name of national unity, when, in fact, it is nation-destroying.

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