This introductory chapter first sets out the book's purpose, that is, to identify practical ways for foreigners motivated by mandates of global justice to facilitate real institutional change in Myanmar and return it to the path of democracy and diversity envisaged at independence in 1948. The book attempts first and foremost to come to grips with the many challenges confronting contemporary Myanmar. Thereafter it considers the demands of global justice, and the contribution outsiders might make to domestic political reform. To this end, it focuses particularly on means by which indigenous preferences might be articulated, grassroots leadership enhanced, and the sphere of local politics expanded. The remainder of the chapter discusses the controversy surrounding the country's name; the ways in which the current reality inside its borders might be framed; the means by which its politics might be examined; and the initial possibilities for rebuilding from the ruinous state that is Myanmar a place that might properly be called Burma.
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