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Burmese Haze: US Policy and Myanmar’s Opening—and Closing (Erin Murphy)

AAS Asia Shorts book series. 9781952636257. 244 pages.


A play on George Orwell’s famous novel, Burmese Days, Burmese Haze provides a unique—and personal—perspective on the historical events and foreign ties that shaped Myanmar and its relationship with the United States. Former intelligence analyst Erin Murphy tells the story of a remarkable political transition and subsequent collapse, taking the story beyond the headlines to explain why Myanmar and US policy toward it is where it is today. The book weaves in historical details, analysis, and memories drawn from interviews with senior US officials and tycoons, monks, activists, and antagonists.

“Murphy provides a unique insider’s look at US engagement with Myanmar, detailing the successes, pitfalls, and humorous moments in a fleeting moment of optimism between the two countries.” — Timothy McLaughlin, Contributing Writer at The Atlantic

“A thoughtful, well-paced, and incredibly timely account of the complex diplomatic efforts that led to Burma’s rapprochement with the West and the challenges that have faced Washington’s Burma policy ever since.” —  Thant Myint-U, author of The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century

“An essential and riveting account of the recent, painful history of Burma. Erin Murphy brings an insider’s knowledge, a scholar’s rigor, and an eye for colorful details that bring this complex story to life for the general reader. Burmese Haze offers a front-row seat on US policymaking and a pragmatic and balanced take on the effectiveness of sanctions. It’s also a reminder that America is still – for the moment – a model for the world, and if democracy’s light is extinguished here, it will be hard to reignite it elsewhere.” — Ambassador (ret.) Ted Osius, author of Nothing is Impossible: America’s Reconciliation with Vietnam and President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council

ERIN MURPHY has worked on Asia issues since 2001. She has spent her career in several public and private sector roles, including as an analyst on Asian political, foreign policy, and leadership issues at the Central Intelligence Agency, a director for Indo-Pacific with a development finance agency, leading her boutique advisory firm focused on Myanmar, and as an English teacher with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in Saga ken, Japan. Erin received her master’s degree in Japan Studies and International Economics from Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, and her bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Spanish from Tufts University. She was also a 2017–2018 Hitachi International Affairs Fellow-Japan with the Council on Foreign Relations.


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