On Monday, the Army of Myanmar decided to remove the national government from office.
The moves came as a response to the outcome of the elections which the heads of the military described as fraudulent.
The main figures in the government, President of Myanmar Win Myint and the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, were both removed, along with many other government members from the National League of Democracy (NLD), a political party that has ruled in Myanmar until Monday.
Aung San Suu Kyi has even been put in prison in a move that provoked widespread denouncement across the world.
Biden’s strong and fast response
According to military chiefs, the government led by the military is intended to be in office for one year for the “emergency purpose”.
Yet, many fear that the new government will reverse the democratic process that has started in Myanmar when San Suu Kyi became the head of the government in 2016.
The events in Myanmar caused the newly elected U.S. President Joe Biden to warn military heads in Myanmar that his administration would impose sanctions against them if they refuse to cede power to the ousted government.
Biden characterized the coup as a strike against the democratic transition of Myanmar and the rule of law in the country.
He also promised that everyone responsible for the coup will be adequately penalized.
If the new U.S. administration decides to sanction the new government in Myanmar, it would not be the first time it did so.
Some twenty-five years ago, the U.S. started imposing sanctions against Myanmar, which culminated with the 2003 Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act (BFDA) which involved the ban on all imports from Myanmar, the ban on the export of financial services to Myanmar, restrictions of the access to certain assets of Myanmarese financial institutions, and additional restrictions to visa opportunities for Myanmarese officials.
The relations between the two countries have started getting back to normal during the Obama Administration.
Yet, experts believe that the sanctions against Myanmarese military leaders might have little effect on them as they most likely do not have any intentions of traveling to the U.S. or doing any America-related businesses.
Regardless of that, Biden stays firm in his statement that the U.S. will work together with its global partners to ensure that democracy is restored in Myanmar.
To achieve this aim, his administration will have to find adequate measures to block the actions of the military government in Myanmar.
One thing is clear: the case of Myanmar will present the first major international challenge for the newly elected U.S. administration.