Inside Man

"Just a couple of years ago, Burma was a global pariah, an outpost of tyranny in the U.S. government's view because of the ruling junta's often murderous disregard for its people. Yet it was members of that paranoid military regime who catalyzed the liberalizations now remaking Burma. For once, political change came not from an angry outpouring on the streets but from the nexus of power. 'We are in the midst of an unprecedented period of transition,' Thein Sein tells TIME, 'from military to democratic government, from armed conflict to peace and from a centralized economy to a new, market-oriented economy.' Any one of those shifts could take decades. Burma is attempting all at the same time."

Time.com Specials

Top 10 Political Prisoners

Following elections earlier in November that were widely seen as a sham, Burma's ruling military junta released Aung San Suu Kyi, the face of the country's...

View All Specials