Saving Burma

Photograph for TIME by Prashant Panjiar / Livewire Images

Cast adrift: Little is left of the submerged Kaw Hmu township, near Rangoon

There is only one major road leading to Naypyidaw. Nearly three years ago, when Burma's new capital was carved out of scrubland, the country's ruling military junta gave no reason for its sudden abandonment of the bustling city of Rangoon. Then, shortly after thousands of civil servants were forced to move to an isolated construction site in the middle of nowhere, a secret government document leaked to local journalists. Junta leader Than Shwe outlined his fears of an invasion by the U.S. and lauded Naypyidaw's superior defensive position compared to the former capital: mountains on one flank, distance from...

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