Burma is a resource-rich, naturally beautiful, and culturally significant country. Its potential for growth and prosperity is tremendous. Yet Burma can never reach its potential until the military regime negotiates with the opposition and transfers power to the elected representatives of the people. The regime, however, has been trying to eradicate the opposition. Most international observers agree that the government must end human rights violations, release political prisoners, establish sound monetary policies , increase the tax base and revenue, enhance the infrastructure, and further liberalize the public sector if the country has any hopes of taking its place in international commerce. Despite announcing plans for such improvements, however, the ruling SPDC seems most concerned with retaining its grip on power through violence and intimidation of internal opposition and disengagement with the international community. In the absence of a change in this program, economic stagnation, poverty, disease, and illiteracy will remain Burma's most notable features.