Gen. Than Shwe, the man who ran Myanmar (Burma) until last year, may have had his eye on history when he handed over power. Traditionally, Myanmar's military dictators who handed over power to the successive dictator have soon found themselves in jail or under house arrest and their relatives stripped of the wealth they had accumulated.
By paving the way to a nominally civilian government, Than Shwe made sure that power is no longer wielded by one man who would be strong enough to turn on him. Instead, power in Myanmar today is diffused among the military, different factions of the government, and an increasingly active and demanding parliament.
Than Shwe is now quietly in the background, presumably enjoying the material fruits he gathered while he ran Burma and decided who should be granted lucrative business deals in the resource-rich country.