At the end of a conversation with a Ukrainian official a few months after Russia’s invasion, I asked what her greatest worry was. She replied without hesitation: "That we will be forgotten.”

That will sound only too familiar to the opponents of a brutal regime thousands of kilometers away, in Myanmar. Nearly two years after a coup and increasingly out of global headlines, one of Southeast Asia’s poorest nations has slid into an intractable civil war. By announcing plans for an election later this year — on its own terms, of course — the military is gambling it can project just enough legitimacy to ease outside pressure. The wider region and the West must crank it up instead.

Myanmar’s troubles didn’t start on Feb. 1, 2021, when Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing grabbed power — just before a newly elected parliament was due to be sworn in — but they certainly multiplied. A period of stuttering democracy came to an end when the junta disputed, then annulled, the election that had produced a landslide victory for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. It prompted a surge of resistance and repression, as the armed forces clawed back what little ground they ceded when military rule was relaxed a decade earlier.