Since Myanmar’s military leaders seized power in a bloody coup more than eighteen years ago, the international community has tried to restore democracy to the country through a combination of dialogue, engagement, goading and sanctions. Asia (largely China, India and ASEAN), the West (Europe and the US) and the UN have all taken key roles in this process of either encouraging or putting pressure on Myanmar to reform. But the main problem has always been the major disagreement between those who favour sanctions and those who believe the only way to encourage change, is to engage the regime rather than isolate them. This paper takes a look at these efforts in order to reflect upon the broader question of possible limits to external engagement. In conclusion, several policy options are put forward.