A political crisis in Myanmar “constitutes a military coup d’etat,” according to a new analysis from Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s team.

“After a careful review of the facts and circumstances, we have assessed that Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma's ruling party, and Win Myint, the duly elected head of government, were deposed in a military coup on Feb. 1,” a senior State Department official told reporters Tuesday. “We continue to call on the Burmese military leadership to release them — and all other detained civil society and political leaders — immediately and unconditionally.”

That judgment will trigger a reduction in American foreign aid for Myanmar, where U.S. and European officials had hoped to support steady progress toward a functioning democracy, and raises the likelihood of renewed sanctions on the regime. The finding comes just days after a mass roundup of pro-democracy activists and civilian leaders orchestrated by military officials.

“We will take action against those responsible, including through a careful review of our current sanctions posture, as it relates to Burma's military leaders and companies associated with them,” the senior State Department official said. “Most importantly, we will continue to stand with the people of Burma.”

The military’s consolidation of power casts another pall over the chances of political reform in a country riven by ethnic antagonism. The now-detained state counselor Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate, was once seen as the great hope of Burmese democracy and human rights, but her refusal to condemn the military’s “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims dimmed the admiration she had earned around the world.

“This isn't about Aung San Suu Kyi,” said Gregory Poling, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an expert on politics and security issues in Southeast Asia. “There’s 55 million other people in Myanmar who had to wake up [yesterday] morning suddenly living in a military dictatorship. So Aung San Suu Kyi's complicity in ethnic cleansing ... should not detract from the fact that this is still a tragedy.”

Some U.S. leaders and analysts regard China, Myanmar’s powerful autocratic neighbor, as no better than indifferent to the crisis.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s state news organ dismissively called the events in Burma a ‘major Cabinet reshuffle,’” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday morning on the Senate floor. "This is a military coup and an attack on democracy, plain and simple. There are two paths before Burma. It can continue to grow into a modern, democratic country, connected to the global economy … or remain a corrupt, impoverished authoritarian backwater in the shadow of the People’s Republic of China.”

It’s far from clear that U.S. officials have the leverage needed to reverse the military seizure of power. Some of the coup plotters already have been sanctioned for their involvement in the brutality against the Rohingya Muslims, to no avail.

“Our cooperation with the Burmese military has been extremely limited to virtually nonexistent,” a senior State Department official said, citing an array of “existing sanctions” on the offending forces. “We have very little to no direct contact or work with the Burmese military.”

McConnell wants U.S. and allied officials to try to develop an effective counter nonetheless.

“The people of Burma have said which they prefer," he said. "They’ve spoken at the ballot box. The threat of force must not be allowed to silence their choice.