Civil-Military Relations Civil Military Relations Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

However in those days, the progress was even slower and there was deeper concern about the possibility of complete transition. Samuel Huntington's path-breaking book, Political Order in Changing Societies (1968) has been by far the most well received and comprehensive book on the subject of civilian military relations. Huntington studied the conditions in Latin America and found that in underdeveloped countries, militaries were usually more powerful because society cannot access the government and hence support military's interference. Middle classes then "compel the military to oppose the government" and restore the status quo ante. Military may be powerful but Huntington felt that it was the organizational structure that can be blamed for coups but instead the social structure and thus "Military explanations do not explain military intervention," he argued.

By the end of the 1970s, even more literature appeared on the scene to explain civil military relations and to study the causes in coup in Latin America and other smaller nations. For most part of this decade, military was comfortably sitting in power and scholars began studying the reasons why this transition had taken place. Instead of focusing on the inner workings of the new regimes, scholars were more concerned with the causes of their installation. As Karen Remmer writes: "Scholars moved from the study of democratic breakdowns to the study of democratic transitions without pausing to analyze the authoritarian phase that came in between." Few comparative studies ever provided so much as a glimpse of the inner structure or workings of these regimes, focusing instead on societal factors that caused their installation.

A big mistake was made when scholars started studying the conditions at the time of the coup. This was a blunder because "the forces that shape authoritarian rule are not fixed at the time of regime emergence.." It is important to understand that coups are a result of many shifts in the society's thinking and it's not just a result of what was happening of the day the coup took place.

Military regime has never been really successful in any country. Their entrance is usually sudden and their exit is equally hasty. In countries like Pakistan, the transition and its problems can be clearly seen. In 1999, the democratically elected government of Nawaz Sharif was suddenly overthrown in one quick sweeping move by then Chief of Army staff Pervaiz Musharraf. In the eight years that followed, Musharraf's government was more involved in terrorism control than actually strengthening the roots of country's economy. Even though it was claimed that economy had gained strength, the common man continued to suffer from increasing prices and hyper inflation.

As the result of this, the public became increasingly agitated and Musharraf became a highly unpopular figure in the country. And finally resigned in 2008 under immense pressure from the newly elected government and the public. Mar'a Susana Ricci and J. Samuel Fitch are right when they say, "military government is a contradiction in terms; the armed forces cannot govern without subverting their own essence."Realizing the mistakes they have made, they try to exit hastily as not to do any more damage to the country. This cannot be said of Pakistan though where the transition has been going on and off for decades. The weaknesses of other institutions have given even greater strength to the army which is probably the best and most well organized institution in the country.

All in all, Military civilian relations are controversial and complicated. The very public that would hail the entrance of military during crisis would want to get rid of it once peace is restored. Democracy is always the more desired of the two but in underdeveloped countries, there has been an increased trend of dependency on the army during the times when democracy seems to be failing.

Glen Segell, Civil-Military Relations after the Nation-State (London: GMS, 2000), p. 1.

Samuel Finer, the Man on Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics, 2nd Edition, Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1976, p. 4. 3rd Edition, Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988.

Sun Tzu (Thomas Cleary trans.), the Art of War, Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, 1998, p. 78.

Niccolo Machiavelli (W.K. Marriott trans.), the Prince, London: E.P. Dutton and Co., 1920, p. 97.

Carl von Clausewitz, on War, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1968, p. 402.

Finer, the Man on Horseback, pp. 22-23.

Alfred Stepan, Rethinking Military Politics: Brazil and the Southern Cone, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Publishers, 1988, p. 3.

Stepan, p. 3

McAlister, "Recent Research and Writings on the Role of the Military in Latin America," 5.

Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies, 213, 194.

Remmer, Military Rule in Latin America, 24.


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