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Economic, Ideological, Cultural and International Variables
There is no ideal form of government and no one would claim Western liberal democracy to be an ideal solution either; but it is the best among the many other forms of government with which man has experimented in the course of the history. With its checks and balances, it largely prevents the misuse of power by individuals and groups of people. 1 The prevailing literature on civil military relations and the process of democratization considers the reduction of institutional and political power of the military within a state to be a central requirement in the establishment and maintenance of democracy. Democratic theory does not admit the possibility that any group possesses greater legitimacy than the will of the people, democratically determined through free and inclusive elections and tempered by the interplay of constitutionally established institutions. 2 Developed countries, with a few exceptions have been able to maintain civilian control over military, a system that places ultimate responsibility for a country’s strategic decision making in the hands of civilian political elites. In encouraging democratization, the United States and other western powers use civilian control of the military as the most important measure of progress toward democratic process. Democratic civilian control requires the national security decisions will be made by constitutionally authorized and politically responsible civilian officials, and that the means of executing or supporting these policies will
*∗Research Fellow, Department of Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar (Punjab).
also be under the control of politically responsible civilian officials. 3 It is the attempt of societies to find a solution to an old paradox: we create violent institutions (or devices) to protect us from that which we fear, but that being accomplished; we then fear the created institution itself because of its capacity for violence 4 . Most of the basic theoretical propositions on civil-military relations are based on the experiences of these developed western societies. However many third world states have failed to sustain democratic civil-military elite relationship for long periods. Even in the developed societies, when we talk of civilian control of military, it does not necessarily mean a situation where the military elites are not a player in the political arena and have no influence in decision making process. To the contrary, modern military organizations are well organized, politically and socially conscious entitles capable and willing to be the significant players in the politics, like all other major groups. The extent of civilian control lies in the methods and means employed by the armed forces to prompt their views, and the degree to which military elites are willing to accept and implement the final decisions of civilian authorities. 5 The diverse causes, forms and consequences of military participation in politics suggest as we are not examining a single phenomenon. This insight has led to numerous efforts to classify the summary variables which are determinant to the nature and kind of civilian control in a state. Huntington 6 argues that the civilian control can be achieved through professionalism. Whereas Janowitz 7 , the other classical thinker, emphasizes on societal control rather than professionalism. Eric. A Nordlinger 8 believes that the
autonomy to military in the sphere of its corporate interests is most important summary variable of democratic civil-military relations. Other scholars have also suggested various summary variables of civil-military relations. However, most of these variables are endogenous variables which tend to associate intervention with processes and perceptions that take place within the armed forces and to argue that the military itself develops features that determine interventionist behaviour. In qualitative terms, most important are the exogenous (external or environmental) variables that focus on forces and process outside the military which are responsible for the nature of civil-military relations. Military interventions are seen as the consequence of societal and structural processes in which the armed forces play only a minor role. Some of the important such variables are economic variables, ideological/religious variables, cultural variables and institutional variables. For better understanding of the causes of military intervention in politics, we need to study these summary variables or determinants of civil-military relationship also.
Economic perspective towards civil and military elite relations got new momentum in the Post World War II political science in the hands of many, but most importantly, Seymour Martin Lipset. He believes, “The more well to do a nation, the greater the chances that it will sustain democracy.” 9 In his analysis, industrialization and economic development increase wealth, equality, communication and education. In an economically developed society, there emerges ‘diamond’- shaped social structure with a large middle class which being moderate by nature induces tolerance. Since politics in these societies is not zero-sum game, the elites are not
afraid of losing privileges even if they are voted out of office for a few years. This in turn leads to the formation of a stable democratic competitive system and civilian supremacy over military. 10 Lipset discusses a broad category of economic
development as determinants of democratic civil-military relations, including indices of wealth (per capita income), of urbanization and of industrialization. The key element of his hypothesis is that richer countries are more willing to promote democratic values and receptivity to democratic political tolerance norms. 11 Lipset’s thesis spawned a host of cross-national studies that confirmed the existence of a strong positive correlation between indicators of level of economic developed and level of democracy. Most analysis of civil-military relations agree that severe economic dislocations cause legitimacy deflation and may facilitate interventionism. One of the most robust findings of 20 years of democratization studies is that there is a very strong correlation between gross national product (GNP) per capita and the vitality of electoral democracy. The magic number seems to lie somewhere in the range of $4,500 to $5,500. Statistical analysis suggests that above $5,500 we would expect a country to be democratic, below $4,500 we would expect it not to be. In between is a gray zone where individual countries go either way. Of course, there are some democratic "overachievers"—countries that are poorer, but still democratic, such as India or Botswana—and some democratic "underachievers"—countries that are richer, but still autocratic, such as Tunisia. Overall, however, the relationship holds because higher income levels are generally associated with higher literacy levels, a larger middle class, and more economic "give" to grease the wheels of toleration and compromise—all factors that are conducive to the health of a democracy. 12 Hasan Askari Rijvi argues that, persistent economic crisis, deteriorating
economic conditions, administration, wide spread violence and insecurity contribute to the erosion of civilian political institutions and processes. When large sections of the politically active populance questions the moral right of civilian government to rule and the government faces the problem of political efficacy, it is vulnerable to manipulation and domination by military. 13 Samuel P. Huntington is not in favour of this approach. He argues that economic development can even lead to political instability as it increases political mobilization and participation by new social forces. However, some times, new political institutions do not emerge to cope with new demands resulting into political instability. 14 Hence, this approach is not complete in itself and practical examples have proved that states with higher economic development can face praetorianism and comparatively less developed states can enjoy democratic civil-military relationship. However, a country’s economic health often determines its
government’s ability to meet corporate military interests, although this is not absolute and the issue of corporate interests is generally related to civilian government’s methods and means to control military.
The role of ideology, which is often based on religious doctrines, can act as an important determinant of the nature and kind of civil - military relationship in a state. Irrespective of all the scientific and technical developments and so called modern outlook of today’s generation, religion still occupies supreme place in common man’s life. We still have absolute faith in each and every word written in our religious epics. That is the reason, why the religion has always been instrumental
in determination of the pattern of civil-military relationship in any state. Liberal values of Hinduism and Protestantism have been instrumental in the establishment of democracy with civilian dominance in the states like India, the US or the UK. Historically there has been a strong correlation between western Christianity and democracy. By the early 1970, most of the protestant states in the world had already become democratic. 15 Whereas extreme opposite can be said about Islam and up to some extent about Catholicism. One interesting similarity among most of the Muslim states in the world is that inspite of a wide variety and heterogeneity in terms of language, food, dress etc. they are either ruled by military men or by strong men supported by the military. Military is the great reality in the Muslim states and civilian government have existed either with the support of the military or may be if it is indifferent or neutral but never in opposition to it. 16 Turkey is the exceptional case and has sustained democratic civil-military relations for a long period of time. Prominent scholars in the field often describe Islam as a uniform and unyielding force that is determinant to the development of democratic civil-military relations. Fukuyama writes, “It is true that Islam constitutes a systematic and coherent ideology, just like liberalism and communism, with its own code of morality and doctrine of political and social justice……and Islam has indeed defeated liberal democracy in many parts of the Islamic world, pausing a grave threat to liberal practices even in the states where it has not achieved political power directly. 17 Likewise, pointing to the fact that Muslim nations have been absent from the third wave of democratization, Lipset notes similarities of Islam and Marxism
and states that political freedom is a concept unknown to the religion, making the growth of democracy in the Islamic countries in the near future highly unlikely. 18 In a book entitled ''From Jinnah to Zia,'' which was highly critical of the Islamisation policies of President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq in Pakistan, Justice Munir wrote: ''If you subordinate the acquisition of knowledge to any ideology - political, economic or religious - you reduce the field of knowledge to what the ideology teaches you because the ideology has to run through a groove, or a defined channel and does not let you out of it.” 19 Islam rejects any distinction between civilian and military spheres and combines the role of the political, religious and military leader in same person. By invoking the percepts of Islam the ruler can justify his actions and declare unsanctified any acts that may threaten his supremacy. Islam is characterized by a spirit of collectivism rather than individualism so vital to the development of liberal democracy in third world. The Islamic concepts of shura (consultation), Ijma (consensus), and ijtihad (informed independent judgment) seem to be compatible with democratic concepts and ideals. 20 However, the few Muslim states that have attempted to copy the west have not produced stable modern democracies but rather torn countries that are unsure of their cultural identities. Although Catholicism is also seen as similar to Islam in many ways but sometimes it has waked even in favour of civilian supremacy. As it was in the case of Latin America, where Catholic Church known for its fundamentalism led the struggle for democracy against authoritarian regimes and also laid the foundation of civilian led governments in those states.
The relationship between democracy and cultural factors has been in political science since Lipset. He refers to education predicting that a better educated population entails better chances for democracy and democratic practices. The positive relationship may be because education may teach individuals towards having a higher value of staying politically involved. 21 However, it is the political culture of a state and its society which really matters. Political culture comprises “a people’s predominant beliefs, attitudes, values, ideals, sentiments and evaluations abut the political system of its country, and the role of self in that system. 22 The Man or Horseback by Samuel E. Finer best represents the cultural explanation for military intervention. Finer categories societies according to their political culture by evaluating their structure of government and respect for the rule of law. He found that in societies, where this respect was low or minimal, there was a greater likelihood for military interference and intervention in politics. Thus citizen support for liberal democratic values represents the most important explanatory factor behind a military intervention. The higher the respect for the rule of law, the lower the likelihood of a military coup. 23 Finer argues that national political cultures can be assessed and ranked in levels, according to following criteria: 24 • Does there exist a wide public approval of the procedure for transferring (political) power, and a corresponding belief that no exercise of power in breach of these procedures is legitimate? • Does there exist a wide public recognition as to who or what constitutes the
sovereign authority, and a corresponding belief that no other person or centre of power is legitimate or duty worthy? • Is the public proportionally large and well mobilized into private associates? Do we find cohesive churches, industrial associations, and political parties (that are capable of acting independently of the state? The higher a nation ranks on the first two criteria, the more likely it is that a military coup would be seen as illegitimate. The higher a nation ranks on the third criteriathat is presence of civil society-the more society can mobilize itself in defense of the legitimate holders of power. 25 Different types of political cultures enjoy different kinds of civil-military relations. In a liberal political culture, government exists for the welfare of people and military is always subordinated to the will of the people and so to the civilian government. However, in a closed ‘Political Culture,’ the objective of the government is generally to maintain its supremacy. Military elites enjoy more influence and the likelihood of military intervention in politics is higher. Although, some scholars believe that democratic civil-military relations are responsible for liberal political culture and not the vice versa, still most believe in effectiveness of this approach.
Factors or developments beyond the borders of a nation state can also contribute either to military intervention or to the maintenance of civilian control. Great powers….citing ideological, geographic and other vital interests….have intervened (directly or indirectly) in the affairs of smaller states to prop up
unpopular regimes, help suppress popular revolutions, or bring down “undesirable government.” History is replete with examples of such interventions. Guatemala, the Dominion Republic, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Hungry and many more countries have experienced foreign intervention in domestic politics since World War II. It is questionable whether dynastic rule would have survived in Jordon, Saudi Arabia and Morocco without Western support and equally doubtful that
democratization in Eastern Europe would have taken place without Moscow’s consent. 26 Underdeveloped or developing countries of third World are generally dependent on developed Western states for either economic or geo-political reasons. These developed states, while giving different kinds of donation to poor states take care that administration in that country works according to their will. Generally developed states are in favour of democratic civil and military elite relationship but in some cases they favour military regimes taking care of their own national interest .The US is providing continuous military and economic aid to Pakistan because it does not want any economic crisis there as extremist forces are likely to play major role in such a crisis situation. Military regime is also ready to provide logistic support which is very important for the US due to Pakistan’s geographical situation surrounding Afghanistan. Many political thinkers believe that foreign military assistance increases the likelihood of military intervention in recipient countries. As Rijvi writes, “During the cold War era, the two superpowers propped up many military regimes if the latter were prepared to identify with the former’s strategic interests. With the end of
superpower rivalry and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, military and authoritarian regimes are under a lot of international pressure to liberalize and democratize. Growing economic deregulation, international trade and investment, and economic dependence especially the expanding role of the financial institutions all make the developing countries vulnerable to external influences and
penetration. 27 Correlation between dependency and democratic civil-military relations is now continuously shifting from negative to positive. External forces are being more and more responsible for pressurizing developing states for democratization. Military intervention of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan for geopolitical and economic reasons is primarily responsible for establishment of civilian dominated regimes in these states. Harold Lasswell suggested that high level of external threat creates a “Garrison state” where the willingness and ability of the military to intervene in politics, as well as the popular acceptability of such actions is very high. 28 However, modern thinkers on the civil-military relations think quite opposite to it. General belief among them is that external threat diverts military’s whole attention to border and it is only the internal threats which prompt military to intervene in politics. Stanislav Andreski has argued that an increasing external threat should improve civilian control of military. “the devil finds work for idle hands’: the soldiers who have no wars to fight or prepare for will be tempted to interfere in politics.” 29 There are many other determinants of the nature and type of civil-military relations, like colonial legacy approach which suggests that the states with British or
American colonial heritage are more likely to maintain democratic civil-military relations. However, this summary variable also, like all other variables cannot be relied upon in all the circumstances and states. There is more than one reason for establishment of certain type of civil-military relationship. Modern analysts have provided some unified theories that suggest summary variables of civil-military relations. Douglas Bland’s theory is one of the most important one. Douglas Bland suggested that there were four problems of democratic civilmilitary relations. The first is the problem of praetorianism, or military coups. The second problem is that of effective management of the military by civilian leadership. The third problem according to Bland is of protecting the military from the civilian politicians who want to use it for their partisan interests and fourth problem is of the lack of ability and experience in the ministers who have the responsibility to manage military. Bland also gives the ways to control the armed forces. He believes that, this can be achieved through, “sharing of responsibility for control between civilian leaders and military officers”. Specifically, civil authorities are responsible and accountable for some aspects of control and military officers are responsible and accountable for others. 30 Roy Macridis and Steven Burg 31 offer the following circumstances under which military may intervene. Crisis: When there is a breakdown process of community life in a locality, region or the whole nation on account of an earthquake, civil disobedience, famine, or a threat of an enemy attack. Conflict over the distribution of goods: The army as a corporate entity is entitled
to privileges, rewards and special attention. When it is deprived of these, it quickly develops a disposition to intervene. Counter revolution: The military intervenes to protect the existing social and economic status quo. Military Heroics: In times of War or its aftermath, the adoration heaped upon a victorious military hero increases the temptation for him or his associates to intervene and establish a military rule. All the summary variables given above provide various methods by which civil-military reforms can be initiated in newly dependent states where military elites are dominant partners in government. However, there are no commonly accepted standards by which to evaluate civilian control. In brief, the rule of law, civil liberty or stable methods for peaceful succession in power, workable practices for electing officials and a government and governing process that are legitimate in the eyes of both key elites and the general public are the main indicators of civil-military reforms and signs of civilian control over decision making process in a country. The integrated ministry of defense is a crucial locus of civilian control. One of the major obstacles in democratization of civil and military elite relations is the negative role of the ruling elites in a state. Civil-military reforms cannot be affected if elites in power do not want it to happen for. Central European elites were more open to reforming their civil-military relations in democratic shape than were the elites in the former Soviet Union. In the states like Pakistan and Myanmar we do not generally see ruling elites making strong attempt towards democratization of civil-military relations.
1 2 3
Walter Holzhausen, Vision Creates Hope ( Dhaka: University Press Limited,1986),p.1 John Samuel Fitch, The Armed Forces and Democracy in Latin America (Baltimore, Maryland: John Hopkins University Press,1998),p.36 William Leyds Jesse, The New Military Professionalism: Changing Conception of Military Profession in the Post War Period(Riverside, CA: University of California Press,1973), p.8
4 1998 5
Edward R Taylor, Command in the 21st Century: A Introduction to Civil Military Relations (A thesis Submitted To Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California) June Constantine P. Danopoulos, ‘Civilian Supremacy in Changing Societies: Comparative Perspectives’, Danopoulos Ed; Civilian Rule in the Developing World: Democracy on March (Boulder: West view Press, 1992), p. 3.
6 7 8 9 p. 75. 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State (London: Harvard University Press, 7th edition, 1981) Morris Janowitz, The Professional Soldier, a Social and Political Portrait ( Glencoe: Free Press,1960) Eric A. Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Governments (NJ: Prentice Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, 1971) Seymour Martin Lipset, ‘Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy, American Political Science Review, Vol. 53, (1959), Ibid Ibid, Cited in N.Fiorino, R.Ricciuti, Determinants of Direct Democracy, ICEK Working Paper No. 23/2007. Eva Bellin, Bringing Iraq Back: Doubts about Democracy, Harvard Magazine, JulyAugust 2003 Hasan Askari Rizvi, Military, State and Society in Pakistan (UK: Macmillan, 2000), p. 53. K.L.Kamal, Pakistan: The Garrison State (New Delhi: Intellectual Publishing House, 1982), p. 9. Ibid, p. 7 Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Lost Man (New York: The Free Press, 1992), pp. 45-46.
18 19 20 Press, 1996) 21 22
Seymour Martin Lipset, ‘The Social Requisites of Democracy Revisited’, American Sociological Review, Vol. 59, 1994, p. 6. Cited in Michael T Koffman, Pakistan has a Conflict between Science and Islam, New York Times 13 September 2008 Esposito and Voll, The Study of Political Islam (U.K.: Oxford University Seymour M. Lipset, n. 56, p. 79. Larry Diamond, Introduction: Political Culture and Democracy in Larry Diamond Ed, Political Culture and Democracy in Developing Countries (Boulder: Lyme Rienner, 1994), pp. 7-8.
23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Ibid,p78
Samuel.E.Finer, The Man On Horseback: The Role of Military In Politics (Harmondosworth:Penguin,1978)p.54 J. S. Fitch, The Armed Forces and Democracy in Latin America(Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press,1998 ) pp120-140 Hasan Askari Rijvi , n.13, p.79 Harlod D. Lasswell, ‘The Garrison State’, The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 46. (1941), p. 461. Andreski, Stanislav, Military Organization and Society( Berkely, CA: University of California Press,1968)p.202 Douglas Bland, “A Unified Theory of Civil Military Relations”, Armed Forces and Society, Vol. 26, No. 1, (Fall, 1999), pp. 7-26, as cited in David J. Betz, n. 19, p.74 Roy Macridis and Steven berg , Introduction to Comparative Politics ( New York : Harper Collins, 1991) p.34
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