The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

By Constantine P. Danopoulos; Cynthia Watson | Go to book overview

BRAZIL

Daniel Zirker

Are military organizations immortal?1 Such immortality tends to be an unchallenged assumption in the political life of Latin America, and civil-military relations are deeply conditioned by it. Indeed, the rare occasions of mortality of military organizations in the region have by themselves defined some of its most profound political moments. Four events in Latin American political history-- the Mexican revolution, the Bolivian revolution of 1952, the Cuban revolution, and the Nicaraguan revolution--are referred to as revolutions in large measure because of the destruction in each case of the previously existing military organization. Only Costa Rica, with its qualified success in constitutionally abolishing its armed forces, was able to unravel the complex web of civil-military relations with limited social and political trauma. As articulate, focused, trained, and powerful institutions, military establishments tend to survive and prosper even when their missions are most tenuous; they aggressively seek out--and find--ways to support their expensive existence.

The Brazilian military has long struggled to balance its self-defined and often contradictory domestic political missions of fostering national development and guaranteeing national political stability, while suffering institutionally from what might be termed a conventional-mission deficiency: the traditionally faint need to defend the nation against enemies, "foreign or domestic."

Ever since a military coup toppled the Brazilian Empire in 1889, domestic politics have preoccupied the military officer corps. Bluntly put, military involvement in domestic politics has been the most likely forum for revealing the "emperor's new clothes," that is, the transparency of the Brazilian military mission. Hence, the numerous military interventions have always involved the frustration of military elites with specific policies of civilian governments. A political coup engineered by rebellious junior officers (tenentes) in 1930 brought an end to the "Old Republic" after a right-wing populist politician was denied electoral victory; that same politician was removed from office in 1945 after

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The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Argentina 1
  • Notes 16
  • References 17
  • Brazil 19
  • Notes 34
  • References 41
  • Canada 42
  • Notes 53
  • References 54
  • China 55
  • Notes 67
  • References 70
  • Cuba 71
  • Notes 84
  • References 86
  • Denmark 88
  • Notes 100
  • References 105
  • Egypt 107
  • Notes 118
  • References 121
  • France 122
  • References 141
  • Germany 143
  • Notes 152
  • References 153
  • Greece 154
  • Notes 167
  • References 168
  • India 169
  • Notes 186
  • References 188
  • Indonesia 189
  • Notes 205
  • References 206
  • Iran 207
  • Israel 223
  • Notes 233
  • References 234
  • Japan 235
  • Notes 252
  • References 255
  • Kenya 256
  • Notes 269
  • References 270
  • Mexico 271
  • Notes 281
  • References 282
  • Netherlands 283
  • Notes 295
  • References 297
  • Nigeria 299
  • Notes 320
  • References 322
  • North Korea 323
  • Notes 335
  • References 337
  • Peru 338
  • Notes 355
  • References 360
  • Poland 361
  • Notes 371
  • References 373
  • Republic of South Africa 374
  • Notes 387
  • References 390
  • Russia and the Former Soviet Union 391
  • Notes 401
  • References 403
  • United Kingdom 404
  • Notes 415
  • United States 420
  • Notes 437
  • References 439
  • Zaire 440
  • Notes 456
  • References 458
  • Index 459
  • CONTRIBUTORS 515
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