The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

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

another major political intervention--or, perhaps, in conjunction with it--appears to be "protection" of the development of the national patrimony. Hence, the formal maintenance of the unrestricted development pattern that has persisted in the Amazon region promises to continue to be dominated by "the military bureaucracy and its special cadres,"111 and key aspects of the military dictatorship may continue to persist there. Moreover, these nationalistic and authoritarian activities will likely be used to reinforce wider claims of a broad-based military mission.112

If the democratization process in Brazil is unable to challenge the size and assumed missions of the Brazilian military, if it remains unable to deal rationally and effectively with a huge, expensive, and politically interventionist organization, then this failure will represent a severe blow to the future economic and political well-being of the country. An observer in the early part of this century noted, "The army has its vast and elevated field of action and, if it is kept there independent, surrounded by great respect and prestige, it will be a guarantee of peace and order; if it camps, however, on the ground of negotiations and civil posts, we will have in it the ferment of disorder, the dangerous element of reaction, and of revolt."113

Are military organizations immortal? In a situation in which there is little objective rationale for a massive military organization, relatively low popular support, and virtually no resources to support it, its organizational future ultimately becomes a measure of democracy.


NOTES
1.
Herbert Kaufman provided the stimulus for this question with his classic study of American bureaucracy, Are Government Organizations Immortal? ( Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1976).
2.
The cry at the time was "o petróleo é nosso" ("the oil is ours").
3.
Latin American Weekly Report, 10 December 1992, pp. 6-7.
4.
Latin American Regional Reports--Brazil, 9 July 1992, p. 8.
5.
Caio Prado Jr., The Colonial Background of Modern Brazil, trans. Suzette Macedo ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967), pp. 361-62.
6.
June Hahner argues this point, while setting the date of military interference in government in the 1860s. Hahner, Civil-Military Relations in Brazil, 1889-1898 ( Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1969), p. 1. There was at least some intensification of military tensions after the declaration of independence by Pedro I; and, according to Barroso, for about three years afterward the Brazilian military uniforms bore a green-and-yellow emblem that read, "Independence or Death." Gustavo Barroso, História Militar do Brazil ( São Paulo: Companhia Editôra Nacional, 1935), p. 37.
7.
Jordan M. Young, The Brazilian Revolution of 1930 and the Aftermath ( New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1967), p. 10. Young contends that the role of poder moderador "is key to the whole structure of Brazilian political life from 1824 to 1889."
8.
Robert A. Hayes describes moderating power in the following terms: "the elite,

-34-

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