The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

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

MEXICO

Roderic Camp

An analysis of the political role of the military in Mexico is valuable for what it reveals about the military's withdrawal from politics and about the maintenance of civilian supremacy over the military. The qualities that characterize the military's role in Mexican society have evolved from its historical experience, from institutional patterns ingrained within the military, from structural characteristics of the political system, and from linkages between the military and civilian leadership.

Civil-military relations are necessarily founded on the historical context. Two essential variables emerge from the historical experience of a society as it relates to the military's self-image and role. First, military officers are a product of that larger society, and the values and attitudes that govern society are embedded in their formation, too. Likewise, the civilian population's view of the military and its peripheral roles stems in part from perceptions of its historic role. Second, the historic role of the military and its involvement in internal political affairs determined civil-military patterns, creating structural relationships affecting institutional behavior.

When Mexico became independent from Spain in the 1820s, independence brought with it a political vacuum. Various groups who had received privileges under the Spanish crown in New Spain sought to maintain their favored status. Among these groups, the military played a prominent role. Mexico's political development floundered throughout the nineteenth century because of a lack of consensus about what type of political model was most appropriate to Mexico; what role various interests, such as the Catholic Church or military, should play in their society; what strategies should be fostered to promote economic development; and which social groups should govern.

The descendants of the colonial militia, the basis of the army in early nineteenth-century Mexico, quickly exercised political power, either directly or in association with civilian leaders. Mexico's political weakness prompted external

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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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