The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

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

in which the services had to adapt their structure and/or culture as a consequence of societal developments. That might say something about a rather conservative state of mind typical of those who are attracted to the military profession. Unfortunately, in the Netherlands no research on this subject was done, and therefore one can only speculate about this theme. The introduction of the AVF both implies a certain risk and at the same time offers new opportunities. The risk is that this new professional organization might lean more heavily on typical military traditions and the characteristic military culture. That might endanger the social integration of the armed forces, because important groups in society, like women and ethnic minorities, are not likely to consider a military career. On the other hand, because of, for example, a decreasing birthrate in the Netherlands, the services are in no position to neglect these groups and probably will need them desperately to fill the ranks. In that way, the forthcoming AVF might become a better representation of Dutch society than were the old conscriptionbased armed forces.

Such a representation will surely help to preserve the stable civil-military relationship characteristic of the Netherlands in the beginning of the 1990s. That stability is reflected in the latest opinion poll,46 in which a remarkable 74% of the population endorsed the necessity of the armed forces. Remarkable, because a direct and serious military threat to the Netherlands no longer exists. This high figure can be explained by looking at the broad political and societal appraisal of the new missions of the armed forces, namely, peacekeeping and peace enforcing in a United Nations context. Dutch participation in these operations is endorsed by all political parties and by 72% of the population, while merely 8% disagree. Of course, these figures should be looked upon with care because they can easily be influenced, for instance, when it becomes clear that these peacekeeping operations are not so successful as expected and hoped for. On the other hand, seldom has there been a moment in Dutch history in which the consensus about the necessity and the form of the armed forces and about the missions that they should fulfill was as broad as nowadays. Nothing lasts forever, but this consensus offers a good indication of the present degree of the social and political integration of the Dutch armed forces. Furthermore, it shows that the basic elements to preserve this situation into the twenty-first century are there. It is now up to the politicians and the military to determine how best to proceed.


NOTES
1.
See, for instance, J. W. L. Brouwer, "Politiek-militaire verhoudingen aan het begin van de Koude Oorlog: Rond het ontslag ban generaal H. J. Kruls, januari 1951", in J. Hoffenaar and G. Teitler, De Koude Oorlog ( The Hague: SDU, 1992).
2.
Quoted in J. Hoffenaar, and G. Teiter, eds., De Koude Oorlong: Maatschappij en krijgsmacht in de jaren '50 (The cold war: Armed forces and society in the 1950s) ( The Hague: SDU, 1992), p. 69. See also Handelingen Tweede Kamer 1950-1951 (Proceedings of the House of Commons of the States General 1950-1951), p. 1141.

-295-

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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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