The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

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

NIGERIA

Karl P. Magyar

In his discussion of Africa's civil-military pendulum, Professor Ali Mazrui raises the central issues of contention when examining the sensitive problem of the military's role in African society. He identifies in stark terms the tendency of civilian-led governments to offer greater freedom but to lose control over the economic resources of the state, while military governments impose greater discipline but at the price of political liberties. This characterizes Nigeria's history since independence and also Ghana's, of whose civilian-led Limann administration Mazrui observes, "the people of Ghana seemed to be more angered by the economic sins of the Administration than pleased by the political virtues of an open society."19

An examination of Africa's civilian-military interplay cannot avoid these issues. Are civilian regimes generally corrupt and incompetent? Are military regimes more honest and efficient, but also politically more authoritarian? Have one-party states offered the greatest opportunity for socioeconomic advancement? And do the masses of Africans prefer governmental economic integrity and their own advancement to the more abstract symbols of political democracy?

The answers to these questions should inform the debate about the virtues of civilian versus military regimes, and it may also highlight the importance of the analytic perspective. Do Western academic and policy analysts sufficiently appreciate the preferences of those most directly affected by the consequences of policies in Africa? Should the prevailing Western democratic paradigm be justifiably assumed to be the appropriate universal panacea for the Third World's ills? In a brief projection of South Africa's political future under a majority government I raised the question: Will South Africa's blacks ultimately judge their liberation by the attainment of abstract political symbols or by their visible economic advancement?

The implications of these questions for the external community are profound, as their recent energies have been channeled towards encouraging Africans to

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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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