The Man on Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics

By S. E. Finer | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER ELEVEN
The Results of Intervention - The Military Régimes

LITTLE effort has been made to distinguish between various classes of military régimes. The problem is certainly a difficult one. To begin with not all régimes of military provenance are military régimes, although in practice most of them, in fact, are. A régime of military provenance is any régime that has owed its establishment to some military intervention. The Vth French Republic is certainly a régime of military provenance, but it is not a military régime. The Second Empire of Napoleon III was a régime of military provenance, but not a military régime, and likewise the Turkish Republic until 1960, and the Mexican Republic today. For a régime to be a 'military régime', there must be evidence that the government is in the hands of the armed forces or that it acts entirely or predominantly at their command.

Again, even among the military régimes themselves, there are clearly quite different types. For instance, The Times correspondent felt able ( November 28, 1956) to describe Syria under Colonel Serraj as a concealed 'military dictatorship'. Now if this were indeed so, it was obviously not the same kind of dictatorship as Colonel Nasser's, or General Franco's, or Field-Marshal Sarit's.

However, there are certain obstacles to classification. Perhaps we ought to regard military régimes simply as a set of techniques used by the military to carry out their policies rather than as political or constitutional structures. For many of the forms thrown up are created in conditions of illegality. Even more about them is fluid and personal. The formal constitutional structures give no guidance as to how the régime works and where all that is clear is that authority is being exercised only after personal struggles behind the scenes, it is

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