The Soldier and the Changing State: Building Democratic Armies in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas

The Soldier and the Changing State: Building Democratic Armies in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas

The Soldier and the Changing State: Building Democratic Armies in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas

The Soldier and the Changing State: Building Democratic Armies in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas

Synopsis


The Soldier and the Changing State is the first book to systematically explore, on a global scale, civil-military relations in democratizing and changing states. Looking at how armies supportive of democracy are built, Zoltan Barany argues that the military is the most important institution that states maintain, for without military elites who support democratic governance, democracy cannot be consolidated. Barany also demonstrates that building democratic armies is the quintessential task of newly democratizing regimes. But how do democratic armies come about? What conditions encourage or impede democratic civil-military relations? And how can the state ensure the allegiance of its soldiers?


Barany examines the experiences of developing countries and the armed forces in the context of major political change in six specific settings: in the wake of war and civil war, after military and communist regimes, and following colonialism and unification/apartheid. He evaluates the army-building and democratization experiences of twenty-seven countries and explains which predemocratic settings are most conducive to creating a military that will support democracy. Highlighting important factors and suggesting which reforms can be expected to work and fail in different environments, he offers practical policy recommendations to state-builders and democratizers.

Excerpt

On May 23, 2003, Order No. 2 of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S.-dominated transitional government that oversaw postwar Iraq in 2003–2004, disbanded the entire Iraqi armed forces. This was a controversial decision for a number of reasons. While the Ba’ath regime was uniformly hated in Kurdistan and amongst the population in southern Iraq, the military—a conscript army with a large proportion of Shia Muslim draftees and Sunni officers—had enjoyed considerable sympathy and respect in the rest of the country. The dismissal of the Iraqi army created an alarming security and public safety vacuum; produced a large pool of trained, armed, humiliated, and desperate men for whom joining the anti-American insurgency became a logical choice; and destroyed the only national institution in a deeply divided society, an institution that could have actively participated in postwar reconstruction. Indeed, Order No. 2 has been called “one of the greatest errors in the history of U.S. warfare.”

It was the abolition of the Iraqi army that motivated me to write this book because it aroused my curiosity not so much about what went wrong in Iraq but about the challenges and necessary conditions of building and rebuilding armed forces that would become the loyal servants of democracies. Order No. 2 raised a number of questions regarding the military in changing political environments. Is there ever a good reason to dismiss an entire army? How should democratizers treat the traditions, histories, and cultural factors of the old army? What political-institutional safeguards can state-builders utilize to ensure the military’s reliability? How important are military elites’ political preferences in determining the outcome of regime change in general and of democratic consolidation in particular?

MAIN ARGUMENTS AND QUESTIONS

Developing civil-military relations that are marked by the army’s steadfast support of democratic rule is an indispensable prerequisite without which the democratization project itself cannot succeed. The regular armed forces are one of the most important institutions states maintain; this is especially . . .

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