The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

Synopsis

In Western, developing, and totalitarian countries alike, the armed forces are powerful political organizations that play key roles in domestic politics. Yet, the literature on civilian-military relations provides few comparative examinations of the military's political role. In 27 chapters devoted to representative countries, this handbook looks at the varying roles the military plays around the world. Each chapter traces the historical background of the civil-military relations in the country, identifies and analyzes the processes the military uses to exert political influence, evaluates the success and results of the military's political role, and projects future developments.

Excerpt

This volume has offered more challenges to the editors than the usual manuscript. Not only was it a task to bring more than two dozen chapters together from authors spread across the country, but it was also a challenge to ask authors from the wide-ranging world to produce a cohesive and interesting book. We have seen how dramatically the world can change in the post-Cold War era; we saw changes in the Peruvian and Mexican militaries after the book was begun, as well as the perpetual reevaluation of the Russian military. Time does not stand still for anyone.

Although we recognize that each and every detail cannot remain current in any published volume, we believe that we have captured a range of militaries around the world, illustrating their varying political roles. Though never intended to be comprehensive, for a variety of reasons, this volume is, however, intended to create a body of literature that shows how complicated militarycivilian "relationships" are around the world. We are pleased with the range of our information and the light it sheds on the military in societies that too often have been seen as monolithic (Western European or former Soviet-bloc armed forces, for example).

We hope that we have already conveyed our thanks to most of the many people whom we want to acknowledge. We will cite here, however, a few for their patience, persistence, and humor through it all. Mildred Vasan, at Greenwood Publishing, was a patient but guiding voice through a long evolution. Dan Zirker has been particularly helpful in suggesting contributors and being generally supportive. Sam Sarkesian, in some ways "dean" of this field in political science in the United States, was also most helpful. Support from the National War College was important.

Finally, we want to thank our families and spouses for their support. Without them--and a phone/fax line with which to communicate--we would not have survived, or still be speaking with one another.

Cynthia Watson Constantine Danopoulos . . .

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