Academic journal article Military Review

Military Foundations of Panamanian Politics

Academic journal article Military Review

Military Foundations of Panamanian Politics

Article excerpt

Robert C. Harding II, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, NJ, 2001, 233 pages, $39.95

Any discussion of Latin American politics would be incomplete without parallel dialogues on Latin American militaries and U.S. influence in the region; all are irrevocably intertwined, mutually supporting, and communally corrupting. Robert C. Harding's Military Foundations of Panamanian Politics documents this compelling triumvirate and explores the historical relationships between Panama military and civilian institutions, as well as the significant role of the United States in Panama's difficult democratic evolution

An assistant professor of international relations and Spanish at Lynchburg College, Virginia, Harding provides a focused, methodical study of the Panamanian military, whose prominent influence on the politics of the nation culminated in the 1968 coup and complete breakdown of democracy in Panama. In its quest for autonomy and independence, Panama has much in common with its Latin American neighbors, yet its central hemispheric location--specifically the Panama Canal-afforded the country international significance during much of the 20th century. Panama's struggles were played on the world stage, and its caudillos were world players.

Unique for its focus on the military's influence, the book provides an uncharacteristically frank assessment of the United States's role in Panama's development. Howard J. Wiarda in Democracy and its Discontents: Development, Interdependence, and U.S. Policy in Latin America (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. …

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