Academic journal article Military Review

Proxy Warriors: The Rise and Fall of State-Sponsored Militias

Academic journal article Military Review

Proxy Warriors: The Rise and Fall of State-Sponsored Militias

Article excerpt

PROXY WARRIORS: The Rise and Fall of State-Sponsored Militias, Ariel I. Ahram, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, 2011, 194 pages, $21.95.

In Proxy Warriors, Ariel I. Ahram explains why some states have used devolution of violence through militias and other organizations to form the basis of the state's coercive power, and why some states have been more successful with this practice than other states have. Ahram's thesis is based around two factors: the method by which states were transformed from colonies to sovereign states, and the overall regional security threat in the area. The implications are that states that overthrow colonial rulers by revolutionary means and are situated in areas of minimal outside threat continue to devolve violence to outside actors along the "revolutionary model." Conversely, states that oust colonial powers through revolution, but inhabit a region of high outside threat, will begin with devolved mechanisms of coercion, and then begin to consolidate the mechanisms of coercion among state actors as a necessary component of state survival. On the opposite end of the spectrum, states that achieve sovereignty through the negotiated and orderly withdrawal of colonial powers, especially in regions where the threat from neighbors is high, tend to consolidate the mechanisms of coercion among state organized and controlled institutions. …

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