Academic journal article Military Review

POLITICAL ARMIES: The Military and Nation Building in the Age of Democracy

Academic journal article Military Review

POLITICAL ARMIES: The Military and Nation Building in the Age of Democracy

Article excerpt

POLITICAL ARMIES: The Military and Nation Building in the Age of Democracy, Kees Koonings and Dirk Kruijt, eds., Zed Books, New York, 2002, 398 pages, $29.95.

In the post-Cold War period, a perception has emerged that the rise of democracy in the world signals a decline in military governments and dictators. Political armies, or armies that take an active role in the government of a nation, have often claimed the nation's sovereignty as a sacred trust. Throughout the world, however, even the most well-intentioned nation-building strategies of a political army will come into conflict with the needs and rights of the people. Too often, the conflict is exacerbated to the point of violence and human rights abuses.

While a commitment to democracy is winning the minds of most Western and many Northern peoples, including military professionals, the conversion is far from complete. Editors Kees Koonings and Dirk Kruijt have assembled an international group of scholars to write a series of country studies addressing the status of various political armies around the world today. …

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