Patriots for Profit: Contractors and the Military in U.S. National Security

By Thomas C. Bruneau | Go to book overview

1
PROBLEMS WITH HOW WE THINK ABOUT
CIVIL–MILITARY RELATIONS

In retrospect, the catalyst that led me to write this chapter was an epiphany I had while participating in a Center for Civil–Military Relations (CCMR) workshop in Katmandu, Nepal, in May 2007. Nepal was in the midst of yet another turbulent political upheaval, characterized by general strikes and street violence incited by Communist youth groups. The conservative, self-immolating monarchy was at its end; a tentative peace process had put the Maoist insurgent forces, which had been waging a nine-year civil war against the government, into U.N.-supervised cantonments; and the Nepalese Army were confined to barracks. The parliament was deeply divided among extremely heterogeneous and antagonistic political parties that were attempting to reach agreement on a date for general elections, with the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist playing the spoiler. In short, Nepal’s institutions and traditions were swiftly being relegated to the past, but there was no consensus on the future, and violence was pervasive.1

CCMR had been invited by the South Asian Centre for Policy Studies, a Nepali policy research center, to hold a series of workshops under the sponsorship of the U.S. Embassy, to assist military officers and civilian politicians find possible ways to create a stable system of civil–military relations for a future—ideally fully democratic—Nepal. In the public conferences preceding the workshops, during which I presented a framework for analysis that is the precursor to the method in the next chapter, a young Nepali anthropologist named Dr. Saubhagya Shah, who had earned his PhD from Harvard University, treated the audience to a long exposition on Samuel P. Huntington’s

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