Armies and Politics in Latin America

By Abraham F. Lowenthal; J. Samuel Fitch | Go to book overview

The Modern Mexican Military

David Ronfeldt


A Time for Reassessment

The military remains one of the great mysteries of modern Mexico. The more U.S. analysts know about it, the better it fits the best generalization we have about almost everything else in Mexico: unique, special, exceptional, a product of the Mexican Revolution, a case unlike anything else in Latin America. Yet the paucity of information about this hermetic institution has left policymakers and analysts, certainly in Washington and probably also in Mexico City, without sound answers to many basic questions: What is the military's effect on Mexico's domestic and foreign policies? Is it adequately prepared to assure Mexico's stability and security? How would it behave in the event of a serious political or foreign policy crisis?

In ordinary, tranquil times these questions can be neglected. But when turns of events arouse U.S. concerns about Mexico's stability, security, and

____________________
This chapter is slightly abridged from the author's study, "The Modern Mexican Military: Implications for Mexico's Political Stability and National Security" (The Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, N-2288-FF/RC, March 1985), which in turn derives from the author's lead chapter in the anthology he edited, The Modern Mexican Military: A Reassessment, Research Monograph 15, Center for U.S.--Mexican Studies, University of California at San Diego, 1984.

The author wishes to thank Wayne Cornelius, Director of the Center, for his support in producing that anthology. Published with the permission of the Rand Corporation.

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