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Civilian control of the military: theory and cases from by Claude Emerson Welch

By Claude Emerson Welch

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Page x The questions that arise are myriad. Can the recent eruption of coups d'etat be attributed primarily to the weakness of civilian control? Or may they be attributed more to the growing strengths of armed forces, its officers aware of the power they wield? Or do conditions exist, particularly in states marked by low levels of economic development, that facilitate intervention? The greatest increase in military involvement in politics has occurred in the Third World, namely, those states marked by limited industrialization, by relatively brief histories of independence (many African and Asian states) or by lengthy histories of military intervention (Latin America), and often by serious problems of ethnic, linguistic, or religious fragmentation.

Legislative enactments may provide the armed forces a secure and extensive area of policy autonomy. The lobbying mentioned in the previous paragraph may turn into lightly veiled pressure or into "blackmail,"as Finer has suggested. 3 The initiative for greater military involvement in politics may come from civilians rather than officers. Political leaders, beleaguered by conflicting demands, turn to the armed forces as props for their power. Such moves convert military influence in politics into military participation in politics.

313 Index 329 Page ix Preface One hundred fifty years ago, in his noted book On War, General Carl Maria von Clausewitz penned perhaps the strongest justification for civilian control over the military. Armed forces, he noted, are created by states to engage in war; war itself is an instrument of state policy, a continuation of political intercourse by other means. Accordingly, The subordination of the political point of view to the military would be contrary to common sense, for policy has declared the War; it is the intelligent faculty, War only the instrument, and not the reverse.

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