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Chapter 9

Chapter 9 - Chapter 9 soldiers in politics Military...

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Chapter 9: soldiers in politics Military governments were very common for many years in the developing world, especially in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Military rule has become increasingly rare as democracy has spread through the third world. But in countries such as Libya and Pakistan, military rulers still preside and in other developing countries the Armed Forces exert considerable political influence. Sometimes even the most advanced governments are headed by men from the military ranks – Dwight D. Eisenhower in the US, Charles de Gaulle in France, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. These all had distinguished military careers before they held political office, but they entered politics as private citizens after retiring from the armed forces. What distinguishes the Third World is the extent to which the military has intruded either as a governing body or as a dominant interest group. Soldiers in the LDCs have often rejected the dividing line between military and political activity, unlike those in industrialized democracies. In some countries such as India, Malaysia, Kenya, Tunisia, Mexico and Costa Rica the military has not penetrated deeply into politics for many decades. But until the 1980s this was the exception rather than the rule. Until recently, the military’s political involvement and most of the Third World was so pervasive that it is almost considered a defining characteristic of political underdevelopment. One study of military intervention showed that 59 developing nations experienced 274 attempted coups between 1946 in 1970. 23 of those countries had five or more takeover attempts during that period. Bolivia and Venezuela had 18 attempted coups each. At the start of the 1980s. Almost every country in South America was governed by the Armed Forces. The military dominated politics in much of Africa, especially In sub-Saharan Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, from 1958 to 1984 there were more than 62 coups and 60 failed attempts.
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Military dominance is not as obvious in Asia where India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia had relatively stable democracies, while in the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan and China authoritarian civilian rulers control the armed forces. Several Islamic nations in North Africa including Algeria and Libya and Sudan, were frequently controlled by the armed forces or by military strongmen. Here indirect military dominance is more common. The last 20 to 25 years have seen a marked decline in the number of military coups and military regimes. This has been most dramatic in Latin America were democratically elected civilian government has become the norm. In Asia, military regimes have been toppled in countries such as Thailand ,Indonesia ,Bangladesh and South Korea. Pakistan and Myanmar stand out as exceptions to the rule. Even though the number of military run governments has declined, the
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Chapter 9 - Chapter 9 soldiers in politics Military...

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