The Man on Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics
The role of the military in a society raises a number of issues: How much separation should there be between a civil government and its army? Should the military be totally subordinate to the polity? Or should the armed forces be allowed autonomy in order to provide national security? Recently, the dangers of military dictatorships-as have existed in countries like Panama, Chile, and Argentina-have become evident. However, developing countries often lack the administrative ability and societal unity to keep the state functioning in an orderly and economically feasible manner without military intervention. Societies, of course, have dealt with the realities of these problems throughout their histories, and the action they have taken at any particular point in time has depended on numerous factors. In the "first world" of democratic countries, the civil-military relationship has been thoroughly integrated, and indeed by most modern standards this is seen as essential. However, several influential Western thinkers have developed theories arguing for the separation of the military from any political or social role. Samuel Huntington, emphasized that professionalism would presuppose that the military should intervene as little as possible in the political sphere. Samuel E. Finer, in contrast, emphasizes that a government can be efficient enough way to keep the civil-military relationship in check, ensuring that the need for intervention by the armed forces in society would be minimal. At the time of the book's original publication, perhaps as a consequence of a post-World War II Cold War atmosphere, this was by no means a universally accepted position. Some considered the military to be a legitimate threat to a free society. Today's post-Cold War environment is an appropriate time to reconsider Finer's classic argument. "The Man on Horseback" continues to be an important contribution to the study of the military's role in the realm of politics, and will be of interest to students of political science, government, and the military.
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Classic study of the role of the military in politics. Dated in some respects, Finer's analysis is clear, careful, and focused. It is also superbly and brilliantly written. Read full review
The Disposition to Intervene 1 Motive
The Disposition to Intervene 2 Mood
The Opportunity to Intervene
The Levels of Intervention 1 Countries of Developed Political Culture
The Levels of Intervention 2 Countries of Low Political Culture
The Levels of Intervention 3 Countries of Mimimal Political Culture
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Accion Democratica Algeria American Argentina armed forces army's Ayub Khan Bakr Sidqi blackmail cabinet civil power civil-military relations civilian authorities civilian government civilian organizations civilian regime Colonel command Commander-in-Chief communist constitution countries coup cuartelazo decision democratic developed dictatorship direct military displacement Egypt Egyptian elections established faction factors favour Finer France French Frondizi garrison Germany humiliation independence Iraq Japanese Jimenez Kapp putsch Latin America leaders legitimacy level of political ment military dictatorship military intervention military regime military rule military's motives Nasser nationalist Ne Win Neguib officer corps oligarchy order of political overt Pakistan Paraguay Peron political culture political parties politicians popular sovereignty population President pressure Prime Minister professional provisional purged quasi-civilianized rebels Reichswehr Republic resign resistance revolt Rojas rulers social society soldiers South Vietnam Soviet Spain Spanish successful Sudan supplantment Syria threat tion Tosei-ha traditional troops Turkey Turkish Union Venezuela
Page 7 - THE armed forces have three massive political advantages over civilian organizations: a marked superiority in organization, a highly emotionalized symbolic status, and a monopoly of arms. They form a prestigious corporation or Order, enjoying overwhelming superiority in the means of applying force. The wonder, therefore, is not why this rebels against its civilian masters, but why it ever obeys them.