BOOK FACT FRIDAY

FACT: “Argentina’s first coup, supported by middle-class groups, occurred in 1930 when General José F. Uriburu attempted to establish a praetorian regime in some ways akin to Benito Mussolini’s fascist state. Following Uriburu’s brief reign, the military was in an out of power—with truly civilian governments seldom enjoying more than a few consecutive years in office—until 1983. The army’s political involvement was partially motivated by their aversion to Peronist influences in politics. Juan Perón, a former army colonel who took an important role in the 1943 coup and subsequently served as minister of labor, was thrice elected president (1946, 1952, and 1973) and became immensely popular among the lower classes. The armed forces detested Perón’s left-wing populist polices and, backed by opposition parties and the Roman Catholic Church, toppled his regime in 1955. Following an eighteen-year exile, Perón returned to Buenos Aires and to power in 1973 only to be felled by heart attacks nine months later.”

The Soldier and the Changing State: Building Democratic
Armies in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas

by Zoltan Barany

The Soldier and the Changing State is the first book to systematically explore, on a global scale, civil-military relations in democratizing and changing states. Looking at how armies supportive of democracy are built, Zoltan Barany argues that the military is the most important institution that states maintain, for without military elites who support democratic governance, democracy cannot be consolidated. Barany also demonstrates that building democratic armies is the quintessential task of newly democratizing regimes. But how do democratic armies come about? What conditions encourage or impede democratic civil-military relations? And how can the state ensure the allegiance of its soldiers?

Barany examines the experiences of developing countries and the armed forces in the context of major political change in six specific settings: in the wake of war and civil war, after military and communist regimes, and following colonialism and unification/apartheid. He evaluates the army-building and democratization experiences of twenty-seven countries and explains which predemocratic settings are most conducive to creating a military that will support democracy. Highlighting important factors and suggesting which reforms can be expected to work and fail in different environments, he offers practical policy recommendations to state-builders and democratizers.

We invite you to read the Introduction here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9903.pdf