The Military's Role and the Effects in a Civilian Supremacy, Civilian Control, and Military Regime

Topics: Africa, South Africa, Military dictatorship Pages: 11 (3763 words) Published: May 25, 2010
The Military’s Role and the Effects in A Civilian Supremacy, Civilian Control, and Military Regime Natasha Vattikonda

Student ID: 250480013
Professor Mellon
Political Science 2245E Section 570

The concept of ‘civilian supremacy’ is one which has proven to be a controversial issue because it deals with the factors surrounding how a state chooses to govern itself and in whose hands the power and right to govern lies in. A state is known to be most concerned with self-preservation and protecting its own interests, and therefore some degree of military is almost always present somewhere within the hierarchy structure of the government. However, it is important to note that the level at which the military is actually involved politically and socially within the state varies. Military intervention can range anywhere from very limited entrance into issues regarding society to the military having complete control over the country. A country that claims to be democratic will either have a civilian supremacy, civilian control, conditional subordination, or military tutelage however, to be considered a liberal democracy the state must be either under civilian supremacy or civilian control. In states of autocratic rule, the government is under either military control or military rule. In today’s modernized version of a democracy, it is not only considered necessary to have a clear division between the government and the military but a high degree of control is needed for the military to be under civilian control. For this sense of the word, ‘civilians’ refer to all persons or organizations that have no attachment to the military. Civilian control, therefore, refers to governments and their agencies having the authority to determine the resources and purpose of the military without needing to concern themselves with the chance of military interference.

As the average of military control globally decreases it allows the average of civilian control to globally increase and while most countries currently operate under either civilian supremacy or civilian control, only a minority of this number operate as a true civilian supremacy. There are, however, a small number of autocratic countries in which the military dominates. There are three that will be the analytical focus of this paper regarding the levels of military power and control over the state. The first is the Republic of South Africa, which is a country located at the tip of Africa. It is an area that has been inhabited for over a thousand years by modern humans and has three different capitals, Cape Town, the legislative capital, Pretoria, the administrative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital. They operate via a bicameral parliament and have an upper house, the National Council of Provinces (90 members), and a lower house, the National Assembly (400 members). The second is the country of India, which is located in South Asia and has the second largest population. India is also a bicameral parliament and is described as “quasi-federal” because of it’s strong centre and weaker states, although since the 1990s it is becoming more and more federal. The Prime Minister is considered the head of government and is able to exercise the most executive power. The third location under analysis is Burma, or know officially as the Union of Myanmar. Burma has an extraordinarily diverse population and thus has extremely diverse cultures and they are still struggling to ease the tension caused by the variety of different ethnicities. Burma is under the military control of the State Peace and Development Council and is governed by a military junta. Some sense of military exists in each of these places and yet the degree of involvement in civilian affairs varies depending on the individual circumstance which will be further explored.

South Africa operates under a civilian supremacy, which falls under the category of democratic control because the military in South...
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