Thursday, November 3, 2011

Civ-Mil Is Everywhere

You would think that the last place we would be thinking about civil-military relations might be Greece, given that the focus ought to be on debt, sovereignty, currencies, markets, brinksmanship and all the rest.  Yet amid all of the wrangling, we see that the Defense Minister has fired the top military officials.  This just raises heaps of questions with officials quickly denying that this was an attempt to forestall a coup.  Okaaaaay.  My reactions:
  1. We don't have to believe these folks.  Yes, it has been a long time since the military has ruled in Greece, but certainly within the lifetimes of some of the actors.  Greece and stability, well, we might have different standards here.
  2. If not coup prevention, is the action one that might cause a coup anyway? Probably not, but certainly countries elsewhere that often ponder whether they have a crisis in civ-mil relations (US, UK, Canada to name just three) can pause for a second and realize that things are not that bad.
  3. Could this be wag the dog-esque?  That is, to divert the public and media from other stuff?  Probably not since the key topic of the day, dealing with the EU/debt mess, is impervious to diversion.  
Sometimes, politicians may not make well thought out decisions.  Shocking but true. Perhaps the Greek Minister of Defense had various ideas in mind, but was not thinking about the debt crisis or how this would appear.  

All I know is we need to keep watching this particular dimension of the Greek crisis.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

According to Reuters its a typical feature of Greek patronage politics: Before a government goes it shuffles its friends into high places. I that is true than it would be an interesting misunderstanding. Of course the MOD could have killed two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Bill said...

I don't find the idea of a coup far-fetched at all. Right now a substantial chunk of the Greek public is fed up with the government - referendum or no, they've already been expressing their dissatisfaction with massive strikes, and likely will continue to do so. That's often the perfect time to stage a coup, because popular opinion can get behind "throw the bums out". What I don't know is if the Greek military is more well-respected, or trusted, than the civilian government. If it is, the civilian government is in even deeper trouble than has been reported.