Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Past and Present of Civil-Military Relations

I started teaching a course on Civil-Military Relations a couple of years ago, mostly so that I could master the literature for my current project with David Auerswald on how countries control their militaries when engaged in multilateral operations. The old literature focused almost entirely on coups--causes, conduct, prevention and the behavior of military regimes. I was more focused on the newer parts that focused more on how advanced, stable democracies try to control their militaries not to avoid coups but to maximize effectiveness.

As it turns out, that old coup stuff is still relevant as events in Honduras this weekend suggest. Indeed, coups have not quite gotten as out of style as we hoped. Even in the absence of a military take-over, the issues and dynamics are still quite relevant, as we have watched in Iran where coup-proofing is the story of the day.

So, it looks like I didn't waste that much of my students' time the past couple of years.


Anonymous said...

All Honduras needs is to become another so called democracy with an elected lifetime dictator.

I am glad to see that the military of Honduras upheld the law and the consitution of Honduras. Apparently, our military, courts and congress do not have the balls to take their oaths seriously.

Unknown said...

I am Honduran and you are quite mistaken. The military answered the people's call to stop the president. It was not a coup, it was backed by the entire country and by congress. Honduras does not want to run by Hugo Chavez.The foreign press is really misinformed.

Anonymous said...

What has happened in Honduras has been in defense of democracy and in response to the illegal activities that President Zelaya has been involved in.

1- The worst threat to democracy in Honduras is the President himself. He has created a climate of uncertainty over the last few months and has knowingly kept escalating the situation. Castro and Chavez have used this type of technique in the past to interrupt the electoral process. All the democracies in the world know what a regretful situation both Venezuela and Cuba live because they didn't react in time and let dictators settle into power.

2- Chavez and Castro have been interfering in Honduras for to long. All the ballots for this illegal vote were printed , marked and tabulated in Venezuela.

3- Over 80% of the population has been and continues to be against President’s Zelaya intend to reform our constitution, which guarantees the non-continuation in power of any president beyond his or her 4-year term. Furthermore, Honduran’s in general are not in agreement with Zelaya’s alignment to the extreme left and Chavez Axis of corruption.

4- The order to take the president into custody came from the Supreme Court and the Attorney General and was backed by congress. All democratic institutions approve of this move.

5- Zelaya will now say that the he wanted to give free elections on November to save face. This is untrue his intentions were to stay in power. Now that he knows that he won’t be able to do the same thing that Chavez did in Venezuela he will deny his true intensions.

6- I believe that what failed was the use of proper process to detain Zelaya. The court order and approval by congress should have been made public before any action was taken. Furthermore, Zelaya should have been put into custody pending trail. He needs to answer to the people and laws of Honduras for all he has done. He should have never been sent to Costa Rica.

Anonymous said...

Wow Elsie, you speak perfect English and seem to have the profound ability to gauge the collective will of the entire population of your proposed nation of origin. I certainly doubt your actually from Honduras, but that's besides the point. What's obvious is that the notion that a democratically elected president is being militarily removed with full public support. As ignorant as you sound, I'm sure you're aware that the military does not ask the civilian population before performing a Coup. In fact, the coup was to stop a glorified public opinion poll. You seem to have no idea what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

This was no coup.

What happened here is that the rule of law was upheld by the Honduran gov’t. Zelaya’s own party turned their back on him because he was trying to subvert the law and constitution of Honduras, and the Congress, and Supreme court of Honduras warned him that his attempt to change their constitution was illegal and would lead to charges.

He was a sitting president performing illegal and unconstitutional acts, it’s right and propper that he was ripped from power and thrown out. The congress, military, and the supreme court of Honduras did the will of the people and upheld the law.

If only the US had congressmen and congresswomen that upheld the rule of law to an equal standard. If we had, then Bush would have been exiled for lying about WMDs in iraq.