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Military Intervention in Politics

Military intervention:

In poor and less developed countries, the military uses different dimensions to involve in the political system. Military rulers usually came in the form of cope; assumed power and installed military government where command and control authority is led by army officers who exercise the state power on behalf of the whole social class.  It is, therefore, an institute of governance that is derived by unconstitutionally and illegitimate act.

According to Kunle (1986), “there cannot be a military role with military intervention, but military intervention can be without military rule”. This implies that the dissatisfied military might intervene due to existing political conflict; economic disaster and social chaos prevail everywhere in the country. This intervention is not to lead the country, but to stabile the whole political system by installing a new government in the country.

Military intervention can be explained with the help of the personality model of social behaviour. According to this model militarily can intervene in the political system due to following three reasons, i.e., (1) magnification in personal power (2) poor socio-economic condition of the country and (3) personal interest of top military officers to abort the democratic process and take over the power. This is most common in less developed systems where the political system is overshadowed by allegations of election manipulation, ballot rigging, political murders and horse-trading.

According to the corporatist model, the military worked as a corporate entity by separating itself from civilian matters of the country. Military also share collective interest by the maintenance of the high military budget, the protection of military status, rules, norms and procedures. Thus any effort in change the status of the army by the political authorities can invite the military to take over who political system.

According to Huntington, the personal interest of army,  weak legislative institutions,  low esteem in the political culture of less developed countries and inadequate economic performance are the major causes of military intervention. For example, weak and corrupt political leadership and poor administration in Pakistan caused the military involvement in administrative affairs of the country. In Pakistan, military interferences were justified as the only way to strengthen democratic and judicial institutions as that needed hand-holding.

According to the communist model, “military engage in the political system through the ruling party and follow the ideology of part “.  The military intervention took place when the army identifies itself with the value of the ruling party. Once in a Zimbabwe, it was announced that to become president of the country candidates must have war credentials and must have participated in the liberation struggle.

Social contract theory is completely against the military intervention as it a tantamount to eroding democracy. Founding father of this theory, Locke, considered the military involvement a threat to democracy because peoples have a social contract with the state, not the military.

Military Rule in Pakistan: (1958-1969),(1977-1988), (1999-2008)

Military Rule in Bangladesh: (1975-1990)

Military intervention in Turkey: 1960, 1971, 1980

Military intervention in Nigeria: (1966-1979), (1983-1999)

Military intervention in Sudan: 1989

Military intervention in Brazil: 1964

Military intervention in Argentine: 1966, 1976

Military intervention in chilli and Uruguay:1973

Saif Ullah Rumi

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About the author

Saif Ullah Rumi

Saif Ullah Rumi

The writer is a political scientist with specialization in International Relations. He read a lot about politics, global economy, religion, International Relations, history, conflicts and war etc. He likes to take ideas he once learned a long time ago apply them to whatever strikes his fancy.


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