The Impact of Foreign Aid upon the Political Role of the Armed Forces in Developing Countries
The political role of the armed forces in any one of the world’s newer states is likely to be determined by a combination of factors. The axiom that a particular institution cannot validly be considered apart from the society to which it belongs can be readily accepted in so far as the military are concerned. In many cases the attitude of society towards the military institutions within it is the decisive factor. This attitude may be compounded of a number of elements of which the economic status of the soldier is not the least: his reputation — whether he is looked upon with respect or fear or contempt — is another, and may have been acquired during the colonial period and subsequently overlaid by sentiments expressed after independence by nationalist politicians. The ability and willingness of the political leaders of a new state to recognise the value of armed forces, which were probably only recently the instruments of imperialist domination, is bound to modify the popular stereotype of the military, but there are not many countries in contemporary Africa, for instance, where the transformation has as yet been total. There is nevertheless a clear relationship between the popular image of an army and its ability to take political action in a particular direction. In Brazil in March 1964 the army was able to act as it did because it was associated, by reason of long periods of apparent political detachment, with the notion of upholding the constitution; President Ayub Khan in Pakistan was able to rely upon the army’s reputation for integrity and clean administration.
KeywordsArmed Force Political Behaviour Political Role Officer Corps Elite System
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