The Power of the Gun: Armies and Armed Force
Political authority in most countries rests ultimately on the ability of rulers to coerce their subjects. Any collapse of such authority generally requires superior force on the part of the regime’s opponents, or at least their greater skill and determination in wielding force. Where the ‘developing’ world differs from the West and the erstwhile Soviet bloc is in the tenuous control that the government or any group in society has over armed force. While the army has occasionally occupied centre stage in western countries, civilian control over the military has been the norm. In much of the developing world, in contrast, military coups, military governments and extensive military influence over policy have been common, for reasons which we shall explore presently.
KeywordsArmed Force United Nations Development Programme Armed Group Military Intervention Military Regime
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