The Decline Of Military Regimes: The Civilian Influence [1 ed.] 0367291177, 9780367291174

Many generous people deserve special thanks for their assistance in the preparation and completion of this project. I wi

1,176 38 5MB

English Pages 282 [297] Year 2019

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

The Decline Of Military Regimes: The Civilian Influence [1 ed.]
 0367291177, 9780367291174

Table of contents :
Half Title
About the Editor and Contributors
1 Military Dictatorships in Retreat: Problems and Perspectives
2 Obstacles to Disengagement and Democratization: Military Regimes in Benin and Burkina Faso
3 After the Coup: South Korea Creates a New Political Order
4 Polish Soldiers in Politics: The Party in Uniform?
5 Contemporary Civil-Military Relations Theory and De-Intervention: The Case of Panama
6 The Politics of Disengagement in Turkey: The Kemalist Tradition
7 Back to the Barracks: The Brazilian Military's Style
8 A Postmortem of the Institutional Military Regime in Peru
9 Withdrawal in Disgrace: Decline of the Argentine Military
10 Beating a Hasty Retreat: The Greek Military Withdraws from Power
11 Withdrawal and After: A One-Way Street or a Revolving Door?

Citation preview

The Decline of Military Regimes

The Decline of Military Regimes The Civilian Influence


Constantine P. Danopoulos

First published 1988 by Westview Press Published 2019 by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business Copyright © 1988 Taylor & Francis All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The Decline of military regimes. (Westview special studies in military affairs) Includes index. 1. Civil-military relations. 2. Comparative government. I. Danopoulos, Constantine P. (Constantine Panos) II. Series. JF195.C5D43 1988 355'.0213 87-2129 ISBN 13: 978-0-367-29117-4 (hbk)

To Vickie and our two boys, Panos and Andreas

Contents Acknowledgments About the Editor and Contributors

ix xi


Military Dictatorships in Retreat: Problems and Perspectives, Constantine P. Danopoulos


Obstacles to Disengagement and Democratization: Military Regimes in Benin and Burkina Faso,


Claude E. Welch, Jr.



After the Coup: South Korea Creates a New Political Order, C.I. Eugene Kim



Polish Soldiers in Politics: The Party in Uniform? Robin Alison Remington



Contemporary Civil-Military Relations Theory and De-Intervention: The Case of Panama,

David Lewis Feldman



The Politics of Disengagement in Turkey: The Kemalist Tradition, James Brown



Back to the Barracks: The Brazilian Military's Style, Edmundo Campos Coelho



A Postmortem of the Institutional Military Regime in Peru, Carlos A. Astiz



Withdrawal in Disgrace: Decline of the Argentine Military, 1976-1983, Dennis R. Gordon



Beating a Hasty Retreat: The Greek Military Withdraws from Power, Constantine P. Danopoulos



Withdrawal and After: A One-Way Street or a Revolving Door? Constantine P. Danopoulos



269 vii

Acknowledgments Many generous people deserve special thanks for their assistance in the preparation and completion of this project. I wish to express my gratitude to each of the contributors for agreeing to tackle a difficult and inherently controversial subject. I am only sorry that C.I. Eugene Kim did not live long enough to see the fruits of his labor; he will be sorely missed by all of us who knew him. The Third World and the military do not respond easily to scrutiny by social scientists. Many colleagues and referees read all or part of the manuscript; I am grateful to Professors Richard Lane, Roy Christman, and Bob Kumamoto of San Jose State University and Timothy Lukes of Santa Clara University, who offered numerous helpful· comments. My parents, Panos and Athanasia Danopoulos, my brother George and his wife, Niki, my aunt Areti Paraskevopoulou, and my koumbaro George Nikoletopoulos have provided boundless moral support. Polly Taylor's expert typing and coding made the preparation of the typescript possible. Finally, my wife, Vickie, and our two sons, Panos and Andreas, deserve special thanks for their willingness to endure the long hours that writing and manuscript preparation entail. Though helpful, none of these people bear any responsibility for any problems associated with this volume. Responsibility for the accuracy and scholastic quality of what follows belongs to the contributors and myself.

Constantine P. Danopoulos Fremont, California


About the Editor and Contributors CONSTANTINE P. DANOPOULOS teaches Political Science at San Jose State University and Santa Clara University. A native of Greece, he received his B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from San Jose State University and his Ph.D., also in Political Science, from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has written extensively on the subject of civil-military relations. His publications include: Warriors and Politicians in Modern Greece (1984) and many articles in journals such as Political Science Quarterly, Armed Forces and Society, the Journal of Political and Military Sociology, West European Politics, and Public Administration and Development. He is presently associate editor of the Journal of Political

and Military Sociology.

CARLOS A. ASTIZ studied at the School of Law and Social Sciences of the National University of Buenos Aires and at the Pennsylvania State University, where he received his Ph.D. in Political Science. He teaches Latin American politics at the State University of New York at Albany. His publications include Pressure Groups and Power Elites in Peruvian Politics, Latin American International Politics, and a number of articles and papers dealing with the political role of the Peruvian and Argentine military establishments, as well as with that of the Catholic Church. He is currently writing the first of a multi-volume work preliminarily entitled "Argentina as a Case-Study of Political Decay." JAMES BROWN is Professor of Political Science, Southern Methodist University. His Ph.D. in Political Science is from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has written extensively on national security policy and civil-military relations, with works having appeared in Armed Forces and Society, Air University Review, Polity, and Defense Analysis. Professor Brown is an Associate Chairman of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society and a Fellow of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He served as a special assistant to the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Resources at the Department of Defense. EDMUNDO CAMPOS COELHO is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Instituto Universitario de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ), xi


About the Editor and Contributors

Brazil. He did his graduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is the author of Em Busca de Identidade: 0 Exercito e a Politica na Sociedade Brasileira [In Search of Identity: The Army and Politics in the Brazilian Society] (1976). He has published articles on the Brazilian military and is now working on a major study of higher education in Brazil. DAVID LEWIS FELDMAN, formerly Associate Professor of Political Science at Moorhead State University in Minnesota, was recently appointed to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. He received his B.A. from Kent State University in 1973 and his M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1979) from the University of Missouri-Columbia. His publications on Latin American politics and civil-military relations have appeared in the Journal of Inter-American Studies and Peace Research. His current research interests include comparative natural resources and environmental policy, political development, and the role of the military in underdeveloped societies. DENNIS R. GORDON is Associate Professor of Political Science at Santa Clara University, teaching courses in International Relations and Latin American Studies. He has published widely on events in Latin America and the Caribbean, including "The Paralysis of Multilateral Peacekeeping: International Organizations and the Falkland/Malvinas War," which recently appeared in Peace and Change. He currently serves as the President of the Northern California Political Science Association. C.I. EUGENE KIM (Ph.D., Stanford) was Professor of Political Science and Chairman of the Asian Studies Program at Western Michigan University and a member of the governing Board of Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society and U.S.-Korea Security Studies. He was also one of the founding members of The Research Council on Korean Reunification. Author of many books and articles on Korea and Northeast Asia, his recent works include: An Introduction of Asian Politics (co-author), The Asian Political Dictionary (co-author), Journey to North Korea (co-author), and "Civil-Military Relations in the Two Koreas." ROBIN ALISON REMINGTON is Professor of Political Science, University of Missouri-Columbia. Born in Boston, she received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University. A recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in 1981, Dr. Remington is the author of The Warsaw Pact: Case Studies in Communist Conflict Resolution (1971), editor of Winter in Prague: Czechoslovak Communism in Crisis (1969), and compiler of The International Relations of Eastern Europe, an annotated bibliography (1978). She has contributed chapters to Eurocommunism Between East and West (1981), Communism in Eastern Europe, 2nd ed. (1984), Soviet Allies: The

About the Editor and Contributors


Warsaw Pact and the Issue of Reliability (1984), and other books. Her articles have appeared in Orbis, Studies in Comparative Communism, Survey, and other journals. CLAUDE E. WELCH, JR., Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York at Buffalo, has specialized in civil-military relations in Africa for over 20 years. His major books include: No Farewell

to Arms? Military Disengagement from Politics in Africa and Latin America

(Westview, 1987), Civilian Control of the Military (1976), Military Role and Rule (1974), and Soldier and State in Africa (1970). He is editordesignate of Armed Forces and Society.

1 Military Dictatorships in Retreat: Problems and Perspectives Constantine P. Danopoulos

Military intervention or praetorianism, i.e., "a situation in which military officers are major or predominant political actors by virtue of their actual or threatened use of force," 1 has preoccupied the attention of scholars and practitioners alike interested in the politics of changing or developing societies of the Third World. A host of theoretical explanations have been offered including loss of legitimacy on the part of the displaced civilian regime, lack of institutionalization, political decay, low levels of political culture, ethnic and factional rivalries, and professional military concerns to explain the reasons which prompt the armed forces to leave the barracks and to assume the levers of political authority. The literature is also replete with studies evaluating the performance of the military as political governors in such critical areas as regime legitimacy, social change, national integration, and modernization. Yet, in spite of the commonly held view that praetorian regimes are considered "inherently unstable [with] an average life span of approximately five years," 2 precious little has been done to examine and understand what causes the military to allow civilian participation in governing and often to permit the return of some kind of civilian rule. The reasons for this neglect are manifold. Perhaps the most obvious ones can be found in the "closed," "authoritarian," and "secretive" nature of praetorian regimes; and the perennial instability characterizing changing societies where military rule occurs most frequently. It is often difficult to determine whether and the extent to which the military leave the levers of authority, how much power (if any) they wield from behind the scenes, and at what point a regime comes under the effective control of civilians. The frequent penchant of praetorian rulers to substitute khaki for civilian garb, stage-manage the formation of political parties, 1


Constantine P. Danopoulos

hold some sort of restricted (if not pre-determined) elections and have themselves "elected" as "legitimate" political rulers, further blurs the distinction between civilian and military-dominated regimes-creating a true "nightmare for social scientists who analyze politics in terms of institutions and functions." 3 Moreover, unlike a coup which tends to be a swift, clear, sharp, and easily recognizable phenomenon, return to the barracks often seems to be slow, shy and not always discernible, often characterized by two steps forward one step backward. Though military regimes are unstable, the recognized capacity of the armed forces to replace one group of officers at the top with another, usually through a countercoup or a threatened one, give praetorianism an aura of permanence in the midst of the instability and economic underdevelopment permeating changing societies. Eric Nordlinger sums up both the reasons for the general academic neglect regarding the behavior of the military, and the unstable but enduring role of the armed forces in the political affairs of such societies, saying that "the most frequent sequel to military coups and governments is more of the same." 4 A break in this pattern began in the mid 1970s when the military of an increasing number of Latin American, Asian, and even African societies showed a tendency to return to the barracks and make room for some kind of civilian rule. This has prompted Myron Weiner to conclude that "few issues are more likely to seize world attention for the remainder of this century than the question of whether authoritarian countries in the Third World will make a transition to democratic civilian rule." 5 Though by no means a universal phenomenon-for a very large number of changing societies are still governed by soldiers-and in spite of reversals, military disengagement from politics has become a discernible phenomenon in the 1980s, both in terms of geographic breadth as well as the longevity of successor civilian regimes. As such, the subject merits closer scholarly attention.

The Case Studies The countries chosen for this volume include: three South American (Argentina, Brazil, and Peru); one Central American (Panama); one European (Greece); one Asian (South Korea); one Middle Eastern (Turkey); one Communist (Poland); and two African (Burkina Faso and Benin). The single most important criterion in the selection of this list was balance, both geographic as well as proportional. An effort was made to include at least one country from each major region of the world, as well as from each of the two major blocs (Western and Eastern) and the non-aligned or neutral states. The latter category includes the majority

Military Dictatorships in Retreat


of Third World nations who refused to join cold war American- and Soviet-sponsored military alliances. In addition, a conscious effort was made to give a proportional balance by giving more emphasis to geographic regions with the greatest number of cases of military having left the levers of authority. As a result, Latin America is more heavily represented because almost half of the most recent experiences of transition from military to some sort of civilian rule have occurred in this region of the world. Lastly, care was taken to offer examples of varying degrees of transition in order to highlight the different degrees of civilian supremacy, the forces that prompted disengagement, the nature of the successor set up and the role of the armed forces in it, as well as difficulties and travails associated with return to the barracks and transition from military to civilian rule. The latter can give us important clues toward a clearer understanding of civil-military relations and the reasons and processes of military disengagement in the developing societies of the Third World.

The Travails of Transition

Conceptual Definitions The authors of the various essays have employed such terms as withdrawal, disengagement, de-intervention, and civilianization to describe the particulars of each experience as well as the nature of transition and the degree of civilian rule. Broadly speaking, these terms can be divided into two categories: one encompassing examples where civilian supremacy has been established (i.e., withdrawal and disengagement); while the other where civilians are part of the governing coalition but the military continue playing a decisive role, either directly or from behind the scenes. The second category includes de-intervention, civilianization, and liberalization. Withdrawal or disengagement can be defined as the substitution of praetorian policies and personnel with those advocated by the recognized civilian authorities. De-intervention or civilianization on the other hand, refers to limited or partial disengagement and denotes a situation in which the military coopts and/ or forms coalitions with a selected number of civilians (usually technocrats). In such circumstances the military is the dominant partner and the civilians play an auxiliary role. Argentina, Greece, and Peru are examples of the former; while Panama, South Korea, Burkina Faso, and Benin exemplify the latter. Poland, Turkey, and Brazil seem to fall somewhere in between, although all three appear to be moving with varying degrees of speed toward withdrawal or disengagement.


Constantine P. Danopoulos

The case studies of this volume demonstrate that the timing as well as the degree to which the armed forces leave the levers of political power and the nature of the successor regime depend on both external, societal, or ecological factors as well as internal, organizational, or institutional ones. The former refers to political, economic, and social elements while the latter denotes professional military concerns. In short, both societal and institutional dimensions determine whether and to what degree the armed forces will leave power, when they will do it, and how they will do so. Let us address each question separately.

The Setting The following essays clearly suggest a positive correlation between high levels of socio-economic development and the degree to which the military are disposed to leave the levers of authority. Defined as "an overall process that involves urbanization, industrialization, commercialization of agriculture, media and communications development, diversification of the occupational structure, and related process,"6 socioeconomic development is responsible for the emergence of middle classes with social and individual attitudes which propagate, legitimize, and facilitate political participation. Higher degrees of socio-economic development often correspond with larger middle classes and advanced levels of participation, and vice versa. Huntington and Nelson cite five spin-offs resulting from high levels of socio-economic development and participation: (1) expansion of education which promotes social mobility, greater awareness, and political consciousness; (2) emerging conflict between new and traditional groups leads to social and political diversity; (3) proliferation in the number of professional groups and associations; (4) expansion of the functions of government. The latter multiplies the ways government affects the citizens lives and in turn precipitates a greater urge on the part of the citizenry to take part in the decisions affecting them; and (5) a closer identification between the individuals and the state. 7 Military organization can not help but be affected by such societal manifestations, just like other social groups and institutions. In fact, as Abrahamsson states, the professionalization and the attitudes the military hold at a given time are a function of both environmental and institutional processes. 8 In other words, military regimes and the officer corps are aware of socio-economic development, and are affected by its manifestations. High levels of socio-economic development and participation generate greater pressure on military regimes to withdraw and allow for civilian rule, while lower levels lead to civilianization and the emergence of civilian-military coalitions.

Military Dictatorships in Retreat


Benin and Burkina Faso clearly illustrate how low levels of socioeconomic development constitute serious obstacles toward the establishment of civilian rule. Ethnic fragmentation, poverty, chronic budget deficits, illiteracy, and economic stagnation have not generated viable social and political groups demanding participation in the governing process. Under such circumstances only limited disengagement has occurred. Professor Welch foresees "a continuing interventionist role for the armed forces," with young and ambitious officers making an effort to guide these fragmented and impoverished countries of Francophone Africa "through the travails of a difficult transition." In fact, absence of socio-economic groups capable to provide leadership, in Welch's view, explains the limited role of civilians in these states. The officer corps constitutes the most organized and perhaps best educated social force in Burkina Faso and, to a somewhat lesser extent, in Benin. Similar conditions led the South Korean military in the early 1960s to assume political control in that Asian country. The praetorian rulers formed a coalition with civilian technocrats, installed a circumscribed constitutional framework guaranteeing a dominant role for the military in the political affairs of the country, and launched an ambitious and largely successful program designed to modernize their country's stagnant economy. Yet, as Professor Kim argues, the very success of this effort generated demands for participation by the new better educated and ever increasing middle classes. The competitive and relatively open presidential elections held in Korea earlier this year, which led to the first peaceful transition of power since the military take-over, in a very large measure came about as a result of riots and demonstrations led by students, workers, and other social groups demanding a voice in the decision-making process. However, divisions within the ranks of opposition, radicalization on the part of certain groups, and threats of recrimination again~! the military have convinced the Korean generals to opt for limited ahd gradual civilianization rather than abrupt return to the barracks in favor of civilian rule. The Panamanian situation as described by Professor Feldman displays considerable parallels. Professor Remington links re-establishment of Party supremacy in Poland to its ability to rejuvenate itself and provide the necessary leadership. The sooner the Jaruzelski regime manages to rebuild the Communist Party and restores the economy the sooner the Polish military will return to the barracks. Remington clearly attributes limited disengagement in that country to the slow pace of Party reform. Although social pressures on the Brazilian praetorians were much more subtle in comparison to South Korea, nonetheless the very success of the Brazilian regime in bringing about impressive but uneven economic development, contain the urban guerrilla movement, retract labor unions,


Constantine P. Danopoulos

and convince the opposition of the futility of radical solutions and recriminations against the military convinced the majority of officers to opt for return to the barracks. Professor Coelho states the Brazilian military predicament succinctly: "the military began to realize that the regime's alternatives were either abertura or a brutal dictatorship. Power had already been concentrated to the utmost, and the isolation of the regime in relation to the civil society was complete." Under the circumstances the regime settled for a "slow," "gradual," and "secure" withdrawal, known as abertura-a model that the Turkish military followed with striking similarity. The existence of middle class elements consisting of students, workers, and entrepreneurs can be credited for having put sufficient pressure on the praetorian regimes of Argentina, Greece, and Peru which led to their eventual demise. In all three instances the failure of the military rulers to protect the interests of these groups and to uproot established political institutions led to loss of legitimacy, eventual withdrawal, and re-establishment of civilian authority. The Peruvian generals seemed to have read the signs better than their Argentine and Greek counterparts and proceeded to bring about withdrawal in an orderly fashion. The Argentine and Greek juntas, on the other hand, engaged in foreign policy adventures in an effort to salvage the sinking fortunes of these two regimes. The Falkland/Malvinas crisis of the early 1980s and the Greek Colonels' ill-fated Cyprus adventure of 1974 emanated from strong and growing demands for participation and re-establishment of democratic procedures at home. The November 1973 student and worker uprising in Greece dealt a blow to the Colonels' legitimacy building effort and discredited Papadopoulos' civilianization scheme. The Cyprus debacle simply hastened the inevitable.

The Timing Although socio-economic factors affect the context as well as the degree of disengagement, by virtue of their almost unchallenged role as managers of violence, the military are in a strong position to influence the timing as well as the degree of withdrawal and the nature of the successor regime. When the armed forces relinquish the levers of political power, they do so either voluntarily or involuntarily; the latter resulting from pressure exerted by a force which can be an outside power or an internal uprising, or a combination thereof. Given the fact that the armed forces constitute the most powerful and often the best organized and disciplined organization in changing societies, withdrawal comes about, for the most part, voluntarily-although there have been some instances where disengagement was undertaken in the face of a compelling force,

Military Dictatorships in Retreat


either external or internal. Although the distinction between forced and voluntary motives may become blurred and the behavior can be a mix, the timing and often the degree of disengagement is a result of attitudes the military hold at a given time which are shaped by societal and organizational adaptations. Like intervention, disengagement is either instigated or retarded by the particulars of each individual case and the corresponding attitudes of the praetorians. The disposition or motivation to disengage refers to a situation in which the military, or a portion of it, becomes convinced that the time has come for the armed forces to return to its prescribed professional mission (i.e., to protect the state against external threats) and allow for some kind of civilian rule instead. This attitude is generally generated by four factors operating independently or in conjunction with one another: (a) the nature of the intervention itself and the ensuing praetorian rule, (b) the performance of soldiers as political governors, (c) professional military concerns, and (d) the availability of an acceptable alternative. The Nature of Intervention. The nature of intervention and the type of military rule is often essential as to how the military perceives both its immediate and long-range goals and, at least partially, determine its behavior and actions. Eric Nordlinger identifies three types of interventionism depending on the way the military perceives itself vis-a-vis the society: praetorian moderator, praetorian guardian, and praetorian ruler. The first type is characterized by indirect intervention where military officers exert a great deal of influence on a variety of governmental decisions, but stop short of assuming total control of the government. Praetorian moderators are protectors of middle classes and defenders of the status quo. But when a new political force threatens the existing order, they may "carry out a displacement coup-one in which a government is prevented from taking office and is replaced by another group of civilians that is more malleable or acceptable to the military."9 Argentina in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Brazil throughout the twentieth century (until1964), and many other Latin American countries are considered examples where the military have assumed a moderator's role. Under such circumstances, withdrawal is automatic, unless moderators decide to change their role from indirect to direct participation in the governing process. In the latter case they transform themselves to either guardians or rulers. Guardians, like moderators, are also defenders of middle classes and committed to the status quo. Their principal aim is "to correct what seem to be the malpractices" of civilian governments: their tenure in power tends to be of relative short duration. Since their aim is to preserve the status quo, rather than generate change, guardians withdraw voluntarily as soon as they accomplish their goals which include "the


Constantine P. Danopoulos

removal of squabbling, corrupt, and excessively partisan politicians, the revamping of the governmental and bureaucratic machinery. . . . " 10 Professor James Brown's essay on Turkey illustrates the guardian role the Turkish military have and continue to play. Perceiving itself as the heir of Kemalism, the Turkish armed forces intervened directly in 1960 and again in 1981 when factionalism and bickering among the country's political elites threatened the very fabric of the modem Turkish state as established by its founder, Kemal Atatiirk. In both cases, the military "sought to dear up the mess" and returned to the barracks allowing for civilian rule, although the latest withdrawal (1983) and the authority of the civilian regime appear to be much more circumscribed than previously. The recent role of the military in Poland has been described in fairly similar terms. The Polish military took over in 1981 only when it became apparent that the ruling Communist Party was suffering from a state of exhaustion and paralysis; and was no longer capable of coping with the country's severe economic problems, and fending off the challenge presented by the increasingly militant but organizationally polarized Solidarity movement and the Catholic Church. Professor Robin Remington points out that the Polish military "feel uncomfortable with its political role" and would like to withdraw as soon as the Party is sufficiently rejuvenated and capable of effectively attending the affairs of the state. If guardians feel that the problem is more difficult than they had anticipated, and if they become convinced that the state and society require a greater degree of reform, they may prolong their stay in power or transform themselves into rulers. Praetorian rulers, unlike moderators and guardians, attempt to control "large slices" of both political and economic power and strive to implement ambitious policies such as land and educational reform, industrialization, and social mobilization. In achieving these "traumatic" transformations, praetorian rulers make no definite commitment to return power to civilians and instead "penetrate" the society often employing heavy-handed tactics such as press censorship, repression of dissent, and uprooting all independent or semi-independent political organizations. 11 Although praetorian rulers strive hard, they rarely accomplish their far-reaching objectives and often become disposed to withdraw from the levers of political power or civilianize their regime, as the guardians do, but for different reasons. Performance. Performance in office is another consideration often disposing officers toward withdrawal. Defined as "the extent to which governments attain those goals and exhibit those operating features that are much desired by the population themselves and seen as intrinsically desirable by outside observers,'' 12 performance is essential to a regime's stay in office. Lack of adequate performance can cause "legitimacy

Military Dictatorships in Retreat


deflation" for the praetorian regime as it did for its civilian predecessor which stimulated intervention in the first place. Legitimacy, that is "the capacity . . . to develop and maintain a general belief that the existing social order and its main solutions are generally appropriate," 13 is directly tied to performance and an illegitimate or nonlegitimate regime "is not long for this world."14 For praetorian guardians and rulers, much more than moderators who have rather limited objectives, performance takes on an accentuated urgency. In the initial stages, military governments may enjoy tolerance but not legitimacy. The latter must be earned and is accorded after an acceptable performance. If a regime, civilian or military, is to perform adequately, at the very minimum, it has to have a sense of unity within its ranks, dear direction and policy goals, an effective system of communications, support from key social elements, and an efficacious decision-making apparatus. The record shows that for the most part military regimes suffer from factionalism, lack of dear directions and programs, and inability to work effectively with other social organizations, including bureaucracies. Quite frequently, therefore, praetorian governments fail to perform adequately and cloak their regimes with a mantle of legitimacy. Such failures often lead social and economic elites to withhold or withdraw support (if they had rendered it in the initial stages), thus causing regime deflation which, in tum, stimulates officers to consider withdrawal. As a number of our case studies indicate, lack of adequate performance is at the heart of the dissolution of military regimes, especially of the ruler type. The Peruvian experience certainly fits that bill. As Professor Carlos Astiz ably points out, the Peruvian "institutional" military regime's performance in economic and social policies left a great deal to be desired. Citing levels of caloric intake, inflation, and wages, on a comparative basis, as well as unsuccessful efforts at land reform and foreign policy innovation, Astiz concludes that the Peruvian military failed dismally "in its self-assigned role as the nation's developmental elite," and clearly attributes the regime's demise to its inability to solve Peru's vexing economic and social problems. The aims and record of the Greek praetorian regime in many ways followed remarkably similar paths. Of the five modernization objectiveseconomic development, bureaucratic modernization, educational reform, social harmony, and a healthy political life-that the military set for themselves, none was achieved. The Colonels' inefficiency, lack of clarity in their objectives, arbitrariness, corruption, and nepotism rendered their regime illegitimate. It was this failure that caused the Greek military rulers to initiate foreign policy adventure in an effort to shore up their


Constantine P. Danopoulos

flagging regime. Instead of buying time for the regime, as the Colonels hoped, the Cyprus debacle of July 1974 proved to be their epitaph. The Argentine military's record is almost a replica of its counterpart in Greece. There are indeed many parallels between the Cyprus regime and the Galtieri regime's hasty and ill prepared attempt in 1982 to force Argentine sovereignty on the Falkland/Malvinas Islands. As Professor Dennis Gordon rightly points out, the Argentine junta's decision to initiate the Falkland/Malvinas crisis was an effort to wrap itself with the Argentine flag and present itself as the regime which realized the nation's dream: to chase the colonialists away and take over the islands that rightfully belonged to the proud Argentine nation. But behind this adventure loomed a host of performance failures including widespread "dissatisfaction with the government's economic and political policies." The military regime's efforts to open the economy to outside competition and lower wages 50 percent by attracting "costly" foreign capital significantly contributed to speculation, corruption, inflation, and increased foreign participation. In turn, the country's foreign debt increased dramatically, internal markets shrank, and many businesses defaulted. As a result, the regime's efforts to reorganize the economy "were lost in the shoals of stagnation and hyperinflation." Successful performance, though not a very widespread phenomenon, may also lead to pressure on praetorian regimes to disengage. Recent developments in South Korea suggest that pressure on the military to democratize the nation's political processes stems from the success of the Korean economy. This success, as Professor Kim eloquently points out, led to the emergence of a large middle class, consisting of students, industrial workers, and business people, who have put increasing demands on the Chun government for greater participation in the decision making process and the right to elect their leaders in a democratic fashion. In other words, the government of President Chun and his successor's is opposed by the "very products of modernization which the regime might have been instrumental in creating." In a more limited sense, the Turkish military having achieved their limited objectives (i.e., to eradicate social violence, reduce inflation, and stop the economic slide) allowed return to civilian rule, albeit of a more circumscribed type than previously. Successful performance is likely to lead to further disengagement in Poland, Benin, and Burkina Faso. The faster the Jaruzelski regime is able to rebuild the Communist Party and "repair" it sufficiently so that it can resume its "leading role," the more speedily the regime may civilianize itself and pave the way for return to full civilian rule in Poland. The chances of withdrawal and democratization in Benin and Burkina Faso, as Professor Welch suggests, may depend on the ability and success of the present military-civilian ruling coalitions to bring

Military Dictatorships in Retreat


about fundamental change in the social and economic infrastructure of these two impoverished countries of francophone Africa. Professionalism. Professionalism is the third factor which determines the attitudes of the military regarding withdrawal and is closely connected to performance, though not always. Military professionalism, defined in terms of role specialization, responsibility, and corporateness "render the military into a politically powerful and often independent social force." 15 To preserve this status the military can intervene in politics, as exemplified in a large number of cases, but also withdraw from active politics if circumstances render it more beneficial to the corporate interests of the organization. For the military, to remain in power would mean erosion of the institution's social standing, alienation from the populace, embarrassment, loss of prestige, further politicization, factionalism, and neglect of preparedness. Singularly or in combination, these weaken the armed forces' ability to perform its primary function which is the protection of the state, hamper its effectiveness as a pressure group, and endanger its long-range professional interests. A number of case studies in this volume seem to exemplify the impact of professionalism on the decision of the military to return to the barracks. Professor Coelho's analysis of the particulars of the Brazilian abertura is one case in point. He states that "the institutional costs of power . . . proved to be very taxing in the armed forces. . . . " The military realized that a prolonged stay in power would further damage the corporate interests of the armed forces, including internal discipline and hierarchy. Greece exhibits a number of striking similarities. The unpopularity of the corrupt and discredited praetorian regime frightened many officers and rendered them vulnerable to the charge that they had neglected their professional mission. In Professor David Feldman's analysis, the Panamanian military's deintervention can be attributed, at least partially, to professional considerations. Military officers became convinced that allowing selected civilians to man the formal offices of authority would "enhance the Guard's stature as a professional organization by reducing internal squabbling, [and] ... strengthen the Guard's informal perquisites which were originally rewards for its expertise." The experience of South Korea in many ways parallels the Panamanian case. Professor Kim maintains that the South Korean junta leaders transformed themselves into civilian politicians largely because they felt that this would ensure their personal survival, and guarantee the privileged status of the armed forces. Finally, Poland is still another example where professional concerns appear to be playing a leading role in the civilianization of the Jaruzelski regime. Professor Remington states, "As professional soldiers the Polish military may well


Constantine P. Danopoulos

be uneasy about the impact of taking on the responsibility of political and economic stabilization." Availability of an Acceptable Alternative. While the nature of intervention and military rule, performance in office, and professional considerations are telling factors establishing the disposition or motive to withdraw, no disengagement (partial or complete) can take place "unless and until some alternative is organized in such a way as to present a real choice" 16 to existing rule. Governments do not voluntarily relinquish power to the mob; the military, given their background which emphasizes law and order, are even less inclined to accept ochlocracy. To the extent that alternative exists may be the result of intentional planning on the part of the military itself, or may be forced upon it by forces and circumstances within the armed forces or society, or a combination thereof. Analysis of the particulars of the Turkish, Panamanian, and Brazilian cases exemplify how and why praetorian regimes in a careful and controlled manner planned succession in such a way as to ensure a continuing role for the military in the political affairs of these societies. Professor Brown argues that in the 1980s the Turkish military after imposing a ban on certain undesirable precoup political leaders, encouraged the formation of "acceptable" political parties, and established an electoral system which discourages and even penalizes smaller political formations by making it difficult, if not impossible, to win representation in the National Assembly. Once these and a new constitution, which legalizes for a sustained political role for the military, were in place the praetorian rulers turned over the government to Turgut Ozal, winner of the 1983 elections and leader of the Motherland Party. In Panama, as Professor Feldman points out, General Torrijos first coopted "only a handful of carefully chosen politicians and civil servants to serve in his government;" then amended the constitution in 1978 to allow for a transition to circumscribed civilian rule in the early 1980s; and finally created a political party, the Democratic Revolutionary Party, in an effort "to fill the void of power once the Guard returned to the barracks." The Brazilian abertura, too, is a clear example of planned withdrawal designed to "democratize" and civilianize the governmental process, and at the same time to carve a substantial niche for the military in Brazil's political equation. The praetorian regime orchestrated the formation of its own political party, ARENA (later PDS), but also allowed the emergence of an acceptable opposition party (MOB). When abertura reached a point in 1984-85 which called for the indirect election of a civilian to the presidency of the republic, the military appeared ready to accept the election of Tancredo Neves, candidate of the opposition.

Military Dictatorships in Retreat


Argentina, Greece, and Peru (all three with relatively strong preintervention political structures) constitute examples where the military failed to establish their own political parties and, despite their efforts, did not succeed to dismantle the pre-intervention political formations. When the military withdrew, power was returned to the same political establishments which lay dormant during the years of military rule and which resurfaced as soon as bans against them were lifted. In Argentina, the Peronist and the Radical parties competed in the 1983 elections as vigorously as before. The conservative New Democracy in Greece, and the Popular Action and APRA in Peru, are nothing but continuations of pre-intervention political entities. In the case of Greece, even the individuals were the same. Lack of an acceptable alternative may impede or slow the military's disposition to disengage. There have been instances where the military, or a portion of it, seemed disposed to return to the barracks but lack of viable alternative has prevented this disposition from being implemented. Professor Robin Remington's chapter on Poland indicates that it was the failure and virtual disintegration of the ruling Polish United Workers' Party which necessitated the intervention of the Polish military in December 1981. Remington concludes that the party's continuing inability to assume its place as the leading force in Polish society has prevented the return to full-scale civilian rule. Absence of an acceptable alternative can also be said to stall regime liberalization and civilianization in both Benin and Burkina Faso. As Professor Welch concludes, economic difficulties and social political fragmentation make the prospects for transition from military to civilian democratic rule problematic. A similar case can be made regarding Chile where factionalism and lack of unity among civilian leaders has strengthened General Pinochet's hand and is said to be responsible for the prolongation of praetorian rule in that South American country. There are also grounds to argue that portions of the Greek military, especially elements in the navy and air force, would have pressed for return to civilian rule much earlier than they actually did had there been a viable alternative available. The military regime's tendency to treat pre-coup civilian leaders as politically "dead," along with divisions and lack of a clear program of action among the civilians' leadership, failed to present the latter as an acceptable alternative. The regime's failure and inconsistencies caused some officers eventually to tum to the old politicians for help to sustain themselves in power and legitimize their regime. In the minds of many officers, the appointment of Spyros Markezinis in late 1973 to the post of prime minister re-established the old civilian leadership as an alternative to civilian rule.


Constantine P. Danopoulos

The Methods While the nature of intervention and military rule, performance in office, professional considerations, and the existence of an acceptable alternative are telling factors affecting disengagement, no transition can take place without the necessary force or a constellation of forces to bring it about. There seem to be two sets of forces capable of providing the necessary push for withdrawal or civilianization: external/ecological and internal/institutional. The former refers to political, social, and economic forces operating in the country concerned as well as pressures from foreign powers with which military regimes are tied closely or depend economically; the latter includes attitudes, considerations, and developments within the military institution itself. ExternaljEcological Considerations. There seem to be three stimulation forces comprising the externaljecological set: pressure from civilian opposition, encouragement by powerful foreign countries, and a cataclysmic policy outcome. The civilian factor: Organized civilian groups through strikes, demonstrations, worker stoppages, and other forms of civil disobedience or outright revolt, can make the life of the military regime unbearable and force it to relinquish power. By and large, civilian pressure is a weak stimulus. For social ferment is exactly what the military abhor and tend to react against. Besides, as Nordlinger suggests, "they (civilians) simply do not have sufficient numbers, organization, and weapons to defeat the military." 17 However, some instances can be cited where civilian pressure sufficiently weakened military regimes and precipitated disgruntled officers to act. In addition, one may also argue that civilian pressure can be responsible for creating an atmosphere which prompts the praetorians to take steps, sometimes drastic ones, to reassert their once unchallenged position. Such moves can be ill-conceived or even fatal if they generate opposition to the regime by elements who had previously shown tolerance toward it. One can say that the student-worker uprising in Greece in November 1973, while it did not topple the Colonels, did shatter their confidence, exposed their seeming invincibility, accentuated divisions within the ruling circles, and compelled the hard-liners to re-impose martial law and to employ force to quell the revolt. These discredited Papadopoulos' limited civilianization and paved the way for his replacement with the less flexible Brigadier Joannidis through a palace coup. From this point on the praetorian regime's days seemed numbered as the military became associated with brutality and the taking of human life, in addition to other problems. Even the most conservative elements of the Greek society came to the conclusion that support for the Colonels was no longer advantageous.

Military Dictatorships in Retreat


The Peruvian military's withdrawal was partly stimulated by strikes and other actions of civil disobedience. In an effort to control the situation, the military rulers, as Professor Astiz points out, intensified the use of coercion which in tum "increased the level of dissatisfaction" and contributed to their eventual withdrawal. Professor Coelho also attributes the disengagement of the Brazilian military, at least in part, to actions by the civilians. The Brazilian Generals became convinced that the regime's alternative to abertura would be a brutal dictatorship which would further isolate the military from the civil society. To this Coelho adds the "skill of the opposition groups (civilians) in raising challenges and affirming their presence through the electoral process. . . . " Recent demonstrations in South Korea, where students and other middle class elements, demonstrated in favor of free elections may have prevailed upon President Chun Doo-Huan and his successor, Roh Tai Woo, to make concessions which could eventually strengthen the position of the civilian element in that country. After all, civilian demonstrations were instrumental in bringing down the Rhee regime in 1960. A similar thing may occur in Panama where popular demonstrations favor democratization and the removal of General Noriega from his powerful position as Commander of the Guard and de facto ruler of Panama. Finally, on rare occasions civilian opposition can take the form of armed opposition through guerrilla warfare tactics which can either put enough pressure on the military to withdraw or cause the defeat or disintegration of the regular army. The Batista regime in Cuba, and more recently General Somoza's downfall in Nicaragua can be cited as examples where armed uprising, at least in part, brought down the military supported regimes in these two countries and installed radical civilian ones in their place. On the other hand, the Thai army was obliged to restore elections and representative government in order to obtain greater popular support for the government to cope with the threat posed by the leftist insurgency in Thailand. The foreign factor: Foreign pressure as a stimulus to civilianization or disengagement implies that a powerful foreign country with which a military regime has close ties or depends on economically and politically prevails upon the praetorian rulers to return to the barracks. Professional military ties may be used as an avenue through which an outside power could exert influence on the actions of a praetorian military. This is especially true if the armed forces depend on that outside power for military aid, weapons, supplies, and advanced training-all of which lead to a patron-client relationship. Pressure to disengage comes when the military regime in question is corrupt, has a record of involvement in illegal drug trafficking, has a bad record on human rights, its foreign policy is not consistent with the interests of the great power, or its


Constantine P. Danopoulos

inadequate performance damages the interest of the patron state. Aside from diplomatic leverage, the foreign power has other means at its disposal to influence the situation such as reducing or even cutting off military or economic aid, scaling down commercial activities, and being less than supportive when it comes to negotiating loans (or restructuring existing ones) with great power-based financial institutions. The last can also apply to dealings with transnational institutions such as the International Monetary Fund. A number of Latin American military regimes were forced to disengage in part due to pressure exerted from Washington, especially during the presidency of Jimmy Carter (1976-1980). The transfer of power in Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador, and Guatemala was brought about as a result of President Carter's human rights policy and his willingness to use military and economic assistance as levers to pressure the military of these countries to withdraw to the barracks and allow the return of civilian rule. The abominable human rights record of these regimes as well as their involvement in the sale of illegal drugs had become an embarrassment to Washington and, in Carter's view, threatened longterm American interests in that region of the world. In another way, the great power may cause disengagement by deserting a military regime at a critical moment. For example, the United States supported the Colonels in Greece until it became apparent that the regime's handling of the Cyprus issue was damaging American and NATO interests. In fact, there are some indications that the United States may have played an active role in the junta's downfall as well as in the make up of its successor. A similar conclusion can be drawn from the Argentine case where the Reagan administration deserted the Galtieri government during the critical hours of the 1982 Argentine-British war over the FalklandsjMalvinas. There are grounds to believe that Anastasio Somoza would still be running Nicaragua if the United States had not ceased supporting him. Finally, a foreign power may use brute military force to topple a regime or force it from office. The destruction of Idi Amin in Uganda, Bokassa in the Central African Empire, and Pol Pot in Kampuchea were brought about by the invading forces of Tanzania, France, and Vietnam respectively. Cataclysmic policy: The third stimulus in the external/ecological set can be generated by a cataclysmic policy outcome, denoting a situation in which a key policy (usually foreign) has gone sour, damaging vital popular interests and the nation's international standing. This causes praetorian regimes to lose the moral right to govern and brings into question the military's ability to perform its prescribed mission. It could be argued with some justification that performance failures and lack of

Military Dictatorships in Retreat


legitimacy may cause a regime to engage in risky undertakings with the hope of rallying popular support behind them. Be that as it may, cataclysmic policy outcomes have become the epitaph of several military regimes in modem times. Three examples stand out: Pakistan in the early 1970s, Greece in 1974, and Argentina in 1982. The defeat of the Pakistani forces at the hands of the Indian army and the resulting loss of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) destroyed General Yaya Khan's regime, forcing the military to withdraw and hand power over to the civilians, headed by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The failure of the Greek junta to eliminate Archbishop Makarios and stop the Turkish armed forces from invading and eventually occupying forty percent of Cyprus prompted the Greek military to bring down the Joannidis regime and invite the civilian leadership to take over governing the country. Finally, Argentina's defeat by Britain in the war over the FalklandsjMalvinas forced that country's military praetorians to proclaim elections which resulted in the installation of a civilian government under President Alfonsin. The FalklandsjMalvinas fiasco, in Professor Gordon's words, rendered the Argentine "military government as. discredited as it is possible for any government to be" and made it virtually impossible for it to justify its continuation in office. Institutional Considerations. The institutional/internal set, which, as mentioned previously, refers to stimuli for some kind of withdrawal emanating from within the military institution itself, consists of two disengagement paths: a countercoup (or a threatened one) by fellow officers, and voluntary withdrawal. The countercoup option is generally associated with dissatisfaction among officers who feel that prolonging military rule may be harmful to their personal careers as well as the corporate interests of the military institution. Such attitudes can be the result of two factors. The first is that a group of officers, usually those who have not taken an active role in carrying out the coup or the ensuing praetorian regime, adhere to the Clausewitzian principle that "the subordination of the political view to the military would be contrary to common sense." 18 To such officers, military involvement in politics divides the armed forces, impacts negatively on their preparedness to carry out their primary mission (i.e., to protect the state against outside threats), and warps the internal organizational structure of the armed forces. A somewhat different variant occurs when disagreement among officers as to policies and the general direction of the country leads the military to bring in civilian technocrats to take charge. More often than not, squabbling and disagreements besiege the military as to whether it should intervene and what to do with its newly acquired power. It is such divisions and the constant threat of countercoups that often


Constantine P. Danopoulos

prevail upon the armed forces, or a portion thereof, to remove officers opposed to extrication and then to proceed with a withdrawal timetable. Any number of examples illustrate the countercoup method as a stimulus to withdrawal. Divisions within the Peruvian armed forces, which resulted from disagreements over choice of policies and models of development to be followed, made continuation of the "institutional" military regime very difficult. Professor Astiz documents that deposed officers, as well as other elements within the military, directed their political efforts toward an electoral transfer of power and prevailed upon the Bermudez administration to announce in 1977 the transfer of power to a popularly elected government. A similar sequence of events occurred in other Latin American countries such as Bolivia, Guatemala, and Honduras; as well as in Greece, the Sudan, and Nigeria. In Portugal, on the other hand, officers led by moderate elements concluded that turning power over to a democratically elected civilian government was in the best interests of the country as well as to the benefit of the nation's armed forces whose discipline, preparedness, unity, and professionalism had suffered a great deal as a result of politicization and direct exercise of power (1974-1976). It was the abortive countercoup of 1976, in which leftist elements sought to seize power and impose a radical regime, which spurred the moderates to support withdrawal and the establishment of an elected civilian regime as a way of solving Portugal's political crisis and to bring about some badly needed unity in the military institution. Finally, the military may be stimulated to disengage when they conclude that: their mission has been accomplished (moderators and guardians are especially prone to such a conclusion), it is in the best corporate interests of their institution, worsening political, social, and economic conditions may spur a social upheaval and violence, or they lack adequate personnel to run the government. The Turkish withdrew to the barracks and allowed for civilian rule both in the 1960s and 1980s, when they felt that their mission to safeguard the principles of Kemalism had been accomplished. The civilianization of the South Korean military regime in the 1960s was undertaken when the military felt that they had accomplished their goals of restoring the nation's social order and had launched it on a path of sustained economic growth and development. The fact that many in the military concluded that the services of the technocratic community were essential also weighed in the decision to civilianize. . The Brazilian and Peruvian military regimes disengaged in the 1980s to protect the image of the military institution. As both Professors Coelho and Astiz have separately concluded, elements within the Brazilian and Peruvian military felt that prolonging their stay in power through

Military Dictatorships in Retreat


the use of brute force would harm the interests and image of the armed forces and so pushed for withdrawal and restoration of civilian rule. A similar consideration prevailed upon the Panamanian soldiers to civilianize their regime in a "planned and phased" fashion. Professor Feldman cites three reasons which account for "de-intervention" in that country: the belief that civilianization would not reduce the political and economic role of the Guard; the desire to protect the Guard's privileges and perquisites; and the realization that remaining in power would damage the dominant role of the Guard as it would become associated with possible economic failures and general performance shortcomings. Lastly, the extent of civilianization that has occurred in Benin and Burkina Faso, in Professor Welch's opinion, reflects the desire of young military leaders of these countries to "develop new political institutions," and also the realization the small size of their respective officer corps could not furnish an adequate number of trained personnel to man the offices of government. Successor Set-Up

The substantial differences in the level as well as in the reasons for withdrawalfcivilianization can be expected to also be reflected in the type and nature of successor regimes. The remainder of this chapter will draw some generalizations regarding a typology of successor regimes and the role of the military in them, and the reasons which account for such differences. The future of civilian rule and democratization will be analyzed in the concluding chapter. The respective roles of the military and civilian elites have been used to classify modem regimes along a continuum from praetorian- to civiliandominated, with any number of variations in between. Regimes where the military hold a decisive role are generally considered praetorian, while those in which the civilian element predominates are referred to as civilian dominated. Modem military officers, by virtue of their mission, expertise, training, and other professional requisites, have gained an increased foothold in the political sphere and as a consequence play a role in the formulation and implementation of national security policy of all nations, including Western liberal democracies where civilian domination is taken for granted. 19 National security is no longer concerned with the raising of an army capable to fend off an enemy attack. Instead, it involves standing armies with huge budgets, general staffs, contingency plans of all kinds, and elaborate support systems which touch almost every area of governmental policy-foreign, trade, and economic included. It is no exaggeration to say that the military play a role in defining the

Constantine P. Danopoulos


national interests of all countries, democratic, totalitarian, and authoritarian. On the other hand, civilian elements play a role in praetorian regimes as well. Out of necessity or choice, military rulers often find it essential to include groups of selected and trusted civilians in cabinet or other policy-making posts. In Western liberal democracies and some totalitarian regimes where legitimacy and institutionalization are high, the military is able to make its voice heard through normative, institutional, and group processes, or a combination thereof. Even in some authoritarian situations, like Salazar's Portugal and Franco's Spain, channels of communication and influence exist allowing the military and also certain civilian elements to influence the policy-making process. The distinction between civilian-military-dominated regimes, then, lies in the level and degree of authority exercised by the group (civilian or military) occupying the formal levers of power, the range of autonomy in making decisions, the degree to which subordinate elements are willing to accept and execute the decisions of their nominal superiors, and the level or nature of influence exercised by the subordinate group. As the following chapters illustrate, withdrawal and civilianization do not always lead to democracy or full civilian rule. Instead, only a relatively few cases can be cited where the military disengaged and made room for civilian supremacy and political democracy. The latter, as a "procedural minimum," includes: secret balloting, universal adult suffrage, regular elections, partisan competition, executive accountability, and associational recognition and access. 20 Based on the analyses regarding the nature of post-disengagement civil-military relations of the countries included in this volume, successor regimes can be divided into three distinct categories, although the distinction between them may well be a matter of time-frame, as regimes do not stand still but evolve, adapt, and change. The three successor regimes (or three types of civil-military relations) are: 1. military-civilian coalitions, 2. civilian-military coalitions, and 3. civilian-dominated regimes. Let us elaborate on each one individually.

Military-Civilian Coalitions A military-civilian coalition refers to a regime where the military and selected civilians man the offices of government and supposedly share the travails of policy-making and execution. In this scheme, the rulers

Military Dictatorships in Retreat


continue "to use the military as the main base of power for their regime." 21 The military generally maintains a decisive advantage and is considered to perceive the role of civilians as purely auxiliary and often ornamental. Civilians may simply be picked by the military from a cluster of individuals who share the philosophy and policies of the military rulers, or chosen through controlled and stage-managed elections in which only those considered safe and acceptable are allowed to contest. The actual role of the civilian element may vary considerably, ranging from a limited and auxiliary role one in Benin and Burkina Faso, to the purely technocratic in South Korea, to the more substantial one in Turkey. In the latter case, the civilian government of Prime Minister Ozal seems to have a relatively strong hand in economic affairs and foreign policy while the military, through President General Evren, retains control over national and domestic security and the handling of the Cyprus issue. Both institutional and societal considerations explain why the military would choose a military-civilian successor scheme. In the countries of francophone Africa, as Professor Welch eloquently points out, continuing social and political fragmentation, poor economic conditions, as well as lack of adequate military personnel to man the offices of government have prevailed upon Kerekou, Sankara (and the latter's successor, Captain Compaore), and their associates in the armed forces to opt for militarycivilian coalitions in their respective countries. On the other hand, the very success of the South Korean officers as political governors, bickering in the ranks of the opposition, the threat from the north, and fear of retributions against the military by a civilian-dominated government seem the main reasons behind the Korean case. Lastly, the Turkish armed forces' role as the "guardian" of Kemalism threatened by economic difficulties, political divisions, and the rising tides of Muslim fundamentalism have caused the military to retain a more pervasive role in the political affairs of the country in the 1980s than before.

Civilian-Military Coalitions The civilian-military coalition category is characterized by a situation in which civilians occupy formal governmental posts, but exercise power according to the wishes or in the name of the military who set the tone, and approve or veto policies from their barracks. As in the previous category, only approved or tolerated politicians are allowed to compete for governmental posts and elections are held under the watchful eye of the military. The latter may even step in and remove elected civilians who do not want to play the game by the rules and who may have forgotten that they are no more than stooges for the real power holders, the military. Needless to say that there are differences in the degree of the actual military role and the level of civilian participation and authority.


Constantine P. Danopoulos

As in the case of military-civilian coalitions, civilian-military ones are also dictated or influenced by both societal and institutional considerations, with the latter being somewhat more important. The Panamanian and Brazilian examples, despite their differences, exemplify the civilian-military coalition category. In Panama, as Professor Feldman analyzes, the National Guard's "de-intervention" can be explained by purely institutional considerations alluded to earlier in this essay and fully substantiated in the relevant chapter. The role of the civilian in that country is circumscribed and the Guard has actually dismissed three civilian presidents that it (the Guard) helped elect. There is no question that the Guard is clearly the dominant actor in the present governing scheme in this Central American country. Although it is too early to tell, the Brazilian military has given considerably more authority to the civilian government, but kept a vigilant eye over the election process which was limited and indirect with only approved civilians allowed to run for political office. Institutional considerations plus a wish to avoid taking harsh measures against the rising tides of opposition, divisions within the armed forces desire to see their policies continued are cited by Professor Coelho as the chief reasons why the Brazilian praetorians chose the civilian-military coalition succession scheme. Finally, Poland constitutes a somewhat different variant of the civilianmilitary type, although the Polish case is far more complicated and difficult given the lack of distinction and/ or differences between the Party and the military in terms of desired policies and goals. As Professor Remington states, the military took over not to implement their own policies, but instead to run the government at the behest of the bankrupt Communist Party and/ or the Soviet Union. In spite of the fact that the military officers still occupy many governmental positions, enough civilianization has occurred to dub Poland as being in transition from a military-civilian to a civilian-military coalition. The continuing troubles of the Party and Jaruzelski's relative success are responsible for the present state of civil-military relations in Poland.

Civilian-Dominated Regimes Lastly, the civilian-dominated category, by far the least extant, refers to a governmental situation characterized by civilian supremacy over the military, with the latter willing to execute the policies of their superordinates and only influencing policy-making in relevant areas through normative, group, or institutional processes. In this scheme, the military "provides advice but does not challenge the authority of the

Military Dictatorships in Retreat


civilian political leadership even if the decision of the civilian authorities is contrary to the advice submitted by the military."22 However, because institutionalization, legitimacy, and the rule of law, generally speaking, are not well established, the military of such countries may threaten to carry out a coup in order to induce the civilian leaders to heed their demands. In other words, nominal civilian supremacy does not necessarily mean military subordination, and acceptance of the rule of law and the principles of the hierarchy of command. Conceivably, the introduction of civilian supremacy could mean the establishment of an authoritarian regime of the Salazar/Caetano kind which governed Portugal for almost fifty years, a totalitarian (Communist) one in which the Party is supreme, or even a democratic one. The authoritarian type, where a military-chosen civilian becomes supreme, has been rare and is now considered anachronistic. The totalitarian one has no historical precedent, with the possible exception of Poland and to some extent Ethiopia. While the democratic variant is the most possible, it is not too widespread. Though there seem to be differences in the degree of civilian supremacy as well as in the chances of continuing civilian rule in those countries that have experienced military withdrawal in favor of civilian rule, both institutional and societal considerations have played a role. In Peru, Argentina, and Greece the failure of the military to become more effective governors than the supplanted civilians, divisions within the armed forces, alienation of the military from the masses, damage to the longrange professional interests of the military, popular dissatisfaction, and American pressure have been cited as reasons accounting for the return of civilian rule in these three countries. Of course, in Argentina and Greece the disgraceful way in which the praetorians handled the FalklandsjMalvinas and Cyprus crises respectively also contributed to catapulting the civilians, the only acceptable alternative to military rule, back to power. Argentina, Greece, and Peru have had varying degrees of experience with democratic rule as well as an acceptable network of political parties and an adequate degree of economic development (which the military either damaged or reversed). In all three cases the military, at least temporarily, with their failures and inconsistencies no longer presented a viable governmental alternative andjor did not perceive democracy necessarily as potentially detrimental to their corporate interests. Whether the military of these countries, as well as their counterparts of a handful of others who have followed the same path, will remain permanently in the barracks and continue supporting civilian rule and democracy is another question.

Constantine P. Danopoulos


Notes 1. Eric A. Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Governments (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1977), p. 2. 2. Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics, p. 138. 3. Ulf Sundhaussen, "Military Withdrawal From Government Responsibility," Armed Forces and Society, 10:4 (Summer 1984), p. 449. 4. Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics, p. 207. S. E. Finer describes the situation in remarkably similar terms. See his The Man on Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics 2nd ed. (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, Inc., 1976), p. 219. 5. Myron Weiner, "Empirical Democratic Theory and the Transition from Authoritarianism to Democracy," Political Science, 20:4 (Fall 1987), p. 866. 6. Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), pp. 33-34. 7. Samuel P. Huntington and Joan M. Nelson, No Easy Choice: Political Participation in Developing Countries (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976), pp. 43-45. 8. Bengt Abrahamsson, Military Professionalization and Political Power (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1972), p. 16. 9. Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics, p. 22. 10. Ibid., pp. 24-25. 11. Ibid., pp. 26-27. 12. Ibid., p. 7. 13. Jacques van Doom, "The Military and the Crisis of Legitimacy," in Gwyn Harries-Jenkins and Jacques van Doom, eds., The Military and the Problem of Legitimacy (London: Sage Publications, 1976), p. 20. 14. David Easton, "The Analysis of Political Systems," in Roy C. Macridis and Bernard E. Brown, eds., Comparative Politics: Notes and Readings, 4th ed. (Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press, 1972) p. 80. 15. Bengt Abrahamsson, Military Professionalization, pp. 15-18. 16. Adam Przeworski, "Some Problems in the Study of the Transition to Democracy" in Guillermo O'Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter, and Lawrence Whitehead, eds., Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Comparative Perspective (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 52. 17. Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics, p. 139. 18. Karl Maria von Clausewitz, On War (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966), vol. 3, p. 424. 19. Abrahamsson, Military Professionalization, pp. 141-156. 20. Guillermo O'Donnell and Philippe C. Schmitter, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions About Uncertain Democracies (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 8. 21. Talukder Maniruzzman, Military Withdrawal From Power (Cambridge: Ballinger Publishing Company, 1987), p. 20. 22. Ibid., p. 20.

2 Obstacles to Disengagement and Democratization: Military Regimes in Benin and Burkina Faso Claude E. Welch,


Benin and Burkina Faso bear witness to the difficulty-and perhaps the impossibility-both of successful, long-term voluntary withdrawal of the military from politics in the face of chronic social and institutional division, and of the development of democratic institutions and procedures in praetorian systems. Although radical governments in both have adopted new formulas for governing, democratization has at best a checkered past and a precarious future. The failures of armed forces' disengagement from politics can help us better understand the obstacles to successful transformation under praetorian conditions. Despite the lack of success in returning the military to the barracks, the current governments in Benin and Burkina Faso differ in one key respect from their predecessors: members of the armed forces are playing the role of political organizer in a strong effort to build a sense of national identity. A political revolving door had marked both states, in their previous guises of Dahomey and Upper Volta. (Dahomey was renamed the People's Republic of Benin in December 1975, Upper Volta renamed Burkina Faso ["Land of Dignity"] in August 1984.) Civilianand military-dominated governments succeeded one another in a bewildering kaleidoscope of change. Dahomey between 1963 and 1972 experienced no less than 12 governments (five of them military-based), six constitutions or constitution-style legal documents, and a dozen reported plots and attempted illegal seizures of power; 1 Upper Volta between 1965 and 1983 experienced seven successful coups d'etat. But with the rise of radical junior officers, the two countries entered a new political phase, marked by their name changes. Both now fall into an intriguing category, deemed "Afro-Marxist,"2 "populist"3 or "radical."4 25


Claude E. Welch, Jr.

Are the two states likely to achieve relative stability, as did Benin between 1972 and early 1988, or to remain on the merry-go-round of intervention, as did Burkina Faso, where the October 1987 overthrow of Captain Thomas Sankara sent shock waves through the entire continent? This chapter examines the possibility of democratization in two highly unlikely contexts. Benin and Burkina Faso illustrate fundamental obstacles to political democracy. Disengagement of the armed forces from direct political roles is a necessary but not sufficient step in the process of democratization. Under existing conditions, I shall suggest, any longterm restoration of civilian rule may depend, paradoxically, on the development of greater national unity under an authoritarian government. The effect of open political competition in both states was intensification of regional and ethnic differences; these the military governments of Benin and Burkina Faso are pledged to reduce. The abortive efforts at recivilization in both countries and the continuing obstacles to liberalization within the current regimes thus have significance beyond their respective boundaries-given the growing radicalization of some African military governments. Though definitions differ, political democracy includes, as a "procedural minimum," secret balloting, universal adult suffrage, regular elections, partisan competition, associational recognition and access, and executive accountability. 5 None of these conditions currently marks Benin and Burkina, although they did exist for brief periods in the first two decades of independence. There are many paths to democracy. However, all are directly and strongly influenced by background conditions. What are commonly asserted to be "requisites" of democracy6 are at best weak in the two countries-as is indeed the case for much of tropical Africa. Political legitimacy and economic development have been minimal. Ethnic fragmentation, stagnant or declining indicators of the quality of life, per capita Gross National Products among the lowest in the world, recurrent budget deficits and food shortages, and significant regional disparities in education and other social measures plague both. Ranked among 142 countries, Benin has an "economic social standing" of 124, Burkina Faso of 130. 7 These socioeconomic factors would daunt any national leader; they seem to invite a continuing interventionist role for the armed forces. Neither Benin nor Burkina Faso has enjoyed a protracted period of economic growth; reserves of petroleum (Benin) or manganese (Burkina Faso) remain essentially untapped. In political terms, both countries gained independence with weak nationalist parties riven by personal and ethnic factionalism; subsequent episodes of military rule and civilian rule left largely untouched the rivalries that had shortened the lifespans of previous governments. Several military-civilian coalitions were developed on ad hoc bases for brief periods of rule. The question is

Disengagement and Democratization


whether revolutionary restructuring can succeed where more modest earlier efforts failed. For, as will become apparent through this chapter, Benin and Burkina Faso have traded the trappings of political democracy for long-term military rule. Let us look at each in greater detail. Dahomey, 1960-1972

The apparent political stability that has marked Benin since the 1972 coup d'etat becomes all the more remarkable when contrasted with the uncertainties and instability of the first dozen years of independence. The root of difficulties lay in the absence of an effective, recognized national leader and party, which could symbolize and build a sense of Dahomean identity. The regional dissensus was expressed through the "Big Three" leaders, each of whom gained prime support from a distinct base: Justin Ahomadegbe from the Abomey region of the southwest; Sourou-Migan Apithy from the Porto Novo region of the southeast; Hubert Maga from the north. The game of political musical chairs had started in the late 1940s, as the franchise was gradually expanded; it continued in various forms until the 1972 coup d'etat. 8 A "succession of biregional coalitions"9 exercised control, generally for months rather than years. Government policies were poorly coordinated and priorities unclear-for example, at one point the President arranged diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China, while the Premier/Vice President maintained dose ties with Taiwan. Economic difficulties appeared insoluble, as civil service salaries consumed the lion's share of the budget and French aid was necessary to cover recurrent deficits. (The bureaucracy grew over 50 percent between 1960 and 1965, salaries swallowing dose to 70 percent of government revenues.) Although most Dahomeans lived in rural areas, urban trade unionists enjoyed the greatest opportunity to pressure the government for economic benefits. Indeed, labor issues sparked the initial act of military intervention. A general strike in October 1963 led to the first armed forces' takeover, with a two month provisional military regime under Colonel Christophe Soglo carrying out new national elections, and with the emergence of the second civilian government. Further union demonstrations in November 1965 led to Soglo's dismissal of the President and Prime Minister, and to appointment of an interim head of state; a month later, Soglo assumed full control, presiding over a mixed military-civilian cabinet (10 civilians, four officers). His mixture of technocrats and officers moved swiftly to cure economic ills, including a 25 percent salary reduction for civil servants. However, such single-minded concentration on fiscal realignment (as Soglo observed, "for the time being, our only objective


Claude E. Welch, Jr.

is the economic recovery of our country" 10) carried heavy political costs. Intra-military tensions rose, the lines of cleavage following substantially the divisions of age and rank within the armed forces. Soglo thus had to govern with the potential of disruption from three major groups: aggrieved trade unionists geographically concentrated in and near the capital; followers of the "Big Three"; and members of his own armed forces-all in the face of (at best) modest economic improvements. The first overt sign of division within the military establishment came with the creation of the "Military Vigilance Committee" in April 1967, its 11 commissioned officers and four NCOs supervising all government activities. Relatively young officers, few of them with prior experience in the French colonial army, thus played an increasingly active role in intra-military politics. In December of that year, Soglo was ousted by the "young cadres" of the officer corps, led by Major Maurice Kouandete, and with Chief of Staff LTC Alphonse Alley as front man. Having seized power, coalition members had to pick a course of action. They were bedeviled by the near-monopoly of popular support enjoyed by Ahomadegbe, Apithy and Maga, yet had no desire to transfer control to them, irrespective of public sentiment. Their position was further complicated by suspension of French budget aid. Thus, in a manner suggestive of many other military governments anxious to return to the barracks but unwilling to countenance the reemergence of leaders against whom they had rebelled, Kouandete and his allies drafted a new constitution and barred the "Big Three" from running for the presidency. The results were, in Skurnik's judgment, "a disaster for the military." 11 Barely a quarter of the electorate went to the polls; regional polarization increased considerably. A "stunning electoral fiasco" in May 1968 12 led the factionalized military to appoint Emile Derlin Zinsou, a respected political leader who lacked a regional basis of support, as president. Officers hoped thereby to escape from a praetorian cycle of escalating regional tensions, compounding internal divisions within the military. This hope proved impossible to achieve. Intra-military and interethnic tensions interacted and intensified. In December 1969, a "major settling of personal grievances" within the officer corps 13 led to yet another coup d'etat, purge of numerous officers, and still further erosion of military discipline. Eventually, the armed forces had to retreat to the barracks to patch up their wounds-yet the continuing division among the "Big Three" made a mockery of any presumed armed forces' disengagement from politics. Stable civil-military relations required unprecedented political agreement-yet Dahomean history showed the impossibility of reaching it. Owing to uncertainty over the efficacy of withdrawal, the decision to return to the barracks was hesitantly reached, reportedly on a three-

Disengagement and Democratization


two vote within the Military Directorate. 14 The Presidential election, held over a three-week period in March 1970, revealed anew the severe regional divisions. Ahomadegbe won 35 percent of the vote, Apithy 31 percent, Maga 27 percent, and the military's favorite candidate Zinsou a mere three percent. 15 The military halted the election and annulled the results. Tempers rose even further, leading to an "unprecedented political crisis which brought the country to the brink of civil war." 16 The recent bloody experience of neighboring Nigeria made all actors cautious of violence, however. In the face of such problems, hasty constitutional engineering became the order of the day. The "Big Three" finally hammered out an agreement for a Presidential Council, on which all would serve; the Presidency would be rotated, with a two year term for each; patronage positions would be equally divided among them; the armed forces presumably would have a period to restore internal discipline and morale. The combined "fear and contempt" with which the Presidential Council viewed the armed forces,17 and an abortive Putsch in February 1972, showed the depth of divisions. The coup d'etat of October 1972 seemed yet another in the seemingly endless series. The "Big Three" were shunted to the sidelines, as were senior military officers, as "third generation" officers under Major Mathieu Kerekou took control. The real question was whether the promises of the coup apologia could be fulfilled: Today, two and a half years have passed during which the Presidential Council and its Government, divided and undermined by their own internal contradictions, and condemned to inertia as a result, have daily displayed their congenital deficiency, their notorious inefficiency and their unpardonable incompetence in the handling of state affairs, and in worthily leading the people of Dahomey towards a better future. . . . The Army, whose role in the nation depends on its unity, cohesion and discipline, is not only contaminated by counsels of division, it is shaken by corruption, regionalism and favoritism. . . . This is why the Dahomean Army, conscious of its duties to absolve itself from blame and from God's wrath, and after noting with great concern the inefficiency of the Presidential Council, has decided in the national interests ... to dissolve the Presidential Council and its Government. The Army sincerely promises to the Dahomean people a new and true life. Long live the Army! Long live the Revolution! Long live DahomeyP8

It seems fair to conclude, accordingly, that serious divisions and rivalries among civilian leaders, compounded by labor unrest and increasing factionalism within the armed forces, "invited" military inter-

Claude E. Welch, Jr.


vention. Short-lived juntas between 1963 and 1970 failed to find a successful political formula. Co-opted civilians lacked bases of power comparable to those enjoyed by the "Big Three," whose hold over the populace Soglo, Alley, and Kouandete were unable to break. Paradoxically, disengagement also resulted from division. The spill-over of rivalries into the military made returns to the barracks the most feasible course of action. After all, how could an officer corps of barely 80 men expect to govern? Military-civilian coalitions were established of necessity, yet had little effect on societal differences in the first dozen years of independence. Upper Volta, 1960-1983

Similar problems marked Upper Volta, although their intensity and scope differed. Ethnic and regional fragmentation was marked, although one group, the Mossi, accounted for more than half the population. The Mossi's geographical concentration in the center of the country, the prestige of the paramount chief (the Moro Naba), and the persistence of traditional patterns of authority made them pivotal. 19 However, the group was far from monolithic, with tensions between western (Ouagihouya) and central (Ouagadougou) Mossi. Further, the Bobo and other smaller groups sought their own place in the political sun, complicating the equation. Additional complexities arose from the privileged role of urban workers (especially civil servants), which trade unions assiduously protected. Their concentration in the capital and strong organization added to their political strength. As in Dahomey, syndical unrest touched off several military interventions-although the seeds of dissent had been sown earlier. While Dahomey was afflicted with three contentious leaders, unwilling and unable to enter a grand coalition until the 1970 presidential council, Upper Volta had a dominant party prior to independence. The MDV (Voltaic Democratic Movement) was firmly based on the Mossi, but parlayed its initial electoral basis into near monopoly through manipulation of the laws. In the April 1959 elections, held 14 months prior to independence, it won 62 percent of the votes, but 70 of the 75 seats. President Maurice Yameogo moved promptly after independence to neutralize opposition leaders and establish the MDV as the sole party. In the 1965 balloting, following further amendments to the electoral law, Yameogo claimed a majority of 99.77 percent. His "excessive centralization of authority" 20 and his "megalomania supported by pure demagoguery" 21 meant the government as a whole rested on shallow, personalistic and fragile foundations-although Yameogo felt he had an unquestionable mandate to rule. His illusions of strength and support contributed to

Disengagement and Democratization


the initial armed forces' seizure of power, a reluctant act undertaken in the face of major urban unrest. The unrest stemmed from aggrieved government employees. Faced with major budget deficits, Yameogo proposed in late 1965 to cut middleand senior-level civil service salaries by 20 percent. The reaction was swift. A general strike erupted at the end of December, a state of emergency was proclaimed, and the police and army proved unwilling to repress the strikers. Most important, popular support for military takeover of the government rose. After a week of escalating political tensions, Army Commander Sangoule Lamizana assumed control. The facade of single party unity turned out to mask serious divisions. Yameogo's MDV had few backers when the chips were down; the military coup d'etat, into which Lamizana had been reluctantly pushed, was genuinely popular. The public support the Dahomean "Big Three" enjoyed while Soglo, Alley and Iminder of his military authoritarianism. Furthermore his "just" development has not been able to eliminate large-scale official corruption and scandals; narrow the gap between rich and poor; and end the alienation of those who have been excluded from the benefits of national development. The ever sprawling metropolitan centers such as Seoul, Pusan and Taegu are constantly compared with the unchanging poverty and traditionalism in rural areas. South Korea in 1987 was in an expectant mood waiting for the promised retirement of President Chun from office-the first peaceful transition of power, if it is truly achieved-in the country's modem political history. Conclusions

What we have seen thus far is a detailed account of the emergence of the South Korean military, particularly during the Park years, as the most powerful political actor in the country. The junta leaders forged a coalition between the military and certain segments of the civilian society. In this model, the military in power keeps peace and order, with force if necessary; seeks alliances with politicians; technocrats and entrepreneurs; and propels the country toward economic development in a purposive manner. When President Park was assassinated in 1979, his Fourth Republic also fell. The successor regime of General Chun has followed the same path. When General Chun retired from the office in February 1988, he was succeeded by his confidant and KMA classmate

After the Coup


as President of the Sixth Republic. Popularly elected, Roh Tai Woo and his followers seem to realize their own limitations and conscientiously seek to make the necessary adjustments. They also appear to realize that the days of military supremacy in South Korea may be limited. Ulf Sundhaussen, who has dealt with the problems of the military's withdrawal from power, states that there are three sets of reasons accounting for military withdrawal from government responsibility. 47 The first is exogenous to the military, i.e., mounting civilian opposition to continuing rule. The civilian groups opposed to the military regime wage armed struggle or engage in demonstrations, riots and/ or strikes. These groups often consist of students, new middle classes, and a new industrial proletariat-the products of modernization which the regime might have been instrumental in creating. The second set of reasons is exogenous to the state. Pressure-political, economic, and military-applied by a foreign power on the military to withdraw from government. Both the United States and the USSR have, for instance, exerted pressure at times on on the military regime to make room for civilian rule. The third set of reasons for withdrawal is internal to the military. Regime leaders and their colleagues often decide to relinquish power. They may feel that they have completed their missions andfor that prolongation of their stay in power may fragment and further politicize their institution and impair its cohesiveness and fighting ability. For this set of reasons to prevail, all the factional leaders within the military must give their consent for withdrawal. They must feel that their interests are best served by taking such action, and must conclude that there is a viable civilian alternative to their continued stay in power. These reasons are not sufficient causes for the military's withdrawal from political power. There are also cultural, socioeconomic and political preconditions which could determine the style and extent of the military's withdrawal from political power. In South Korea the junta leaders, once having decided to return power to civilian hands, shed their uniforms and transformed themselves into civilian politicians and administrative leaders. In restoring civilian rule, the most worrisome and nagging questions for the junta leaders seemed to have been what would happen to them when they returned to the barracks and who would carry out their missions in a new civilian government. These concerns finally led the junta leaders in South Korea to create their own civilian government. Once in power, the Park regime was forceful in bringing about a remarkable economic growth. However, it failed to make the necessary political accommodations and encourage political development for wider popular participation in decision-making, and for peaceful political transition. Instead, the regime increasingly tightened political control


C.I. Eugene Kim

and perpetuated President Park's personal rule in the name of political stability and further economic growth, and as an effective way to meet the threat from the hostile North. The so-called "yushin reform" was designed to deter opposition politics and make President Park's tenure life-long. But it was not reform but political decay. Under the yushin constitution of the Fourth Republic, President Park became increasingly personal and exercised power in an almost unlimited manner. When he was assassinated in 1979 by his KCIA Director, Kim Chae-gyu, his republic also fell. The Fifth Republic then followed with General Chun Doo-Hwan as President. In the Fifth Republic, President Chun's term expired in 1988 as mandated by the constitution. Internal and external political forces opposing his continued stay in power were too great. Internally, domestic opposition to President Chun's rule could have produced political instability sufficient to endanger South Korea's hosting the 1988 Summer Olympics. Externally, the country's powerful allies the United States and Japan-both of which South Korea badly needs for its national security and continued economic progress-would not condone another yushin. The military establishment also came to the conclusion that extending President Chun's term would be detrimental to its interests. President Chun's relinquishment of the reins of power, however, does not necessarily mean the military's total withdrawal from South Korean politics and a peaceful transition of power to the civilian opposition. President Chun's most propitious scenario called for him to yield power to a successor from his own Democratic Justice Party (DJP) within the established constitutional framework. Given President Chun's violent rise to power, to have done otherwise could have endangered President Chun's and his followers' vested interests and their own security. Fearing such manipulation of the political process and emboldened by their strong showings in the 1985 National Assembly election, the opposition party insisted on a new constitution which would require direct presidential election. Opposition leaders felt that this would increase their chances of controlling the powerful executive branch of government. (In the 1985 election, President Chun's DJP polled only 35.3 percent of the total votes cast. The most powerful opposition party emerging from the 1985 electoral contest was the New Korea Democratic Party (NKDP). Closely identified with leading opposition leaders, Kim Dae-Jung and Kim Young-Sam, NKDP polled 29.2 percent of the total votes cast.) The NKDP campaigned for a new constitution which would provide for a popularly elected President. President Chun sought to transfer power to his hand-picked successor through the same indirect process used in the Fifth Republic. But opposition groups were never sure of President Chun's promise to retire peacefully and continued to agitate

After the Coup


for a popularly elected President. For the NKDP, any kind of compromise was unacceptable. One of its leading members, Kim Young Sam, sensing a compromise split from within the main opposition party, announced the formation of the Reunification Democratic Party on April 8, 1987. With the two forces not being able to come to some kind of a compromise, President Chun seized the opportunity and announced on April 13 his intention to suspend the constitutional talks until after the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Then on June 10, the DJP held its party convention to nominate Roh Tae Woo as its presidential candidate. Those moves triggered massive anti-government demonstrations. When Roh Tai Woo was nominated, the Myongdong Cathedral in downtown Seoul was taken over by radical students. This action was met by combat police, but citizens generally sympathized with the students. Demonstrations soon spread to the larger major industries where workers, citing low wages, inflation, and unemployment, supported the student uprising. A military intervention was rumored. On June 29 Roh Tae Woo, without prior consultation with President Chun, suddenly made public an eightpoint "Democratic Reform" program, promising fair and direct presidential elections and the release of political prisoners. Two days later President Chun announced that he would accept Roh's recommendations. Roh and Kim Young Sam subsequently also agreed on an 8-member working group to draft a new constitution. A new constitution was hurriedly drafted and was approved first by the Incumbent National Assembly and subsequently in a national referendum held on October 28, with a 93.3% margin in favor of the new document. The presidential election followed on December 16, 1987. All four major parties participated. Only 30 days were allowed for campaigning. The opposition was loud and violent. Owing to splits in the ranks of the opposition, the candidate of the governing party, Roh Tae Woo, emerged as the winner, with a plurality of 36.6 percent of those voting. Kim Young Sam and Kim Dae Jung received 28 and 27 percent respectively. Kim Jong-pil received only 8.1 percent of the voting. Who were the major political actors and groups in the unfolding of South Korea's political dream of "democratic reform" seen in 1987? National politics had become regional politics. In 1987, Roh (T.N.) represented Taegu and North Kyongsang province; Kim (Y.S.) Pusan and South Kyongsang province; Kim (D.J.), Kwangju and South and North Cholla provinces; and Kim (J.P.), Daejon and South and North Chungchong provinces. The 1987 electoral contest represented the politics of opposition. Opposition to President Chun and his handpicked candidates also reflected the traditional forces of anti-government, going all the way back to the struggle for independence from Japanese colonialism.


C.I. Eugene Kim

Roh and his DJP ran a well organized and well financed campaign. His increasing popularity became an asset as he was perceived as the one who avoided a political crisis by initiating "democratic reforms." The opposition lost because of inability to unite behind a single candidate, and over-confidence. The combined total that the two Kims (Kim, Y.S. and Kim, D.J.) received amounted to over 50 percent of the votes. In this drama the Korean people, still traditional in their electoral orientation, essentially played the role of spectators rather than participants, although there were many who actively campaigned for their party's candidate. The politically active groups in 1987 included several key groups. But the powerful middle class which, in a broad sense, constituted the majority of South Korea's population played a leading role. Middle class elements had become increasingly dissatisfied with President Chun's authoritarian rule and perceived corruption associated with members of his and his wife's families. To these one should add radical students whose activities helped radicalize other social, economic, farming, religious, and intellectual groups. In 1987 unlike in 1961, there was also a powerful vested business group, Chonkyongyoo (All Korea Federation of Economic Organizations and Industries) representing such conglomerates as Daewoo, Hyundai, Gold Star and Samsung. The Korea Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Medium and Small Businesses are also huge organizations representing many business interests. These groups wield much financial power. A group that has endured in South Korea is the military. Since the first coup of 1961 this institution has been successful in co-opting technocrats and the civilian bureaucracy. The armed forces have governed successfully by maintaining political stability and helping promote rapid economic growth. In contrast democratic political forces have been and remain weak. All the necessary forces that would contribute to democratic growth in South Korea are yet to be in place. C. L. Kim, in his recent study of South Korea's democratic potentials, has pointed out the pervasive presence of traditional non-participatory cultural inheritance. 48 In light of these the military is yet to be convinced of the inappropriateness of its political and developmental role. Quite to the contrary, it is a highly nationalistic institution, proud of its role and national mission. If the military is to withdraw from power in South Korea, therefore, it will do so incrementally. In the meantime, a coalition arrangement between the military and civilian forces (which would encourage increasing political participation while maintaining political stability and sustaining continued economic growth) may be the best option for South Korea's transition toward civilian democratic rule.

After the Coup


Notes 1. Morris Janowitz, The Military in the Political Development of New Nations. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964); Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State, (New York: Random House, 1957); 5. E. Finer, The Man on Horseback, (New York: Praeger, 1962); John J. Johnson, ed., The Role of the Military in Underdeveloped Countries, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962). For a good review of the literature in the field see also Charles C. Moskos, Jr., "The Military: A Review Article," Annual Review of Sociology, (1979), pp. 55-77. This author is particularly indebted to Morris Janowitz for his encouragement of the study of civil-military relations in South Korea. 2. For a good discussion concerning the Korean division, see Soon Sung Cho, Korea in World Politics, 1940-1950, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967); Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981); George McCune, Korea Today, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1950); Robert T. Oliver, Syngman Rhee and American Intervention in Korea: 1942-1960, (Seoul: Panmun Book Company, 1978); Gregory Henderson, "Korea" in Gregory Henderson, Richard Ned Lebow and Joyn G. Stoessinger, eds., Divided Nations in a Divided World, (New York: David McKay Co., 1974), pp. 43-98. 3. Se-Jin Kim, The Politics of Military Revolution in Korea, (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1971), p. 37. See also John P. Lovell, "The Military and Politics in Postwar Korea," in Edward R. Wright, ed., Korean Politics in Transition, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1975), pp. 153-199. 4. Se-Jin Kim, The Politics of Military Revolution in Korea, p. 27. 5. For a concise summary of the English language books on the Korean War, see Hong-kyu Park, "American Writings on the Korean War: An Overview,"

Proceedings of the Sixth ]oint Conference of the Korean Political Science Association and the Association of Korean Political Scientists in North America, August 5-7,

1985 (Seoul: Korean Political Science Association, 1985), pp. 189-196. 6. See C. I. E. Kim, "The Impact of U.S. Military Presence: on the Republic of Korea," in John C. Dixon, ed., The American Military and Far East, Proceedings of the Ninth Military History Symposium, United States Air Force Academy, 1-3 (October 1980), pp. 220-236. 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. Se-Jin Kim, The Politics of Military Revolution in Korea, Chapter IV. 10. Se-Jin Kim, ibid. See also C. I. E. Kim, "The South Korean Military Coup of May 1961." 11. Sungjoo Han, The Failure of Democracy in South Korea, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974). 12. For a detailed study of the coup in the English language, see, for instance, Se-Jin Kim, The Politics of Military Revolution in Korea, and C. I. E. Kim, "The South Korean Military Coup in May 1961," in Jacques Van Dorn, ed. Armed Forces and Society (Amsterdam, 1968), pp. 298-316. For an official history of the coup, see (ROK) Kunsa Hyongmyong-sa P'yonch'an Wiwon-hoe (Committee for the Compilation of the Korean Military Revolution), Kunsa Hyongmyong-sa


C.I. Eugene Kim

[History of the Military Revolution] (Seoul, 1963), 2 vols. Hereafter cited Kunsa Hyongmyong-sa [History of the Military Revolution]. See also Hankyo Kim, ed.,

Studies on Korea.

13. C. I. E. Kim, "The South Korean Military Coup of May 1961." 14. Morris Janowitz, The Military in the Political Development of New Nations, p. 70. 15. New York Times, May 28, 1961. 16. United Press International, Washington, D.C., May 19, 1961. See also John K. C. Oh, "Role of the United States in South Korea's Democratization," Pacific Affairs, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer 1969), pp. 164-177. 17. C. I. E. Kim, "The Military in the Politics of South Korea: Creating Political Order." 18. This information was derived from the author's interview with an informant who was a member of J. P. Kim's "brain trust." The interview was conducted in the summer of 1969. 19. S. E. Finer, The Man on Horseback, op. cit., pp. 151 ff, p. 168. 20. Cf. Jae Souk Sohn, "Political Dominance and Political Failure: The Role of the Military in the Republic of Korea," in Henry Bienen, ed., The Military Intervenes, (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1968), pp. 115-116. Professor Sohn argues that the military revolutionaries were, from the outset of the establishment of their rule over the country, reluctant to transfer the government to civilian control. Furthermore, "in order to hold power continuously, the revolutionary officers, at last, allied with the blacklisted politicians, whom they had condemned as enemies of the people." 21. Samuel P. Huntington, "Political Development and Political Decay," World Politics, Vol. 17, No. 3 (April 1965), pp. 393-394. Professor Huntington defines political development in terms of the level of institutionalization of political organizations and procedures. The level of institutionalization is then to be tested on the criteria of adaptability, complexity, autonomy, and coherence. 22. Lapalombara and Weiner, "The Origin and Development of Political Parties," in Joseph Lapalombara and Myron Weiner, eds. Political Parties and Political Development, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966), p. 6. 23. Kim Yong-su, "Minju Kongwha-daang Saajon Chojik" [The Advance Organization of the Democratic Republican Party], Sindonga (November 1964), pp. 171-173. 24. Ibid., pp. 169-170. 25. Ibid., pp. 180-182. 26. Ibid., p. 176. 27. Minju Kongwha-dang, Kyonknang ul heck'igo: Minju Kongwha-dang 2-nyonsa [Wading through the Rough Waves: Two Years History of the Democratic Party] (Seoul, 1964), p. 45. 28. See, for instance, Ch'oe So-yong, "Kongwha-dang kwa Kim Chong-p'il plan" [The DRP and Kim Chong-p'il Plan], Sasangge (March 1963), pp. 80-85. See also DRP, This is DRP (Seoul, 1970), pp. 38-39, and Minju Kongwha-dang Sonjonbu [DRP Publicity Department), Sonjon Kyoyang Chanjo-jip [Publicity Education Source Material Collection] (Seoul, December 1964), Vol. 1, pp. 1417.

After the Coup


29. The figures are from Mahe Je Kim, "A Decade and Future Perspectives of the Korean Economic Development," unpublished paper, 1973. Mahn Je Kim was president of the Korean Development Institute, Seoul, Korea. See also David C. Cole and Princeton N. Lyman, Korean Development: The Interplay of Politics and Economics (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971), Part II, and T. C. Rhee, "South Korea's Economic Development and Its SocioPolitical Impact," Asian Survey, Vol. 13, No. 7 (July 1973), pp. 677-690. See also note no. 14. 30. C. I. E. Kim, "The Meaning of the 1971 Korean Elections: A Pattern of Political Development," Asian Survey, Vol. 13, No. 2 (March 1972), pp. 213224. 31. Cole and Lyman, op. cit., p. 76. 32. Ibid. 33. Bae-ho Hahn and Kyu-taik Kim, "Korean Political Leaders (1952-1962): Their Social Origins and Skills," Asian Survey, Vol. 2, No. 7 (July 1963), pp. 305-323. The data here are also drawn from a study in progress jointly by John P. Lovell and C. I. Eugene Kim on The Social Background Data on the Government Elites of the Republic of Korea, 1948-1980. See "Government Elites of the Republic of Korea, 1948-1972." 34. President Nixon's Report to the Congress, February 9, 1972. See U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1970's: The Emerging Structure of Peace. See also Korea Week, August 31, 1970; and U.S. News and World Report, August 31, 1970. 35. Tamaki Motoi, "An Analysis of the Background of the South-North Korea Joint Communique of July 14, (1971)," Korea Review, Vol. 15, No. 138 (January 1973), p. 5. For a description of some of the major incidents, see ibid., and Soon Sung Cho, "North and South Korea: Stepped-up Aggression and the Search for New Security," Asian Survey, Vol. 9, No. 1 (January 1969), pp. 29-39. See also B. C. Koh, "North Korea's Unification Strategy: An Assessment," in Se-Jin Kim and Chang-hyun Cho, eds., Government and Politics of Korea, (Silver Spring: The Research Institute on Korean Affairs, 1972), pp. 257-277. 36. Dong-a Ilbo, December 7, 1971. 37. For the text of "Proposal by South Korean Red Cross for Campaign for Search of Dispersed Families, August 12, 1971," see HanK. Kim, ed., Reunification of Korea, (50 Basic Documents) (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Asian Studies, 1972, pp. 80-82.) 38. Chae-jin Lee, "South Korea: Political Competition and Government Adaptation," Asian Survey, Vol. 12, No. 1 (January 1972), especially pp. 41-43. See also Dong-a Ilbo, March 23 and June 30, 1972. 39. Chae-jin Lee, "South Korea: Political Competition and Government Adaptation," p. 43. 40. Ibid., p. 42. 41. Dong-a Ilbo, October 27, 1972. The Constitution of the Fourth Republic was presented for adoption by Minister of Justice Sin Chick-su at the October 27, 1972 session of the Extraordinary State Council. The session was then presided by President Park as Chairman and Premier J. P. Kim as Vice Chairman. Minister Sin served one time as a legal council to the Supreme Court for National Reconstruction in 1961. For the new role of J. P. Kim in the Park government, see also Dong-a Ilbo, June 3, 1972.


C.I. Eugene Kim

42. C. I. E. Kim, "Korea at the Crossroads," op. cit. 43. Chong-sik Lee, "South Korea 1979: Confrontation, Assassination, and Transition," Asian Survey, Vol. 20, No. 1 (January 1980), pp. 63-76; Chong-sik Lee, "South Korea in 1980: The Emergence of a New Authoritarian Order," ibid., Vol. 21, No. 1 (January 1980), pp. 125-143. 44. Ibid. 45. Ibid. 46. Ibid. For the Kwangju rebellion in particular, see Sindongaa (July 1985) and Chason (July 1985). 47. Ulf Sundhaussen, "Military Withdrawal from Government Responsibility," Armed Forces and Society, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Summer 1984), pp. 543-562. 48. C. L. Kim, "Potentials of Democratic Change in a Divided Nation: South Korea," The World & I, December 1986.

4 Polish Soldiers in Politics: The Party in Uniform? Robin Alison Remington

The quantity of comparative analysis dealing with soldiers in politics has paralleled the ever increasing number of politicians in uniform to observe. There are studies of the coup d'etat, 1 of military regimes in Latin America, Africa or the Middle East; of the military as an agent of modernization, 2 and debates on the political implications of professionalization.3 Within this context, there is a growing body of literature on Communist militaries as well. 4 Yet for the most part this body of scholarship reflects a kind of mental segregation in which advances in the general literature on civil-military relations are put aside in studies of Communist systems, where Mao Zedong's dictum "Our principle is that the party commands the gun and the gun shall never be allowed to command the party" is accepted as political fact, rather than ideological preference. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Communist societies were generally assumed to fit into the totalitarian/penetration model of civil-military relations. 5 This model assumed (1) a revolutionary situation in which (2) civilian elites successfully penetrated their armed forces with political organization and personnel, resulting in (3) an ideological integration of civilian/military leadership. As a corollary, it was further assumed that this cobweb of organizantionaljideological ties insulated Communist societies from the dilemmas that precipitate crises between civilian politicians and military officers in much of the developing world; that in some mysterious way Communist parties were coup-proof. The tenacity of this belief can be seen in the conclusion that General Jaruzelski's takeover in Poland was simply a change of hats in which "the party in uniform" took control. 6 By the 1980s there were a number of efforts at reconceptualizing party-army relations in Communist systems. David Albright put forward 75


Robin Alison Remington

the notion of a continuum of party-army conflict involving seven variables: (1) road to power (2) foreign relations (3) extent of functional specialization in the upper echelon of ruling elite as a result of local political and economic development (4) amount of factional political conflict (5) bureaucratization of politics (6) military doctrine and (7) domestic order.7 Jonathan Adelman opted for an historical developmental model involving three patterns in which Poland falls into the category of "minimal political influence." 8 Roman Kolkowicz's chapter, "Toward a Theory of Civil-Military Relations in Communist (Hegemonial) Systems" criticizes the idea that Some kind of immaculate conception had occurred after the October Revolution, and a wonderous, conflict-free, harmonious system of institutions and bureaucracies had materialized in Russia and other Communist countries.9 He goes on to attempt to develop a systemic/institutional/interdependence model that is certainly persuasive in terms of Soviet experience. Amos Perlmutter and William LeoGrande's article on "The Party in Uniform" uses Chinese and Cuban data in addition to Soviet examples to develop their three-fold typology of coalitional, symbiotic, and fused relationships among Communist civil-military elites. 10 These efforts are intellectually exciting. They are substantial improvements on the penetration model as an explanation of party-army politics in Communist systems. However, they tend to move in the same direction in terms of their theory building efforts. In his discussion of political parameters, Kolkowicz puts as number 1: "party hegemony within the system, including a monopoly of authority, legitimacy, and power to initiate, prescribe, proscribe, or halt any and all private and public action within the system:" 11 Perlmutter and LeoGrande state that "In all cases, the party plays the leading role in society-even when as in Cuba, it is organizationally much weaker than the army." 12 Although Perlmutter and LeoGrande are to be congratulated for moving beyond the Soviet model to allow for Chinese/Cuban options, implicitly both these elaborations on the penetration model continue to assume that the language of politics and political reality are the same in Communist systems; that all evidence to the contrary the "leading role" of the party must maintain. But what if that is the wrong direction to look for an appropriate theory of Communist civil-military relations? In 1977 Carl Beck and Karen Eide Rawlings came out with their article "The Military as a Channel of Entry into Positions of Political Leadership in Communist Party States" and put forward two assumptions:

Polish Soldiers in Politics


1. that the military officer corp can be usefully compared crossnationally with reference to its expertise, responsibility, and corporateness, because the skill of the military officer is universal, unaffected by changes in time or location, and is a common bond which overarches other difference and 2. that there is a correlation between specific ideologies, policies, values, and political styles. In other words, to focus on politicalmilitary relations in Communist states is to suggest that there is a comparability among political-military leadership in those states because the leaders are military professionals and because they are Communists. t3 These assumptions require further testing. To date there are not sufficient case studies of the impact of military professionalism on partyarmy relations in Communist Systems to come firmly to that conclusion. But even if correct, the authors do not go far enough. First, it is important to keep in mind that corporateness in assumption # 1 is essentially a political rather than a technical attribute. Secondly, a significant dimension is missing from assumption #2, i.e., the organizational/institutional aspect. Ideological integration aside, party-army relations in Communist countries is a systemic, institutional relationship as Kolkowicz has ably demonstrated. In short, what it means to be a Communist is closely tied to the organizational health of the party in question. Consequently, if we are going to look for a predictor of the behavior of military elites in Communist systems, it is not helpful to assume an hypothetical "leading role" ofthe Communist Party. The existence of such a "leading role" is a political variable to be demonstrated not prejudged. This analysis puts forward the hypothesis that the concept of political institutionalization is a useful tool for understanding Communist as well as non-Communist systems. 14 Secondly, that Communist parties are not immune from what Samuel Huntington has identified as "political decay." From this flows the essentially unexplored possibility that party-army relations in Communist, as in non-Communist societies, may well be a function of the level of political institutionalization/legitimacy of the civilian sector and the ability of civilian elites to cope with systemic crises. With respect to Poland, I am assuming that by December 1981 the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) exhibited major symptoms of political decay. Secondly, "normalization" of Polish political life requires reversing the visible institutional paralysis displayed by civilian political elites. Therefore, notwithstanding the lifting of martial law in July 1983, the Polish military cannot return to the barracks without genuine "party renewal," the euphemism for a major restructuring of the PZPR. General


Robin Alison Remington

Wojciech }aruzelski's efforts at civilianization aside, Polish political culture, geo-political pressures, and ideological imperatives combine to make rebuilding that party a matter of two steps forward, one step back. To understand these obstacles facing the Polish military in withdrawing from their embarassingly un-Leninist political role, one must abandon the all too common tendency to think that in analyzing Communist Poland we should start in 1945.

The Legacy of History: Polish Civil-Military Relations The Polish military has a long and honored place in Polish history. Poland was born in war. 15 Bolestaw the Brave (992-1025) fought the Germans, Czechs, and Russians to carve out a Polish empire that included parts of Russia annd contemporary Slovakia. He established a monarchy based on a feudal class and backed by a standing army of 20,000 knights. Yet the Polish monarchy was never able to become absolute or consolidate its control. There was no Ivan the Terrible to crush the Polish aristocracy as the Russian Tsar had smashed the Boyars. Thus, Poland was plagued by weak kings and strong princes. There was no tradition of strong central authority. During the "Golden Age" of the 14th and 15th century, Poland expanded to the East. There was a legal code more advanced than the laws of England, flourishing of the arts, a Polish gentry with a strong sense of self, unwilling to subordinate themselves to political authority and with a distaste for collective activity. The basics of the Polish national charter that Communist leaders have to work with in the 20th century have been around for more than six hundred years: individualism, honor, personal dignity, and intense national pride. There have been periods when individualism disintegrated into virtual anarchy so that for some 200 years (1572-1795) the Poles elected their kings and virtually refused to let them govern. There was a heavy price for that political disorganization. Squeezed by Russian and German expansionism, Polish history became an epic of repression, partition, foreign occupation, and cultural genocide. The Polish nation survived. Indeed for many Poles, Poland embodies the "Christ of Nations" with a uniquely Polish mission and Polish martyrdom. And at the heart of that mission was the Polish soldier who fought against overwhelming odds in seemingly hopeless uprisings-the symbol of Polish honor, the quintessence of Polish pride. Yet as Wiatr has eloquently pointed out, 16 Polish military heroes were not necessarily professional soldiers. For once the Polish nation lost its real estate to its neighbors, there was no possibility of a professional

Polish Soldiers in Politics


Polish military. Poland existed as a non-state nation. The line between the soldier and the resistance fighter blurred. There grew up a tradition of romantic insurrectionism in which the military hero is glorified not for victory so much as for self-sacrifice. In the words of one of Poland's greatest poets of the early 20th Century, Stefan Zeromski, Polish poetry alone shall never betray, never defame thee, Soldier. She alone will never be afraid of thy dreams and deeds. Even if thy case is lost, she will keep faith with thou. . . . In thy hands, stiff and only in death, the dream of so many generations of youth-the dream about knight's swordY

The legendary insurrection of 1863 was the stuff that just such "soldier dreams" were made of. And that dream captured the imagination of }ozef Pitsudski, leader of the military movement that restored Poland to the map of Europe in 1918. Piisudski epitomized the romantic tradition. Although he toyed with Polish socialism, his faith was not in the working class but in the sword. He believed in the value of historic sacrifice, that "each generation must demonstrate with its blood that Poland is alive and that she is not reconciled to foreign bondage." He was determined that "Poland who had forgotten the sword so rapidly after 1863," should "see it flashing once again in the hands of her own soldiers." 18 This is not the place to recount the Piisudski success story. From 1918 until 1922, he personally ruled the country with the approval of the Polish Parliament. Then the Marshal stepped aside only to be returned to power by a military coup in 1926. After his death in 1935, power passed to a group of his closest followers among whom his successor as head of the armed forces, Marshal Edward Smigly-Rydz became the most prominant political figure. Smigiy-Rydz had served as an officer in Piisudski's legions during World War I and commanded the Polish armies that reached Kiev during the Russian-Polish war. Foreign policy remained under the control of Piisudski's handpicked foreign minister, Colonel Jozef Beck, a member of the Pilsudski legions and a career officer. Marshal Smigiy-Rydz was clearly chosen for his military record rather than his limited political experience. In Beck's case, the Colonel had been with the Pitsudski government since the 1926 coup, but given his background, he too should be considered a soldier in politics. In short, Poland emerged from 150 years of repression and occupation as a relatively benign military dictatorship. Polish soldiers governed from 1918 until 1939, a precedent of indigenous Polish praetorianism in the 20th century that undoubtedly influences the attitude of Polish military and civilian elites as well as societal expectations. Although I


Robin Alison Remington

would not go so far to say that Polish political culture had a predisposition toward military rule, the attitudes and expectations flowing from the Pitsudski period is a factor that must be considered along with two other key variables that determine the dynamics of Polish civil-military relations: (1) Polish experience with party building and (2) the nature of the post-WW II armed forces. In looking at the political half of that equation, it is appropriate to focus on the record of the Polish United Workers' Party as the "hegemonic" civilian political actor in Communist Poland.

Political Development The history of Polish Communism, like that of the Polish nation, has been burdened with misfortunes. 19 Founded in Warsaw in December 1918, the Communist Workers' Party of Poland (KPRP) was a response to Bolshevik takeover in Russia and the opportunities inherent in the rise of an independent Poland after WW I. This Party represented a merger of several radical socialist groups, among the most important of which was the party of Rosa Luxemburg, Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPil). Like Lenin, Luxemburg was an internationalist. She had no patience with Polish patriotism and felt

that the ideal of an independent Poland had "no prospects" for winning over the working class. Despite her death after the failure of the aborted German revolution in January 1919, the KPRP faithfully supported Moscow in the Russian-Polish War of 1920. Thus, Polish Communism came from unauspicious beginnings; branded with the stigma of foreign collaboration, estranged from the political heartbeat of the Polish people. The political environment was not hospitable. For as Pitsudski consolidated his power, he cracked down on his former socialist allies. The Marshal had little interest in social reforms, scientific socialism, or the consciousness of the Polish working class. His primary concern was to expand Poland's borders and if that was not possible at least to secure them. Key positions in the state and government were filled by army officers. The legionaries were held together by their personal devotion to Pilsudski. They played the nationalist card to the hilt; reinterpreted Polish history to emphasize the moral superiority of Poland and portrayed the Pilsudski movement as the redeemer of Polish independence. It is not surprising that an internationalist, pro-Russian party made little headway or that the KPRP fell prey to creeping disillusionment and a sense of paralysis. With the murder of Luxemburg, the party suffered a leadership crisis as well. Although increasingly identified with the Soviet Union in the popular mind, the KPRP was deeply factionalized. There was a "right"

Polish Soldiers in Politics


wing in the Bukharin sense that applauded the united front orientation and looked to NEP as a genuine road to socialism rather than as a tactical retreat. This group was opposed by radical leftists, who rejected the strategy of gradualist revolutionary change and wanted to intensify class conflict in Poland. A third group who accepted the Comintern united front in principle, refused to cooperate wtih other parties in Poland and continued to call for a Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Moreover, there was strong support for Trotsky in his struggle against Stalin. For ten years the Soviets struggled to subordinate and reorganize the Polish Communists. Sometime in 1938 Stalin simply gave up. The Polish Communist Party was dissolved by decision of the Comintern. Hundreds of Polish Communists died in Stalin's purges including the Politburo, Secretariat and thirty of the thirty-seven central committee members elected at the Polish 6th Party Congress in 1932. Thereby, the Polish Communist Party was decapitated by its Soviet comrades-organizationally and individually. However, when the German invasion and occupation of Poland in 1939 was followed by Hitler's June 1941 attack on the Soviet Union, both Moscow and the remnants of Communist support in Poland felt the need for organizational identity. In January 1942 various splinter groups came together to form the Polish Workers' Party (PPR). Still factionalized, the Party got off to a rocky start. Its first leader died mysteriously; his successor executed for unauthorized assassinations. The leadership problem was temporarily resolved when Wladyslaw Gomulka, a low ranking party member who survived Stalin's purges because he was fortunate enough to be in a Polish rather than a Soviet jail, took over as Secretary of the Party in July 1944. Throughout the war, a situation existed in which the Polish Communists were split into local, "native" leaders such as Gomulka, identified with the Communist partisan units that resisted German occupation, and a Soviet based group, Muscovites who sat out the war in Moscow. Although Gomulka headed the PPR when World War II came to an end, his propensity for "domesticism" 20 combined with the Polish leader's critical attitude toward the formation of the Cominform in 194 7 to make him less and less acceptable to his Soviet mentors. The pressures of the emerging East-West Cold War and the Soviet-Yugoslav break set the stage for Gomulka's political downfall on charges of "nationalist deviation" and dictatorial tendencies. In September of 1948, he was replaced by Boleslaw Bierut, a Muscovite more atune to the Soviet line. By December Bierut headed the expanded Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR), reflecting a formal merger with Polish socialist parties. Yet perhaps the shared carnage of World War II in which 200 out of every thousand Poles died, (to say nothing of those Poles who lost


Robin Alison Remington

their lives in the undeclared civil war between Polish Communists and the supporters of the London Polish government in exile) made Bierut hesitate to adopt the violent tactics that accompanied Sovietization and Communist consolidation throughout much of Eastern Europe. The majority of the party members imprisoned during the anti-Titoist purges of the 1950s in Poland survived, Gomulka among them. Indeed, his reemergence on the Polish political stage after Stalin's death was a crucial moment in the dynamics of the Polish party's relationship with the Polish working class, the Soviet Union, and, for our purposes most importantly, the Polish armed forces.

Renationalization of the Polish Military To turn to our other institutional actor, the Polish People's Army had come into existence with the merger of two Soviet backed military organizations: Polish units formed in the USSR that fought with the Soviet troops and the Communist partisans under the direction of the Polish Workers Party in Poland. Many of its commissioned officers were in fact also officers in the Soviet Red Army. Even when these officers were ethnic Poles, as in the case of Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky who became Defense Minister in 1949, they represented Soviet penetration of the Polish military and carried out the Sovietization of Polish armed forces that characterized the Stalinist interstate system in Eastern Europe. All nationalist tendencies were ruthlessly purged. The Polish military wore Soviet style uniforms, carried Soviet weapons and a substantial number of the officers were in fact Russians. Soviet officers occupied 90% of the top positions in the Ministry of National Defense21 as well as other key positions. This was perceived by many Poles as an army of occupation. Prestige was nil; morale was low and reportedly the military had to cope with alcoholism, desertions, and resignations. After Stalin died in 1953, the infrastructure he had established throughout Eastern Europe could not survive the imperatives of the Soviet succession struggle. The New Course, de-Stalinization and Khrushchev's determination to woo Tito back into the Soviet camp, progressively destabilized East European Communist regimes. Bierut returned from the traumatic CPSU 20th Party Congress, where Khrushchev had denounced Stalin as a murderer and tyrant bent on wrecking the Soviet party, to die of a heart attack. He was replaced by Edward Ochab, a most underrated political figure. For Ochab deserves considerable credit as one of those rare politicians able to realize that they are the wrong man for the job and orchestrate their own replacement before it is too late.

Polish Soldiers in Politics


When Polish workers rioted in Poznan in the summer of 1956, they acted spontaneously. Although the outburst focused on economic complaints, there was open hostility toward Polish Communist policy and expressions of anti-Soviet feelings as well. The Poznan riots were a turning point for the Polish party and army alike. It appears reasonably clear that the Party ordered the army to fire on Polish workers. Whether or not the regular army followed those orders remains the focus of considerable academic controversy. 22 What is accepted, however, is that the trauma of Poznan raised the spectre of the potential unreliability of the Polish military as an instrument of domestic repression. Whether this was a real or only a perceived restraint, it undoubtedly influenced civilian leaders' evaluation of their options in future political crises. The dramatic events known as the Polish October of 1956 were the direct consequence of the agonizing reapprisal within the Polish United Workers' Party that took place after the Poznan riots. Gomulka returned as head of the Party at least in part because the Soviet delegation that had flown from Moscow for uninvited consultations became convinced that Marshal Rokossovsky could not count on the units he commanded. 23 Moreover, General Wadaw Komar, earlier purged with Gomulka, had been brought back and put in charge of the security forcers in August 1956. Komar and at least a few key regular commanders visibly prepared for armed resistance. 24 Known as an orthodox Communist, nonetheless, Gomulka was seen as a genuine national leader. With his return political and cultural permissiveness expanded access to the political process. Still more significantly from our perpsective, there was the renationalization of the Polish military. Rokossovsky and most of the other Soviet officers went home; replaced by "native Communists" who had served with the partisan forces and like Gomulka been purged or imprisoned during the Sovietization of the Stalin era. In sum, the Polish October contributed to the legitimacy and the sense of national identity of the Polish party and army alike. Both institutions gained in prestige. Polish Communists in party or army felt a closer tie with Polish society. Yet party performance did not live up to the expectations created during the euphoria of October 1956. Gomulka's conservative political tendencies reemerged. Economic reform stagnated. The party cracked down on cultural experimentation. The renaissance of October faded into a bleak political climate. With the fear that Alexander Dubcek's "socialism with a human" face might prove contagious, the party retreated still further. Anti-semitic purges followed student demonstrations at Warsaw University in March 1968. The fate of the Prague Spring during the long, hot summer that led to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by


Robin Alison Remington

"allied socialist" forces that August, side-tracked any hope of political or economic reform in Poland. With the extent of the problem temporarily obscured by his foreign policy success in the form of the Polish-West German Non-Aggression Pact of November 1970, Gomulka made a fatal misjudgment. He attempted to put in place an austerity program, and raised the price of meat sharply just before Christmas. On December 12, 1970, food riots broke out in Gdansk and other coastal cities. Although it was primarily the militia that used force against the workers, when the security forces proved unable to deal with the situation, the regulars from the Gdansk garrison were called on. Some workers died. The political role of the Armed Forces in the 1970 crisis is still more complicated. Reportedly, there were conflicting orders, including that of one of Gomulka's chief supporters in the coastal area, Politiburo Member Zenon Kliszko to use "overwhelming force" to put down the demonstration. That order was ignored, leading to the conclusion of A. Ross Johnson, et al. that: by opting for noninvolvement, the military played something of the role of a silent kingmaker. The precedent was that a Party leader challenged by Party opponents in a domestic crisis cannot count on the army to save his position. 25

I am persuaded by this interpretaion and would only carry it one step further to conclude that by 1970 the Polish military had moved at least to the periphery of the role that Nordlinger's typology of praetorianism associates with military moderators. 26 Korbonski and Terry's analysis maintaining that the Polish military had "the pivotal role of political arbiter, especially during the various succession crises or challenges to the leadership in 1968, 1970, and 1976;" that it could be characterized as a "veto group" supports that conclusion.27 All of which brings us to the fundamental question concerning the next escalation in the role of the Polish military as a political actor. Coup d'Etat in Communist Poland

On December 13, 1981 General Jaruzelski declared martial law and set up a Military Council for National Salvation, to all intents and purposes reversing the standard Leninist guidelines for party-army relations. How did the Polish military mission get transformed from defending the country's borders and fulfilling Poland's obligations under the Warsaw Pact? In truth, Poland provides an almost textbook example

Polish Soldiers in Politics


of coup d'etat all around the world: economic crisis, social disorder, civilian "legitimacy deflation." 28 The Polish economy was paralyzed between the political unacceptability of ending food subsidies and the imperatives of debt-servicing that required convertible currency. Gomutka's successor Edward Gierek had ridden to power in 1970 on a wave of food riots and striking workers. He was acutely aware that the Polish political climate rises with the price of meat and bread. To admittedly oversimply the former First Secretary's strategy, he attempted to borrow now and pay later. That effort to avoid unpopular domestic austerity measures backfired. Partly poor planning; partly bad luck. Gierek might have done something to improve the quality of Polish exports; to use his borrowed capital more effectively. He can hardly be faulted for rising oil prices, world wide stagflation, and the political backlash that followed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. Yet Gierek's problems went much deeper than his economic woes. The civilian leaders of the PZPR did face a challenge to public policy in the area of food subsidies and prices. Their inability to deal with that challenge was directly tied to a yawning credibility gap. Although many thought Gierek personally was honest, he was perceived as surrounded by thieves and fools; the party seen as riddled with corruption and favoritism. This impression compounded the shattered hopes for political reform. Gierek had promised a partnership between the party and the working class, but had been unable to free himself from those entrenched, bureaucratic hardliners who successfully blocked genuine reform at all levels. Moreover, Gierek was seen as irresolute as well as increasingly ineffective. He had saved himself in 1976 by backing down on planned price increases. The half-hearted repression that followed accelerated the decline in civilian legitimacy and worse. It brought together dissatisfied workers and intellectual dissidents in the Committee for Defense of the Workers (KOR). 29 Party policy thereby magnified the regimes political problems. For with the Church as a support base, Poland's "worker opposition" to their official Vanguard gathered steam. Parties that base their legitimacy on the claim to leadership of the working class cannot afford to have their constituencies decide to represent themselves. In Poland the rise of the independent Trade Union Confederation, Solidarity, signaled a crises of confidence that soon led to the replacement of Gierek by Stanislaw Kania as First Secretary. This leadership change could not resolve what had become a crisis of political identity as well. The Polish United Workers' Party's leading role had become a joke in Warsaw. In these circumstances, it is not surprising that the Polish


Robin Alison Remington

party suffered from ideological-political trauma at all levels. Its leaders were on a "merry-go-round." 30 The members had defected to Solidarity. Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mieczystaw Rakowski openly agreed that the party had essentially "disintegrated." . . . which is quite clear since the military had to take its place in the government. Who could deny that it went bankrupt, intellectually, and politically, that it was unable to organize the society, to get the country out of the disaster, even to defend the state? In the end you are right; we are the ones to be blamed, not Solidarity. 31 Parallel to what amounted to hemorrhaging of the Party's power and authority, Solidarity reeled from success. Whether or not there were actually 10 million members by November of 1980, the Trade Union Confederation clearly had growing pains. The moderate leadership that had negotiated the Gdansk Charter in August found itself increasingly challenged by militant newcomers impatient with the gradual takeover of the Polish party from within signalled by the remarkable July 1981 9th PZPR Congress. The charismatic hero of the Lenin shipyards, Lech Wat~sa, simultaneously became a household word and the figurehead of a movement that had acquired an uncontrollable momentum. Students, farmers, even the garbagemen of Warsaw wanted in on the act. As one long-time observer of Polish politics put it, by the fall of 1981, Solidarity had become a "happening." Whether or not one would go that far, it is fair to say that the factionalism displayed at the 1981 September-October Solidarity Congress gave hope to party headliners and weakened the forces for party reform. Caught in the euphoria of spontaneous political activity, pressure built for Solidarity to assume a de facto leading role that the Trade Union Confederation simply was not ready for. Whereas the moderates talked in terms of a national front between the workers, the Party, and the Church, the militants wanted to squeeze the Party out-not to cooperate with it. As these differences deepened, the real challenge to Solidarity was to achieve enough organizational coherence to return to the art of the possible. The result was perhaps inevitable. The intensity of Moscow's objections to the "counter-revolutionary," "anti-Soviet" forces that the Soviets insisted dominated Solidarity left little doubt as to where the call for a national referendum on whether the Polish Communist Party should be replaced would lead. Even those who insist that martial law had been in the works for months can not have seriously expected that the Brezhnev doctrine had become so diluted that Polish Communism could be voted out of office. Although the suspicion that Warsaw Pact Commander Marshal Viktor Kulikov signed

Polish Soldiers in Politics


off on the plan while he was in Warsaw the week before General Jaruzelski installed the Military Council of National Salvation can not be confirmed, the threat of external force was real. However, in my view the possibility that Polish socialism would be "saved" by the Red Army was only one and perhaps not the most compelling precipitant of military rule in this case. By the autumn of 1981 the Polish economy was sinking fast. The Polish United Workers' Party had lost control of the ship of state to such an extent that the navigator jumped ship in October, when Kania resigned and turned his job over to Jaruzelski. Solidarity suffered from organizational paralysis and social anarchy. The civilian alternatives appeared exhausted. The Polish armed forces moved into a political vacuum that with or without his Leninist training the General may well have seen as much as a crisis of civilian mismanagement as of "counterrevolutionary" conspiracies. Economic decline, institutional degeneration of the Communist Party and Solidarity alike, social disorder, the spectre of invasion and civil war required more than moral platitudes from the West. The Nature of Military Rule Although it is a matter of controversy, I am inclined to date military rule in Poland from the October 1981 when General Jaruzelski took over as First Secretary of the PZPR rather than from the December declaration of martial law. Notwithstanding Jaruzelski's earlier political experience, when a professional soldier takes over as head of a hegemonic political party, while simultaneously holding down the jobs of Prime Minister and Defense Minister that is not civilian rule in the normal meaning of the term. Moreover, it was before martial law that generals moved into such key posts as head of the Central Committee Cadre Department, minister of internal affairs, mining and energy. Military commissars were sent into the countryside to wage war on corruption and inefficiency; to get the economy moving again. De facto the military was running the country. While all eyes were on Solidarity and civilian party leaders became daily more invisible, the infra-structure of martial law slid into place. Throughout October and November this was a peaceful process in which negotiations continued with Solidarity and the Church. Indeed according to Wiatr, Jaruzelski first wanted a quite different Council of National Salvation; one that would include representatives of Solidarity and the Church. In his view, that possibility aborted when Solidarity's National Commission felt that Wat~sa had gone too far and accused him of negotiating without authorization. 32


Robin Alison Remington

The Military Council of National Salvation installed on December 13, 1981 was composed of "senior officers of the Polish Army." Despite charges that these were essentially political officers, it seems to be stretching a point to consider 14 generals, one admiral, and five colonels as the party in uniform. Nor was that the impression given by General Jaruzelski's speech to the nation in which he declared martial law. He spoke as head of the Polish Government and head of the armed forces, with minimal reference to the party. 33 Rumors that the Politburo had not been consulted in the decision to resort to martial law cannot be confirmed. 34 Wiatr maintains that there were no immediate changes in the Politburo or the Secretariat of the CC; that "only two" of the 200 member CC "failed to support these decisions and were expelled from that body." 35 Although it is impossible to say what the response would have been had there been widespread party disapproval, such rubberstamping of martial law in February 1982 is not the point. Whether or not the party approved martial law, it had been pushed aside. That a Military Council of National Salvation and not the Polish United Workers' Party had "to get the country out of disaster" meant that the "leading role" of the Party had passed to the armed forces. The party was reduced to ratifying decisions taken by what in any nonCommunist society would immediately be recognized as a military junta. This was a consequence of extreme political decay in which the civilian party leaders failed to adapt to the demands for expanded participation represented by Solidarity and had lost all vestige of coherence. Whatever the attitude of the party to allowing the military to step in, this was a great leap backwards in terms of political institutionalization. It is not that civilian elites disappeared, but rather like military regimes in many other parts of the world, Polish soldiers in politics preferred bureaucratic/administrative methods to party politics. During the period of martial law, the Jaruzelski team worked closely with carefully chosen committees of high-ranking civilian party members. He appeared to rely more heavily on government than party bodies, such as the Economic Commission and the Socioeconomic Commission headed by deputy prime ministers and directly responsible to the Council of Ministers. Of the key institutions established to respond to the national emergency as seen in Warsaw, only factory social commissions gave the impression of an attempt to shore up Party authority. 36 Meanwhile de Weydenthal describes the progressive penetration of the Party at all levels that amounted to a militarization of the party image and cadre. 37 Officers replaced civilian party secretaries of troubled regional units such as Silesia and the coastal region that gave birth to Solidarity. Politicans in uniform appeared in local leadership positions in towns and factories. By the time of the 9th CC Plenum July 1982,

Polish Soldiers in Politics


it would be fair to say that the army had become the vanguard of the party. Although officially designed to start the process of return to civilian rule, the leadership reshuffle at the 9th Plenum did little to restore institutional vitality. Jaruzelski balanced between Party factions, dropping both Soviet favorite Stefan Olszowski and a "moderate" Hieronim Kubiak from the Party Secretariat. His personal aide, Manfred Gorywoda was added to the Secretariat. The General retained his positions as First Secretary of the Party, Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Chairman of the Military Council of National Salvation. One might be excused for thinking that these changes did more to consolidate his own power than to rebuild the Party. The symbolic gesture of making a previously unknown foreman of a plant in Poznan a full member of the Politburo could hardly be seen as a brake on what amounted to an emerging personality cult, despite Jaruzelski's modest personal style. At this juncture, "party renewal" existed in form but not substance. Jaruzelski had made progress in controlling factionalism within the Party. He gave no sign of returning to the barracks, and to the extent that a personality cult is incompatible with institutionalization, the party may actually have been organizationally weakened. 38 At the same time, the Jaruzelski government created yet another potential competitor for party visibility if not authority in form of a new national front, the Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth (PRON). Officially PRON was founded by a declaration of the PZPR, two minor parties and a number of organizations, including an independent movement of Catholic intellectuals. 39 PRON is an effort to mobilize Polish nationalism in support of the regime. In no sense could the party claim a leading role within the movement led by a lay Catholic writer, Jan Dobraczynski, and based on appeal to patriotism and Catholic Christian principles. PRON is an attempt to bring those alienated from the party back to the safe periphery of the political process. The fact that this institutional opportunity has been greeted with public apathy and lukewarm enthusaism on the side of the Church does not negate the ideological/organizational implications. Note that the call to Parliament to lift martial law in November 1982 did not come from the Polish United Workers' Party, but from PRON. Thus, I think it is fair to say that the nature of military rule in Communist Poland was personal and technocratic with an emphasis on depoliticization; the language of Party "renewal" aside martial law did nothing to effectively institutionalize the PZPR, although it did halt visible political decay. There was a high priority on political and economic stabilization; an effort to legitimize military rule in terms of national/ patriotic themes; systemic repression of regime opponents. And here,


Robin Alison Remington

the question concerning the nature of Polish praetorianism becomes tangled in any evaluation of their record as governors. Performance: An Interim Report

As with any government, performance evaluations depend on a mix of normative and objective criteria. With respect to military regimes this can be particularly tricky because these regimes do not stand still. They are evolving on a civilian, civilian-military, military-civilian, military, military-civilian, civilian-military, civilian spectrum. Or as Nordlinger would put it from moderators to guardians to rulers and vice versa. Where one choses to cut off one's analysis can distort the picture. Therefore, the time-frame becomes a significant variable. Although I am comfortable in going beyond conventional wisdom in selecting October rather than December 1981 as the beginning of military rule in Poland, I have struggled with the problem of a cut-off point because clearly the lifting of martial law in July 1983 was more symbolic than real in terms of where power in the Polish political system was actually located. Admittedly arbitrary, I opted for the lOth Polish PZPR Congress in July 1986. This is the first Party Congress since the collapse into martial law and as such it represents "normalization" of civilian party politics. In fairness, performance also needs to be correlated to the priorities of the regime in question. From that perspective, one must say that in terms of stabilizing what Polish soldiers in politics undoubtedly saw as political chaos, the Jaruzelski government has been reasonably successful. Solidarity has been banned; underground Solidarity prevented from mobilizing the groundswell of political frustration into open opposition to the regime's policies. Jaruzelski has consolidated power if not authority. The PZPR went along with martial law and submitted to progressive militarization to prop up its tottering vanguard position in society. Factionalism within the Party appears to have been contained if not eliminated. And with the retirement of Olszowski in the fall of 1985, the General neutralized his hardline critics, at least temporarily. Whether or not the ability of the government to get 79% of Polish voters to the polls for the October 1985 parliamentary election amounted to popular endorsement of regime policies as claimed, it was a step in normalizing political life. Underground Solidarity figures understandably differ, but no matter which figures one uses between two-thirds to three fourths of potential voters ignored the call to boycott the election. That adds up to acquiesence if not enthusiasm for the government. More importantly, it was perceived as support and probably one of the factors that lead Jaruzelski to resign his position as Prime Minister in a move that the New York Times characterized as "up, down, and sideways."40

Polish Soldiers in Politics


On the minus side, this stability has been accomplished by putting the General's political "lieutenants" in key Party and government posts, while many of the military men who occupied civilian jobs during martial law appeared to keep those positions even after martial law was lifted. Party membership that fell by roughly 1/3 during the Solidarity period still hovers at 2.1 million. The method of consolidating the government's control retards rather than fostering Party political institutionalization. Whatever the state of Jaruzelski's personal reputation, the Party image is tarnished; "Party renewal" suspect. This slow progress at rebuilding the Party is paralleled by an uneven to poor showing when it comes to creating the sense of partnership on the road to political/economic recovery that the Jaruzelski government has tried to establish with the Polish people and, most especially, the working class. Rather than providing a beacon of hope, PRON has been a lackluster affair. The government sponsored trade unions organized after the October 1982 banning of Solidarity have an official membership of 4.5 million. Western estimates are that only some 3 million of these are active workers. Solidarity charges that these unions are dominated by Party members and management. However, they have been allowed to take some stands against policies like the 20-30% hike in food prices set for the fall of 1983. While such moves may marginally improve their credibility, the prohibition against regional organizing and restrictions on the right to strike effectively cripple the official unions as genuine instruments of the workers. Reportedly many workers, in the larger enterprises continue to pay dues to underground Solidarity, while much talked of "Hungarian style" reforms to increase enterprise autonomy have not materialized. Although underground Solidarity has not been able to mobilize substantial public opposition to the regime, the resistance movement is a continual embarrassing presence at events such as the 1984 visit of Pope John Paul II, Church festivities and other public occasions. There is a thriving business in underground publications from factory bulletins to weekly newspapers with circulations in the thousands. Illegal publishers issue several hundred book titles a year. This is a massive non-violent rejection of the right of official Poland to determine the content of Polish cultural life that despite periodic security crackdowns continues to undermine the government's attempt to portray Lech Wat~sa as a political has-been, no more important than any other private person. The tugof-war for the hearts and minds of the Polish people is by no means over, and it is not always clear who is taking one step forward or two steps back. The regime is hampered in this process by the fact that police tactics seen as necessary to neutralize the opposition are exceedingly unpopular.


Robin Alison Remington

Measured against the bloodshed and violence frequently associated with many military takeovers, the record of the Polish military on repression is not bad. 41 If one thinks of Indonesia in 1965 or Chile in 1973, there is no comparison, and Poland's military rulers look like moderates. Yet public reaction to political repression is not so much a matter of what happens elsewhere, as of expectations flowing from one's own political culture. With martial law, Solidarity leaders were imprisoned. A number of miners were killed in the Katowice region. And the behavior of the ZOMO security forces that broke up worker resistance in factories and mines was anything but moderate. Thousands were arrested. Many were subsequently released. But accurate figures are hard to come by both during and after martial law. Not surprisingly official sources and Solidarity counts disagree about the outcome of subsequent amnesties, while new arrests led to an estimated three hundred political prisoners at the time of the 1986 lOth Party Congress. 42 Exact numbers are less important than the fact as many Polish citizens saw it, martial law amounted to repression of their civil and political rights. Nor could one say that post-martial law Poland is without repression. The resistance has its martyrs such as the pro-Solidarity priest Father Jerzy Popieluszko murdered by officers of the Security forces in October 1984 and Marcin Antonowicz, a 19 year old chemistry student, who died of a fractured skull two weeks after being detained by police. Whether or not Popieluszko's murder was a provocation of hardliners within the security forces to undermine the Jaruzelski regime as charged by Minister of Internal Affairs General Czeslaw Kiszczak, the trial of his murderers laid bare the type of institutional violence that appeared to have been accepted practice in his department. 43 Nor did the government's attempt to tum the trial into an attack on the Church improve the regime's image. If anything that strategy only ensured the murdered priest's martyrdom and intensified the determination of Solidarity sympathizers among the clergy. What appears to be a growing number of oppositionist priests continue to be physically attacked by unknown muggers, fined and sentenced. This in tum strains relations between the government and that Church that the Jaruzelski regime has carefully cultivated. The policy of criminalization of dissent has not worked if the criteria has been to reduce opposition. Rather, such measures as the arrest of demonstrators protesting the use of alcohol when the official policy itself was campaigning against drunkeness, only made the government look silly. Such moves increased alienation; expanding the number non-violent resisters far beyond those actually engaged in underground Solidarity.

Polish Soldiers in Politics


Yet the more basic issue of performance is economic, for the hearts and minds of the Polish population are strongly tied to their stomachs. Gomutka fell in 1970 as a direct result of food riots. Solidarity came into being in the effort of Polish workers to exercise a veto power over price policies and to have a voice in economic reform. Gierek and Kania were pushed aside as much to prevent economic collapse as to neutralize Solidarity's political challenge. By some indicators, the Jaruzelski government has improved the economy. Notwithstanding the need to reschedule Poland's roughly 29 billion dollar debt to the West and an estimated 5 billion ruble debt with Moscow, inflation was down from 100.2% in 1982 to 13% in 1985; the national material product had moved from a -5.5% in 1982 to +2.5%, and there has been a steady trade surplus in hard currency. 44 The problem remains that this does not translate into an improved situation for Polish families whose standard of living has yet to reach the 1970 level. Given the problems of a seriously disrupted economy, an alienated workforce, and Western sanctions, the Jaruzelski government's economic record is better than might have been expected. Moreover, unlike its civilian predecessors of the last 15 years, the military did manage to raise prices. Although this record may have been enough to impress the IMF and restore Poland to that international community, it is not popular. There is a long way to go before economic performance will contribute to regime legitimacy in Poland, and that performance is closely tied to international conditions over which the Polish govemnment has marginal control. All of which brings me to the issue for foreign policy performance. Here General Jaruzelski walks a tightrope between econonic and political/ ideological imperatives. Economically speaking he desperately needs hard currency to service Polish Western debts; Western assistance to get the still besieged Polish economy in better shape. This has been a difficult arena to deal in because declaration of martial law and the banning of Solidarity led to Western sanctions. The Pope's visit to Poland in 1984 brought with it the possibility of private, Catholic funds aiding Polish agriculture, that as of this writing, appears to have aborted, along with the patience of the Church hierarchy during drawn out church-state negotiations on implementation. Debts have been rescheduled, and most importantly Poland now has access to IMF assistance. 45 Shortly after Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead's visit to Warsaw, the last of U.S. sanctions were lifted in February 1987.46 Yet there continue to be warnings that major improvement in Polish relations with the West require more than symbolic civilianization of Jaruzelski's government. Such improvement has been implicitly linked to what the Polish government considers interference in Polish internal affairs and implies


Robin Alison Remington

strengthening opposition to the regime; potentially undermining its legitimacy. Still more delicate is the other half of that foreign policy equation. Precisely the moves that would improve Warsaw's chances of doing serious business in Washington would be viewed most negatively in Moscow. While there is genuine controversy over whether martial law in Poland came stamped "made in Moscow," there is no doubt that the Soviets anxiously watched the progress of the Military Council for National Salvation in restoring order. There have been signs that Warsaw watchers from the Kremlin were anything but pleased at some of the "moderates" in the Jaruzelski government, nervous about the potential role of PRON, and impatient at the slowness of party renewalY In his relations with Moscow, Jaruzelski has displayed considerable political skill. He has acted with substantial autonomy on such matters as the visit of the Pope and mobilized Soviet support of the nationaljpatriotic path to legitimacy as symbolized by the Polish leader's visit to Kiev following the February 1986 CPSU 27th Party Congress. Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev took the occasion of the lOth PZPR Congress to reaffirm his support for Jaruzelski's direction on the Polish road to socialism and to spell out the lessons of Solidarity for Eastern Europe. 48 The General, like his Soviet patron, wore civilian clothes; symbolizing his political identity and determination to get the Polish Party out of uniform. Military Withdrawal from Polish Politics?

There are many reasons why the Polish military might feel uncomfortable with its political role both during martial law and afterward as well. For the military to take over the Party's leading role was ideologically un-Leninist. Reportedly, there was pressure for Jaruzelski to assume the post of First Secretary when Gierek resigned after the 1980 signing of the Gdansk Charter. He was unwilling to do so on the grounds that it would not be proper for a professional officer to serve as head of the Party. Subsequently when he accepted the job of Prime Minister in February 1981, the General reminded his civilian colleagues, "I am first of all a soldier."49 As professional soldiers the Polish military may well be uneasy about the impact of taking on the responsibility of political and economic stabilization for their military mission as the second largest army in the Warsaw Pact. 50 Soldiers in politics become conflicted in terms of their professional identity. How long can officers be safely diverted into political roles before they are reluctant to return to the barracks? Frequently the image of the armed forces by society is also tarnished.

Polish Soldiers in Politics


This is a particularly sensitive problem in Poland. Traditionally the Polish military enjoyed high esteem; Polish soldiers were seen as embodying national virtues of patriotism, honor, bravery. Military prestige suffered during the battle between the Home Army and Soviet penetrated forces fighting to consolidate Communist rule. With the renationalization of the Polish armed forces after 1954 it rose again. The professional armed forces were viewed as "our army;" not somehow separate and alienated from the people. During the euphoric Solidarity era, public opinion polls put the military high on the list of respected institutions; behind the Church, close to Solidarity, and substantially ahead of the Polish United Workers' Party. The army was popular with Solidarity as well. Many members of the trade union confederation genuinely believed that at least tacitly the military was an ally; that they could count on }aruzelski's alleged statement-"Polish soldiers will not shoot Polish workers." 51 Martial law broke that sense of trust. Notwithstanding the effort to let the security forces do the dirty work or the low level of actual loss of life, Polish soldiers did shoot Polish workers. Whether or not Jaruzelski had the support of the party and much of the Polish countryside as Wiatr claims, many Poles perceived martial law as repression. Some saw the Polish military as having somehow sided with the Russians rather than with the Polish nation. Although the Polish military and }aruzelski himself may see their role as that of defending political reform within the "art of the possible," they have an image problem. Nor did the official lifting of martial law in July 1983 return the officers to the barracks or convince large numbers of ordinary Poles that the Jaruzelski team were genuine political reformers. To whatever extent the Polish military remains in the day-to-day business of running the government and trying to salvage the economy, it has to .take responsibility for unpopular measures that continue to strain the relationship of the armed forces to Polish society. This reinforces corporate concern for military professionalism and the morale of the troops, that I do not doubt favors withdrawal in the Polish case. Moreover, ironically the civilianization of Polish politics is a priority in Moscow and Washington alike, even if the desired outcomes of military withdrawal have nothing in common. From the Soviet side, it is essential that the Party be rebuilt and that the General become "first of all" the leader of that Party. Washington wanted an end to martial law and the reemergence of Solidarity as a legitimate part of the political spectrum. Thus foreign policy pressures from East and West alike are for "normalization." However, the real question is not so much the reasons for withdrawal or even the genuineness of the effort. It is the state of civilian alternatives

Robin Alison Remington


to military rule; has the Polish United Workers' Party been repaired, never mind "renewed," sufficiently so that it can resume its "leading role?"

Problems and Prospects

Whether General Jaruzelski was in or out of uniform, the lOth PZPR Congress confirmed his position as head of the party. While I would not dismiss the symbolic importance of moving to a civilian Prime Minister, the fundamental issue remains where power lies. Steps in the direction of normalizing party activities aside, there is no evidence that Jaruzelski was considered replaceable at the Party Congress; that his personal power or authority declined. It remains questionable as to whether this was a step forward in the withdrawal of the Polish military from politics. To make a reasonably sound judgment in that regard requires data about the actual decision-making process that I don't have. Where does the buck stop? If it stops with Jaruzelski, as is generally assumed, who does he talk to and rely on? Did the Congress strengthen the centrist position within the Party, sufficiently so that in the foreseeable future Jaruzelski's personal touch will not be needed to balance Party hardliners and moderates? Or when we talk about civilianization are we talking about transformation of Jaruzelski's state of mind so that he is not "First of all a soldier?" This is a fuzzy, controversial area, but somehow I am not persuaded that for a professional soldier to consolidate his control over a hegemonic party by outmaneuvering potential civilian challengers amounts to withdrawal. This is not to say that we are not witnessing the politics of military withdrawal in the Polish case; only that the political choreography is exceedingly complex and that we are not dealing with a linear process by any means. In my view, the transformation that will have to occur before the Polish military withdraws from politics is of the Polish United Workers' Party into a viable, institutionalized political actor. That transformation requires more than a Party Congress. It would take a break with Party history and Polish political culture alike. What I think is more likely would be an Hungarian scenario in which the Jaruzelski team is gradually accepted as the reformers and patriots that they consider themselves to be; }aruzelski seen as a Communist Pitsudski who restored order and a measure of economic stability to the nation. That is certainly the intention behind the September 11, 1986 unconditional amnesty of the remaining 225 political prisoners. 52 While this is not as impossible as many Western analysts might think-

Polish Soldiers in Politics


note that Kadar did not have a first class reputation for years after 1956-there are major obstacles. • It would take something of an economic miracle that involves

international factors out of the Polish government's control. Paradoxically, the failure to receive the required 51 per cent of those eligible to vote in the December 1987 referendum on the proposed austerity /political reform program improves Jaruzelski's chances here. Acceptance of the formal rejection acted as a steamvalve vis-avis domestic resistance. Equally important, it eased pressures from the International Monetary Fund by revealing the depth of political opposition. 53 It is awkward for Western creditors to take responsibility for measures that might precipitate a return to martial law. Moreover, if the lending institutions currently carrying the 36 billion dollar Polish debt don't want to cut their losses-as they do not-international capital will have to continue essentially bailing out the Polish economy. Certainly, the reported settlement of nine billion of the Polish debt in Paris talks with Warsaw's creditors, IMF agreement to "standby credits" and the World Bank's agreement "in principle" to come up with some -$250 million in new credits will ease the tension. 54 What we don't know is whether or not the terms the Polish government agreed to in order to secure that rescue package will be acceptable to the Polish people or improve the image of a Polish perestroika. • Jaruzelski would have to maintain his control over the party and get much firmer control over the security forces where despite the trial of Popietuszko's murderers there appear to be entrenched hardline supporters willing to bide their time. He would have to come to a modus vivendi with the Church. That is undoubtedly possible with respect to the Church establishment symbolized by Cardinal Glemp. It is more problematical in terms of still harassed pro-Solidarity priests. • The widespread public apathy that goes far beyond underground Solidarity resistance would have to somehow be turned around sufficiently to provide not General Jaruzelski but the Polish United Workers' Party genuine legitimacy. Given the Polish passion for resisting authority, even their own, this itself is something of a Herculean task. The fate of the December 1987 referendum is indicative. If post-martial law public opinion polls reflect the popular mood, 55 a bookie would give long odds. Yet the decision to move ahead with political reforms despite that set back, the inclusion of reformer Mieczyslaw Rakowski on the


Robin Alison Remington

Party politburo are encouraging. Meanwhile, the opposition remains unconvinced with former Solidarity leader Lech Wat~sa warning against the danger of a popular explosion. 56 This is a slow process. Nothing succeeds like success and the yardstick will be the economy. Current prospects for an economic upswing are not promising. Spreading strikes in May and August 1988 signalled worker resistance to the austerity package considered necessary to tum the economy around and put legalization of Solidarity back on the political agenda. Notwithstanding the understandable pessimism of Western observers and Polish miners alike concerning the outcome of ongoing negotiations between Wal~sa and Interior Minister General Czeslaw Kiszczak, it is too early to write them off. Step by step Solidarity has moved back into the political game. In 1986 underground Solidarity councils were unofficially tolerated. Two years later Wal~sa is again in face-to-face negotiations with the government. Those talks became possible due to the depth of worker dissatisfaction evident in the August strikes; due to the show of an increasingly well organized worker opposition to paying the bill for government policy and being shut out of the solution. Of course, the Wal~sa-Kiszczak talks could abort into confrontation and deepening polarization, but the government needs Wal~sa. He remains nationally credible and by far from the most militant end of the Solidarity leadership spectrum. Under these circumstances the negotiations could also zig-zag toward reopening a three-way dialogue between the Party, the church, and-as unthinkable as it may be today-Solidarity. Note that in the first round of talks Wal~sa was accompanied by a senior Catholic Bishop, Jerzy Dabrowski, 57 and that Kiszczak reportedly has at least some rapport with the In short, there is some movement along the spectrum of Polish civilmilitary relations. As I see that spectrum, October-December 1981 was a party-army coalition with the Party in control in name only, i.e., a military-civilian regime. With martial law Poland entered a period of military rule that only by stretching the facts could be considered "the Party in uniform." The post-martial law period signals a move in the direction of a military-civilian coalition. The Tenth Party Congress may be a step forward in the direction of a civilian-military mode. But with generals continuing to hold the posts of First Secretary of the Party, Minister of Defense, Minister of Internal Affairs and member of the Party Secretariat along with their Politburo positions, it is not just around the comer. Throughout I would agree with Wiatr that Poland was a


Polish Soldiers in Politics

form of Party-army partnership, 59 in the sense that those Party members who thought that Solidarity had gone too far but still wanted to retain the thrust of the reforms promised by the Gdansk agreement joined in the Jaruzelski government's effort to "get the country out of disaster." Yet institutionally the Polish military clearly dominated, because the party was deeply divided. General Kiszczak's heading of this round of negotiations with Wat~sa rather than accompanying Politburo member Stanislaw Ciosek underlines where power still lies when the chips are down. The Polish case raises serious doubt about the universal utility of the penetration/totalitarian model of civil-military relations in Communist systems. The penetration model assumes a single center of power committed to a shared ideology. It requires a united, institutionalized political organization; a high level of political development. For that model to function there must be agreement on the content of the message as well as an effective instrument of penetration. The role of the Polish military strongly implies that this model needs to be reconceived as a two-way street. There is no doubt that the infrastructure for political penetration of the armed forces existed. But in a situation where the military retained institutional coherence and the Party exhibited political decay, it was the Party that was effectively penetrated by military personnel, methods of operation, and values. The phrase "party in uniform" obscures the fact that the belief system of a Polish officer is more intact than that of his civilian counterpart at the higher levels of the Party. I am not disputing that such military-political actors may be committed to Polish socialism due to ideological as well as more pragmatic security considerations. Only this analysis suggests that the cluster of attributes commonly associated with the "military mind" may have more explanatory value that scientific socialism when it comes to understanding the politics of military withdrawal in Poland; that the mainstream political science concepts of political institutionalization and decay are better predictors than the penetration model.

Notes 1. See Edward Luttwak's exhaustive work, Coup d'Etat: A Practical Handbook (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979); or Claude E. Welch and Arthur K. Smith, a concise summary in Military Role and Rule: Perspectives on Civil Military Relations (North Scituate, MA: Duxbury Press, 1974); pp. 8-30. 2. Henry Bienen, ed. The Military and Modernization (Chicago, New York: Aldine, Atherton, 1971). John J. Johnson, ed. The Role of the Military in Underdeveloped Countries (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1962).


Robin Alison Remington

3. Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relationships (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959). For the contrary view, see Bengt Abrahamsson, Military Professionalism and Political Power (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1972).

4. As typical with comparative Communist systems, the bulk of this literature focuses on the Soviet Union and the Chinese Peoples Republic, with limited attention to other Communist countries. See Roman Kolkowicz' classic, The Soviet Military and the Communist Party (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1966); John Gittings, The Role of the Chinese Army (London: Oxford University Press, 1967); Jonathan R. Adelman, The Revolutionary Armies: Historical Development of the Soviet and Chinese People's Armies (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1980); Edward L. Warner, III, The Military in Contemporary Soviet Politics (NY: Praeger, 1977); Timothy J. Colton, Commissars, Commanders, and Civilian Authority: The Structure of Soviet Military Politics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979); Dale R. Herspring and Ivan Volgyes, eds., Civil-Military Relations in Communist Systems (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1978; J.l. Dominguez, Cuba: Order and Revolution, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980). 5. Morris Janowitz, The Military in the Political Development of New Nations: An Essay in Comparative Analysis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964), p. 4, and Eric Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Governments (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1977), pp. 15-19. 6. Amos Perlmutter and William M. LeoGrande, "The Party in Uniform: Toward a Theory of Civil-Military Relations in Communist Political Systems," The American Political Science Review, vol. 76, no. 4 (December 1982), pp. 778789. 7. David Albright, "A Comparative Conceptualization of Civil-Military Relations," World Politics, vol. 32, no. 4 (July 1980), pp. 553-576. 8. Jonathan R. Adelman, Communist Armies in Politics: Their Origins and Development (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1982).1t is not surprising that Andrzej Korbonski's chapter on Poland in this collection expresses some scepticism about the "fit" of this model in the Polish case. See also Korbonski's article, "The Dilemmas of Civil-Military Relations in Contemporary Poland: 1945-1981," Armed Forces and Society, vol. 8, no. 1 (1981). For another version of the developmental perspective, Dale R. Herspring, "Civil-Military Relations in Communist Countries: First Steps Toward Theory," Studies in Comparative Communism, vol. 11, no. 3 (Autumn 1978). This special issue of Studies in Comparative Communism expanded on Herspring and Ivan Volgyes' earlier article, "The Military as an Agent of Political Socialization in Eastern Europe," Armed Forces and Society, vol. 3, no. 2 (Winter 1977), pp. 249-269. 9. In Roman Kolkowicz and Andrzej Korbonski, eds., Soldiers, Peasants, and Bureaucrats: Civil-Military Relations in Communist and Modernizing Societies (London: Allen & Unwin, 1982), p. 232. 10. Perlmutter and LeoGrande, "The Party in Uniform," pp. 782ff. 10. Perlmutter and LeoGrande, "The Party in Uniform," pp. 782ff. 11. Kolkowicz, "Toward a Theory of Civil-Military Relations in Communist (Hegemonial) Systems," p. 238.

Polish Soldiers in Politics


12. Perlmutter and LeoGrande, "The Party in Uniform," p. 788. Although their conceptualization is provocative, Perlmutter and LeoGrande incorrectly attribute martial law to the victory of "hardliners" within the Polish party. In fact, Jaruzelski has been rather consistently identified with a "centrist" position. See Jerzy J. Wiatr, The Soldier and the Nations: The Role of the Military in Poland's Politics 1918-1985. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988). 13. Armed Forces and Society, vol. 3, no. 2 (February 1977), p. 199. 14. There is substantial literature on political institutionalization dating from Samuel P. Huntington's seminal article, "Political Development and Political Decay," World Politics, vol. 17 (April 1965), pp. 387-430. 15. Jan Szczepanski, Polish Society (New York: Random House, 1970), p. 6ff. 16. Jerzy J. Wiatr, "The Public Image of the Polish Military: Past and Present," in Catherine McArdle Kelleher, ed., Political Military Systems: Comparative Perspectives (Beverly Hills and London: Sage Publications, 1974), pp. 199-208. 17. Ibid., p. 200. 18. Adam Bromke, Poland's Politics: Idealism vs Realism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967), p. 26. 19. See Jan B. de Weydenthal, The Communists of Poland: An Historical Outline (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1978). 20. Z.K. Brzezinski, The Soviet Bloc: Unity and Conflict (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967), pp. 51-52. 21. A. Ross Johnson, Robert W. Dean, and Alexander Alexiev, The East European Military Establishments: The Warsaw Pact Northern Tier (New York: Crane Russak, 1982), p. 20. 22. I am grateful to Jan B. de Weydenthal for calling to my attention the

book by Jaroslaw Maciejewski and Zofia Trajanowicz, ed., Poznanski Czerwiec, 1956 (Poznan, 1981), that includes eye-witness accounts of regular troops sent

in to put down the revolt. According to M.K. Dziewanowski's report, "the soldiers of the Poznan garrison remained passive and in some cases willingly handed their weapons to the crowd," The Communist Party of Poland, 2nd edition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976), p. 265. Depending on which regular soldiers Maciejewski and Trajanowicz referred to, both accounts could be correct. 23. Strob Talbott, Khrushchev Remembers (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1974), pp. 196-207. 24. Johnson, Dean, and Alexiev, East European Military Establishments, p. 21. 25. Ibid., p. 52. 26. Eric A. Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics, pp. 22-23. 27. Andrzej Korbonski and Sarah Meikeljohn Terry, "The Military as a Political Actor in Poland," in Kolkowicz and Korbonski, eds., Soldiers, Peasants, and Bureaucrats, pp. 160, 175. See also Wiatr, The Soldier and The Nation. 28. Welch and Smith, Military Role and Rule, p. 24ff. General Jaruzelski spoke to this issue directly in an interview with The New York Times, listing three causes that necessitated the proclamation of martial law: 1) progressing economic ruin of the country 2) "decomposition" of the functioning of the state 3) the threat of civil war. He acknowledged that Moscow most likely had been watching


Robin Alison Remington

developments in Poland "with the greatest concern." The New York Times, September 29, 1985. 29. Dissent in Poland: Reports and Documents (London: Association of Polish Students and Exiles, 1977). For analysis, Peter Raina, Political Opposition in Poland, 1954-1977, (London: Poets and Painters' Press, 1978). 30. George Sanford, "The Response of the Polish Communist Leadership and the Continuing Crisis (Summer 1980 to the Ninth Congress, July 1981) Personnel and Party Change," in Jean Woodhall, ed., Policy and Politics in Contemporary Poland: Reform, Failure, and Crisis (London: Francis Pinter, 1982), p. 44, correctly points out that for the participants, it must have been much more like riding a rollercoaster without any idea when or if one would get to the end of the line. 31. Oriana Fallaci's exclusive interview with Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mieczystaw Rakowski, The Times (London), February 23, 1982. 32. Jerzy J. Wiatr, "Professional Soldiers and Politics in Poland: The Experience of the 1980's," paper delivered to the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society Annual Meeting, Chicago, October 18-20, 1985, p. 9. 33. For excerpts of Jaruzelski's speech, The International Herald Tribune and The Times (London), December 14, 1981. 34. Roger Boyes and Brian Mooney dispatch from Warsaw, The Times (London), December 17, 1981. 35. Wiatr, "Professional Soldiers," p. 11. 36. RFE-RL Background Report (Poland), Roman Stefanowski, "A Partial List of Martial Law Institutions," September 7, 1982. When the Economic Commission was dissolved in a leadership reshuffle at the end of October 1982, its functions were taken over by the government presidium and a planning commission headed by deputy premier Janusz Obodowski. Although it is too soon to tell whether or not this emphasis on state rather than party organs will continue, it is indicative that the new Minister of Culture, Professor Kazimierz Zygulski, reportedly was not a Communist Party member, and indeed, a veteran of the anti-Communist Polish Home Army during World War II. 37. Jan B. de Weydenthal, "Martial Law and the Reliability of the Polish Military," in Daniel N. Nelson, ed., Soviet Allies: The Warsaw Pact and the Issue of Reliability (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1984), p. 235ff. 38. In retrospect, I am more convinced of this point than at the time of my earlier analysis, "Search for the Vanguard: Party and Politics in Poland," UFSI Report, 1982, no. 41 Europe. 39. See Jaroslaw Piekalkiewicz, "Poland 1981-1984: White, Red, and Black," UFSI Report, 1984, no. 30 Europe, p. 5. 40. The New York Times, November 7, 1985. 41. For a more in-depth treatment of this aspect, Robin Alison Remington, "Repression, Dependence, and Political Decay: The Case of Poland," in George A. Lopez and Michael Stohl, eds., Development, Dependence, and State Repression (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, forthcoming, 1988). 42. The New York Times, June 30, 1986. 43. Jane Cave, "The Murder of Father Popietuszko," Poland Watch, no. 7 (1985), pp. 1-25.

Polish Soldiers in Politics


44. John M. Thompson, "Poland at an Impasse," UFSI Report, 1985, no. 31 Europe, Table 1, p. 5. 45. The New York Times, June 1, 1986. 46. Christian Science Monitor, February 3 and 23, 1987. 47. Andrzej Korbonski, "Soviet Policy Towards Poland," in Sarah Meiklejohn Terry, ed., Soviet Policy in Eastern Europe (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1984), p. 91. 48. Pravda, July 1, 1986. 49. The Statesman (Delhi), February 12, 1981. 50. For a more detailed look at this aspect see Robin Alison Remington, "The Leading Role of the Polish Military: Implications for the Warsaw Pact," in J.L. Black and J.W. Strong, eds., Sisyphus and Poland: Reflections on Martial Law. (Winnipeg, Canada: Frye & Co., Publishers, 1986), pp. 43-64. 51. Although there is some doubt that Jaruzelski ever said anything of the kind, and even if he did, no clarification exists as to whether he was stating his opinion on what orders would be obeyed as opposed to his unwillingness to give the order. But there is no doubt that he was widely believed to have said it and that he was seen as having kept the army on the sidelines in 1976. See Korbonski and Terry, "The Military," p. 172 and Johnson, Dean, and Alexiev, East European Military Establishments, p. 53. 52. The Polish Minister of Internal Affairs insisted that the amnesty was possible because "the security of the state has been stabilized," The New York Times, September 12, 1986. It was not until Kadar's famous statement in 1961 that "those who are not against us are with us," that the Hungarian reconciliation got underway. 53. John Tagliabue, The New York Times, December 3, 1987. 54. William Echikson, The Christian Science Monitor, December 22, 1987. 55. According to a 1984 poll dealing with perceived confidence in political and social institutions, 76.9% of the respondents had "small" or "no confidence at all" in the Polish United Workers' Party. Wiatr, The Soldier and the Nation. 56. This is not to be equated with calling for overt resistance. Wat~sa has been careful not to burn his bridges when it comes to working with the Jaruzelski government in the future. That is the underlying message of his autobiography, A Way of Hope, recently available in an American edition. Wtadystaw Pleszczynski, The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 1988. 57. The New York Times, September 1, 1988. 58. The New York Times, September 2, 1988. 59. Wiatr, "Professional Soldiers and Politics in Poland," p. 13.

5 Contemporary Civil-Military Relations Theory and De-Intervention: The Case of Panama David Lewis Feldman

Introduction: Panama and the Politics of De-Intervention The 1984 Panamanian presidential election signaled a milestone in that country's civil-military relations and a curious paradox. On the one hand, while the 11,000 member National Guard (Guardia Nacional)l permitted an independent civilian government to take power for the first time since 1968, following through on Omar Torrijos Herrera's promise to allow a democratically-chosen successor,2 events since 1984 alleviate any doubts about the Guard's control over the destiny of Panamanian politics. Not only was the winner of that election, former World Bank Vice President Dr. Nicolas Ardito Barletta, forced to resign under pressure from Guard Comandante General Manuel Noriega in 1985, but Barletta's successor, Eric Arturo Delvalle, was widely perceived as a mere puppet of the armed forces. To compound matters, the murder of a popular civilian opposition leader in 1984-a scandal which has circumstantially implicated the Guard-underscores a political environment of corruption and violent intimidation; techniques which, while not invented by Panama's armed forces, are a legacy of their rule. Beyond these purely practical matters, however, loom some larger theoretical issues. The Guards' "voluntary disengagement" from direct governance, in favor of behind-the-scenes manipulation, and without considerable pressure from within or without the military, 3 represents a significant challenge to de-intervention theory in the Latin American context. 105


David Lewis Feldman

In contrast to the Argentine case in 1983, for example, where the military was identified with a profound foreign policy failure and totalitarian practices which far exceeded even the "normal" bounds of military regime brutality,4 the Panamanian Guard withdrew from power peaceably. Moreover, it was responsible for few significant human rights violations during its tenure, and could, with some qualification, accept credit for hastening the resolution of the historically-bitter canal dispute with the United States. 5 Unlike Brazil, which had been under military rule four years longer than Panama, de-intervention did not follow a period of tutelage during which significant structural and economic reforms were achieved. Except for a reduction in United States' influence on internal affairs, an ongoing process of diversification in banking, trade, and commerce, and some land reform, 6 the Guard can point to no radical changes in class structure or oligarchic influence as a result of its sixteen-year rule. 72% of the country's farms are still untitled and oligarchic control in rural areas is often protected by "deals" struck between rural landlords and regional Guard commanders. 7 In short, the thesis of this chapter is that de-intervention in Panama was the result of a voluntary departure from governance designed to enhance, rather than diminish, the economic and political influence of the Guard. While relinquishing direct responsibility for the failures of any future civilian regime's attempts to grapple with deficit reduction or international debt, the Guard continues to place itself in a position from which it will be able to take credit for successful political accommodation between middle-sector groups while tending to its own diverse, illicit business interests. This is due to the fact that these groups first attained power under the Guard's tutelage and continue to enjoy special political privileges through close association with the officer corps. In four important ways this model of civil-military relations represents a distinct challenge to students of de-intervention: 1. In a region which has gradually turned its back upon caudillismo-

the investment of authority in a single armed forces' backed leaderthe absence of significant civilian capacity to forge a political consensus, coupled with continuing economic problems, invites the possibility of a Torrijos-type ruler in the near future. While it is far from certain who that ruler might be, it is virtually assured that he will be recruited from-and must be supported by-the National Guard. 2. Despite the fact that the Guard is American founded, through much of Panama's history, it has been the most vigorously anti-

The Case of Panama


American, anti-imperialistic, and anti-oligarchic of all Panamanian institutions. Since the 1940s,8 its corporate identity has coalesced around national independence, the promotion of middle-sector aspirations, and its own institutionalization as a professional organization with special rights and privileges. If these goals were perceived as achievable under civilian rule, the Guard supported civilian governance; if not, as in the crises of 1941, 1947, 1950, or 1968, the Guard intervened. 3. While the Guard was in virtually total control from 1968-1978, and "indirect" control from 1978-1984, when two civilian presidents (Aristides Royo and Ricardo de la Espriella) were chosen by an armed forces' designed procedure intended to ease the transition to civilian rule, no significant reduction in the tenacious hold upon key economic sectors by oligarchs or foreign entrepreneurs was entertained. Early on, and for the most part consistently, the Guard expressed little desire to articulate a radical political agenda and wished to "return to the barracks" when feasible. 9 Only when policy differences erupted within the officer corps did direct military governance become an attractive and necessary option and then, only because: (a) assurances of key civilian sector cooperation in military rule were received and (b) Omar Torrijos was personally committed to moderate political, administrative, and economic reforms. Even when Torrijos and his closest associates supported change, however, the Guard as-a-whole remained firmly committed to political order as its highest priority. 10 4. Finally, in a region in which military intervention has most often been attributed to demands by oligarchs and urban sectors for economic stability, defense against communist subversion, or a bulwark for established foreign policy linkages, once in power the Guard sought to further national independence from the United States, extended ties to Cuba and, at least for a time, the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, yet resisted radical, deep-seated nationalist efforts to exclude non-Panamanians from the country's public life. 11 This pattern has persisted under de-intervention. In short, National Guard methods of influence, in and out of power, have been goal-directed toward specific, short-term objectives and achievements. To a large extent, the explanation for these methods and objectives are rooted in historical patterns of civil-military relations established and maintained by United States' tutelage.


David Lewis Feldman

The Emergence of National Guard Praetorianism The character of Panamanian civil-military relations is inseparable from patterns of ongoing United States influence. Just as Panama's independence was achieved through direct U.S. military intervention, so too was the establishment of the country's armed forces a by-product of U.S. decree and continuing support and nurturance. Three distinct periods in the evolution of civil-military relations are discernible: (1) a formative period in which an American-established National Police was relegated to a marginal role in domestic politics, (2) an era of growing armed forces' political influence which paralleled declining domestic stability, growing professionalism of the National Police, and increased U.S. military assistance on behalf of Cold War "counter-insurgency" goals, and (3) a "breakthrough" regime period following a coup in which the armed forces exerted primary control over the instruments of national administration. The era since 1984 may be characterized as a transition period in which the armed forces remain the most important political force in the country but have opted for indirect guidance through behind-the-scenes influence upon an elected civilian government. The National Police During the Formative Years: 1903-1952 The presence of the United States in post-independence Panama forestalled the growth of a politically powerful army until the midTwentieth Century. Under the terms of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, which granted inter-oceanic canal rights to the United States "in perpetuity," it was assumed that a Panamanian armed force was unnecessary to insure the country's sovereignty. 12 During the 1903 rebellion, the Colombian army garrison commander, General Esteban Huertas, became a national hero by siding with the rebels. However, because Huertas was not a native-born Panamanian but was in the fortuitous position of heading a potentially coercive, battalion-strength faction against civil authority, urban elites and American diplomatic officials viewed his presence with grave suspicion. 13 In November, 1904, the Conservative Party pressured President Manuel Amador Guerrero to fire Huertas as army commander, using as a pretext a series of letters written by Huertas demanding the resignation of two cabinet ministers in Guerrero's government. With the backing of U.S. legation secretary Joseph Lee, Guerrero foiled a plot by Huertas, in collaboration with the opposition Liberal Party, to overthrow the infant republic. 14

The Case of Panama


Following Huertas' resignation, the army was disbanded through mutual agreement between the U.S. and Panama. While a source of friction and cause of periodic charges of blatant "meddling" in Panama's internal affairs, 15 the disbanding of the armed forces undoubtedly eased the exercise of U.S. influence and provided at least a modicum of internal stability through two world wars. The United States replaced the army with a tiny national police (Cuerpo de Policia Nacional) with a complement of only 700 men and an American commander. Its duties were limited to crime control and public safety outside the U.S. controlled Canal Zone. 16 In 1913, after a series of violent clashes between Panamanian and Canal Zone police, the constabulary was further limited in its authority and remained so chronically weak for the next few decades that it was unable to manage serious domestic strife without being supplemented by Canal Zone safety forces. 17 While the National Police was a marginal force in Panamanian politics during this period, it was not without influence. A period of social agitation in the 1930s coupled with outbreaks of nationalistic fervor in the 1940s forced it to assume many of the same intervenor powers of armed forces in other nations in the region. An attempt to curb the already limited powers of the National Police, coupled with the instigation of anti-U.S. measures by President Arnulfo Arias-a fixture of Panamanian politics for three decades, and a rare mixture of oligarch and nationalistled to Panama's first genuine golpe in October, 1941. This event marks the beginning of the Guard's role as "arbiter of Panamanian politics." 18 Six years later, student-led anti-American rioting led to condemnation of Communist and Socialist union leaders by Guard commander-and president to be-Jose Antonio Remon. Finally, a rapid series of succession crises, which led to Arias obtaining the presidency a second time, and to several attempts to gain the support of National Police factions in support of various presidential candidates (in one case Guard Commander Remon actually chose Roberto Chiari as president in 1948)19 led to a basic change in the armed forces' role in Panamanian politics. Instead of merely reacting to events over which it had little control-and attempting to maintain order in the processthe Guard became an autonomous power center and a force for social change. National Police to National Guard-The Moderating Pattern: 1952-1968 In 1950, domestic unrest between Panama's "enclave-dependent," United States' supported urban elites and economically disadvantaged


David Lewis Feldman

black and mixed-race. workers-coupled with changes in American foreign policy-led to an increase in the National Police's size and influence. A violent clash between supporters of President Arias, who sought to develop a populist, nationalistic movement which would ethnically "purify" Panama -the so-called "Panamanismo" movement-and the National Police, led to a coup. After the armed forces engineered Arias' overthrow for a second time they catapulted Jose Antonio Remon to the presidency two years later. 20 This event marked a basic change in Panamanian civil-military relations. Governing Panama until his assassination in 1955, Remon, a graduate of Mexico's national military academy, politically ambitious, and sympathetic to lower class aspirations, instituted a series of progressive social programs, imposed an income tax system, and began a modest, yet farreaching professionalization of the Guard. 21 In December, 1953, the title "National Police" was discarded and replaced with that of National Guard. Although the basic organization of the armed forces remained unchanged, a greater diversion of funds to the Guard led to better training, low cost housing for officers, the improvement of salaries and fringe benefits, and recruitment of enlisted personnel from a broader rural, middle and lower-middle class base. 22 After Remon's death, the Guard supported the re-establishment of

oligarchic privileges, became cool to further reforms, and, until 1968, exhibited little definable, independent political position except for a vocal commitment to the maintenance of the professional perquisites gained under Remon. 23 For the next thirteen years, the Guard exercised a "moderating pattern" of political intervention, similar to that ascribed to the Brazilian military by Alfred Stepan, 24 in which the officer corps guided short-term civilian governmental personnel decisions, vetoed undesirable electoral verdicts or stripped personages such as Arnulfo Arias of "political rights," and vigorously participated in attempts to "guarantee the integrity" of electoral processes. 25 This activist role was not only spurred by Remon's modernizing efforts but was facilitated by the growth of American military assistance after World War II. Remon's reforms were encouraged by the United States in the hope that they would produce a moderate, reformist alternative to "Panamanismo. " 26 While Panama ranked no higher than ninth among Latin American military aid recipients during the 1950s and 1960s,27 the presence of U.S. assistance bolstered the praetorian aspirations of the Guard. After the Guard's deposing of Arias in 1950, the U.S. opened the "Special School of the Americas" in the Canal Zone to train Latin American soldiers in counter-insurgency-a constant reminder to the Guard of the role of the armed forces as protectors of state security. 28

The Case of Panama


Military assistance pacts between the United States and Panama strengthened geopolitical ties revolving around protection of the Panama Canal and led to strong, mutual anti-Communist commitments among Panama's military and political elites as evidenced by support of the CIA's efforts to overthrow Jacobo Arbenz in nearby Guatemala in 1954. 29 Between 1950-1969, 354 officers and 981 enlisted personnel were trained in U.S. facilities-or approximately 27% of the Guard's complement. 30 During this same period, Guard cooperation with the United States was bolstered by the 1955 Treaty of Mutual Understanding and Cooperation which permitted the United States to locate a second large military base in Panama itself in exchange for greater trade access to the Canal Zone by Panamanian businesses. 31 While aid alone did not facilitate the Guard's ability to act as a moderator, it did provide diplomatic leverage for the United States in encouraging monetary and fiscal reforms which indirectly bolstered the Guard's sense of political competence in the face of civilian inability to deal with various economic crises. 32 Finally, consistent with the role of moderator, the Guard took no public positions which could compromise its standing in the eyes of any important social group. Thus, the Guard stood by and watched from the barracks when Panamanian students rioted in 1964. This posture was another legacy of Remon's influence. Although using the Guard to accede to power, as President, Remon always distanced himself from its direction. 33 Ironically, however, many of the personnel recruited into the Guard during this period-rural and lower middle class in background-had a different view of its proper political role and, like the young Omar Torrijos, 34 resented the Guard's watching idly from a distance while the aspirations of Panamanian nationalists were thwarted. I.•

The 1968 Golpe and the Advent of a Military "Breakthrough'' Regime The October 11, 1968 overthrow of Amulfo Arias, 11 days after his third election to the presidency of Panama, has been described as the culmination of " ... a process of popular reformism" 35 and an "antioligarchic movement." 36 While both claims are partially true, the motives which precipitated the Guard to intervene and retain power for sixteen years are complex and revolve around the character of a factionalized, reform-minded institution which sought long-term changes but initially intended to remain in power for only a short time. The golpe was caused by Liberal Party infighting, attempts by Arias to tamper with the internal command structure of the Guard in retaliation


David Lewis Feldman

for his past two overthrows, 37 and efforts by civilian politicians to "involve" Guard officers above the rank of captain in internal partisan squabbles. Ironically, the increased professionalism of the Guard, by enhancing popular respect for their opinions, expertise, and fidelity, made reliance upon their opinion a prerequisite for civilian legitimacyespecially during periods of partisan in-fighting such as that which preceded the 1968 election. 38 While initial post-golpe leadership was invested in a "Provisional Junta," Lt. Col. Omar Torrijos Herrera emerged as Guard Commander-in-Chief within days of the overthrow and set about placating U.S. officials-anxious as to the plotters' ultimate motives-and domestic dissidents clamoring for reform. As a result of the need to overcome internal factionalism, a wish to break the stale inertia of constant civilian bickering, and Torrijos' own personal ideology, civil-military relations became transformed from a moderating pattern to a "breakthrough" regime. 39 Torrijos sought to form a coalition with progressive civilian elements who would vent nationalistic aspirations "outward"-against the United States-and yet support some fundamental reforms of juridical, policymaking, and economic institutions. 40 In order to achieve these goals, Torrijos and his associates believed a fundamental "cleansing" of the governmental bureaucracy was required and negotiations for a new Panama Canal agreement needed to be redirected. A framework for new treaties had been negotiated since 1964 by elements of Panama's ruling elite whom Torrijos distrusted. 41 Thus, new negotiations, the Guard leader believed, should reflect the goals and objectives of his precarious regime.

The Guard in Power: Promise and Performance of the Torrijos' Regime The period from 1968-1980 can be characterized as a military-civilian coalition. Torrijos allowed only a handful of carefully chosen politicians and civil servants to serve in his government with considerably circumscribed powers appropriate to a "breakthrough" regime. There were no significant checks upon the military during this period. 42 Three distinct periods in the regime's evolution may be discerned, representing, respectively, a coalition-building phase, a consolidation of power phase, and finally, a shift toward recognition of the need for de-intervention. Torrijos' first major crisis was establishing himself as "Maximum Chief." The two senior officers who headed the coup quickly relinquished day-to-day governance to a civilian cabinet. Within three months, however, the cabinet resigned under pressure from Torrijos and Colonel Boris Martinez, his adjutant and Chief of

The Case of Panama


Staff. Thus, by early 1969, the government was a virtual military dictatorship. Within another three months, Torrijos outmaneuvered the more radical, pro-Castro Martinez, sent him into exile, and foiled a coup attempt. 43 From 1969-1972, Torrijos set about identifying potential civilian allies for his contemplated restructuring of Panamanian society. He reduced the influence of the urban commercial elite by creating a Guard-sponsored labor federation-the National Central of Panamanian Workers (CNTP), declared all remaining political parties illegal, and outlawed the oligarchydominated National Assembly-replacing it with an assembly of locally elected councillors. 1144 At the same time Torrijos struggled with these matters, he also implemented economic reforms, encouraged the revival of long-term development planning, infused efforts aimed at land reform in sparsely settled rural areas, and supervised the installation of a new constitution which markedly enhanced his own personal authority and the legal status of the Guard as arbiter" of the state. Patterned in part after the Mexican Constitution of 1917-and thus underscoring the philosophical links between Torrijos and the established tradition of earlier Latin American Nationalists45-this document provided far-reaching socioeconomic powers for the central government, officially recognized the Guard as a political body, and explicitly named Torrijos as leader of the "revolution."46 This last measure was especially significant because, while firmly establishing Torrijos as caudillo, since nominal authority was placed in the hands of a ceremonial president, Torrijos' legitimacy was enhanced by a perceived behind-the-scenes "invincibility"-a style of leadership preferred by Guard leaders to this day. Torrijos implemented what came to be termed as "negotiated nationalism'' 47 in which a new set of canal treaties was concluded with the United States through slow, painstaking diplomacy. Meetings on the treaties were not held until 1970 when Torrijos felt secure enough in his own position to hand-pick negotiators. His success in this area may be gauged not only by the ratification of new canal treaties in 1978 but by the confidence he gained from American negotiators who, while admitting a personal ambivalence toward Torrijos, acknowledged that his leadership represented the mainstream of Panamanian thought." 48 The most significant violations of human rights during the Torrijos regime occurred in this early phase-not surprisingly, since military governments are generally most repressive prior to their consolidation of power. Many of these violations involved dissident members of the Catholic Church, such as Father Hector Gallegos who disappeared in July 1971 after crossing paths with a landowner and close friend of Torrijos. 49 II





David Lewis Feldman

Beginning in 1972, Torrijos acquired sufficient strength to formalize his own executive powers, implement many of the articulated goals under his new constitution, and slow the pace of change to a more deliberate, even pace. This consolidation of power is exemplified by the first formal meeting of the new National Assembly in Panama City. 50 This was also the era of the most consistent negotiations toward a new canal agreement with the United States. Around 1975, as economic stagnation became apparent, a division of opinion took shape within the officer corps between those who wanted to strengthen the Guard's position to re-mold Panama and those who believed that the Guard's time to act decisively was limited by events. 51 Criticisms of the regime's human rights policies from the United States and preoccupation with resolving the canal issue-two related issues, since criticism of the regime was perceived as a delaying tactic for ratification of a new canal agreement-led Torrijos to side with those who wanted the Guard to extricate itself from power. In 1978, the constitution was amended to allow for a transition to civilian rule in the early 1980s. This transition would have two components-selection of a civilian president by the National Assembly under Guard tutelage (while the commander of the Guard would remain in actual political control) and popular election of a new president in 1984. In addition, a new political party, the "Democratic Revolutionary Party" (PRO), was created and was patterned after Mexico's PRI (an umbrella organization encompassing the various middle and working class elements supportive of Torrijos' reforms.) It was intended to fill the void of power once the Guard returned to the barracks. 52 The performance of the Guard in power fell far short of its promisespartly due to its own internal squabbling and Torrijos' disdain for traditional sources of administrative talent, 53 and partly due to the decline of international export markets and the energy recession of the mid1970s. While the Guard stimulated great appeal upon marginal groups and the rural and urban poor, and exerted considerable effort to identify itself with local sports heroes and other symbols of popular culture, actual reforms proved far more difficult to achieve. Overt repression was infrequent, but the use of military units to suppress public demonstrations was not. Moreover, closely following a pattern begun in the Remon era of the early 1950s, shady business dealings among the officer corps were common; especially in such areas as prostitution, narcotics, and stock fraud. 54 One motive for the Guard's withdrawal from power was the corporate desire to shield these "business" interests from public scrutiny. On the positive side, some innovative land reform was instituted, including the creation of a series of collectives for nearly 35,000 persons. 55 At the same time, however, the Guard deliberately "avoided the turf of

The Case of Panama


large landowners" in exchange for special economic privileges granted to Guardsmen in rural areas. 56 Finally, massive expansion of the public sector was directly encouraged by Torrijos which, while enormously increasing the country's external debt, contributed to Panama's growth as an international banking center, the demise of support for Arias-style nationalism, and a renewed sense of constructive nationalism also abetted by the canal treaties. 57 Direct U.S. multi-national corporate investment doubled under the military regime and average life expectancy increased while economic growth stabilized at a healthy rate. 58

The National Guard Withdraws From Power: Retreat or Respite? Given the average lifespan of military regimes, 59 the National Guard's tenure is neither surprising nor unusual. The Guard's withdrawal from power may be viewed as a planned, phased, voluntary disengagement, contemplated for a long time after 1968 and precipitated by the fragility of the internal and external political forces underpinning its authority. These political forces included tacit American support for a stable government able to negotiate a solution to the canal dispute and a civilian political coalition which, beginning with the 1972 parliamentary elections, pushed for institutional reform. The recession of the late 1970s accelerated the move back to civilian rule. Ropp describes this process as follows: By the late 1970s, the general fragility of the coalition, based on a gerrymandered electoral system and the support of the Communist Party, had become obvious to Torrijos. The exclusion of other parties from even minimal political participation and inability to successfully manage the economy exposed Torrijos and the Guard's general staff to charges of administrative incompetence. A political solution was required that would simultaneously distance the ... Guard from day-to-day government affairs, preserve military influence over policy implementation, and increase the regime's support from the business sector. (Negotiation of) . . . a new canal treaty ... further heightened concern for the regime's public image. 60

While the Guard would formally withdraw from power, however, its influence upon civilian rulers would remain intact. The very process of withdrawal would assure this. The disengagement would be phased insofar as Torrijos would relinquish the extraconstitutional powers gained in 1972 to rule directly, and would be "replaced" by an indirectly elected civilian president (Aristides Royo). Royo would remain closely tied in ideology to Torrijos and his associates and a new political party (the


David Lewis Feldman

PRD) would be placed into power to protect the interests· of the military and civilian reformists. Finally, until his untimely death in 1981, Torrijos would still call major foreign policy shots from behind the scenes. 61 While planned and phased, however, the Guard's withdrawal was wrought with factional strife which continues to shape the prospects for stable civilian government. An influential conservative faction within the Guard, led by Torrijos' second in command, Colonel Rodrigo Garcia Ramirez, sought to prevent the installation of Royo, stood opposed to Torrijos' decision to aid the Sandinistas in their effort to overthrow Anastasio Somoza, and wanted to move away from the more radical, anti-business reforms of the regime. While Torrijos tactfully "re-educated" the Guard on the need for a return to the barracks, encouraged special seminars between civilian politicians and officers on the consequences and advantages of de-intervention between 1978-1980, and utilized promotions, transfers of command, and forced retirements to quell opposition to de-intervention, it is clear that, by 1980, only the actual return to the barracks stabilized intra-guard rivalry. 62 In assessing the Guard's withdrawal from power, de-intervention must be attributed to three causes: (1) the belief that political and economic power would not significantly diminish under civilian rule, (2) the increase in damaging political risks attendant in remaining in power beyond 1980, and (3) the desire to protect the Guard's perquisites and privileges. Competing political factions within the Guard recognized that, under de-intervention, any profound civilian government failure would precipitate renewed intervention. The weight of established praetorian traditions, coupled with the establishment of the PRD, which reinforced civilian sentiment for a permanent posture of military involvement, guaranteed this. 63 Moreover, Torrijos' departure from the political scene ironically increased the likelihood of renewed intervention. It is now clear that Torrijos stood virtually alone among the higher echelon of the officer corps in recognizing the political risks of continued military rule. As evidence for this claim, shortly after Torrijos' death, the Guard pressured Royo for more direct influe.nce in the country's domestic politics. While the Guard did not directly take over the government, it did force Royo to resign in 1982 and virtually handpicked his successor. 64 Moreover, factional struggles within the Guard led to the appointment as Commander-in-Chief of Manuel Noriega who, as former head of military intelligence under Torrijos, is in a fortuitous position to blackmail potential opponents to his personal, professional, and political aspirations. A legitimate issue at this juncture is the question of civilian pressure upon the Guard to withdraw. While clearly not pivotal, as we have seen, its partial and lasting influence cannot be discounted. Opponents of the regime include such forces as the Christian Democratic Party and

The Case of Panama


former President Arnulfo Arias Madrid, now in his 80s. While influential, critics note that these forces have little base of real influence. After all, it has been the guard itself which initiated civic action projects such as schools, roads, and wells. Thus opposition groups have simply been denied a track record to bolster the claim that they are better fit to rule. The issue of political costs is directly related to this problem. All factions within the Guard shared basic agreement on the need for new, more equitable canal treaties. This gave Torrijos some leverage in persuading the officer corps of the need for a return to nominal civilian rule in order to convince the United States to ratify a new agreement. While this leverage was important, however, it was not the crucial factor in forcing a return to the barracks. Domestic economic realities played that role. 65 In this sense, the Panamanian model closely conforms to theoretical findings in other Latin American contexts. As Gary Wynia has noted in reference to those polities with large, well-organized urban middle classes such as Argentina or Panama, support for coups in general tends to be transitory. When times are good, civilians want power back. 66 Despite the economic problems facing Panama in the late 1970s, Guard inspired reforms ironically fostered an expectation of long-term economic success which hastened demands for military withdrawal from power by groups anxious to reap the benefits of renewed foreign investment, joint Panamanian-U.S. ownership of the canal, and the astonishing growth of public sector jobs. Finally, recall that the Guard never contemplated permanent governance. By the early 1980s it became apparent that, as under the Remon era of the early 1950s, the Guard would be much more likely to preserve its special economic privileges intact if it withdrew from power. Simply put, the illicit business dealings of the officer corps would operate much more smoothly out of the public eye. 67 Thus, not only would deintervention enhance the Guard's stature as a professional organization by reducing internal squabbling, but it could strengthen the Guard's informal perquisites which were originally rewards for its expertise. Professionalism as Politicization: Recruitment, Training, and Ideology

The single greatest change in the politics of the National Guard after 1968 was the elimination of the president's title as Commander-in-Chief and the investment of that power in the hands of the Guard's own Comandante. It is widely recognized, however, that this change was but the surface manifestation of a deeper evolution in the Guard's political competence. 68 These changes stemmed from a growing process of pro-


David Lewis Feldman

fessionalization which began in the early 1950s with the advent of U.S. military assistance programs and the ascent of Jose Antonio Remon as Guard Commander and President of the Republic. There are four dimensions of this professionalization process important for understanding the 1968 intervention and the consequences of deintervention after 1984. These are: (1) the growth in social status and political influence of the Guard, (2) the ambivalence of ties to the United States, (3) the advent of "military radicalism," and, (4) changes in military command structure and political capacity.

Social Status as Source of Political Influence Following Abraharnsson, 69 we define military professionalism as the existence of a highly trained, specialized corps of experts socialized in nationalistic, conservative, and largely authoritarian values. By virtue of training, knowledge, and status, this corps of professionals can offer a "transferability of skills" between military and civilian occupational sectors, and thus, possess both the motives and capacity to politically intervene. This conceptualization fits the Guard from the early 1950s onward remarkably well since Remon's goal after corning to power was to upgrade the social status of the National Police in order to attract

the best elements of Panamanian manhood into its ranks, and to provide a stabilizing influence in a society which suffered deteriorating civilian leadership. 70 One measure of this professionalization process is the growth in the Guard's size, budget, benefits and most significantly, its ability to attract foreign support in its efforts to acquire modern techniques of internal security and defense. These efforts were so pervasive that they increased after Remon's assassination. In the early 1950s, the Guard contained about 2000 men. By 1968, that number had grown to approximately 5500 officers and enlisted men, and by the early 1980s leveled off at roughly 11,000 personnel divided into various military and police units. U.S. military assistance program funds in support of this growth likewise climbed from $100,000 during the period from 1953-1961 to $3 million between 1962-1969. 71 Currently, Panama ranks third out of six Central American nations in U.S. military assistance funds, having received $10.6 million for fiscal 1985. 72 Anti-guerrilla training is required of all Guard members and while an increasing number of officers are trained in South American military academies, U.S. trained alumni still hold major positions in the Guard. 73 Politically, as this elite has grown in size, it has become an important source of bureaucratic expertise in the implementation of economic and social policies. Under the Torrijos regime, a preference

The Case of Panama


was shown toward non-U.S. trained officers in public sector management positions in order to increase Panama's economic latitude in planning and development. 74 Most importantly, however, professionalization of the Guard led to a significant growth in its participation in partisan politics and electoral campaigns prior to the "breakthrough" regime of 1968. Ties That Unbind

Despite the growth of actual U.S.-Panamanian military ties since the early 1950s, a psychological wedge developed between the Guard and the United States due to military professionalism. The very process of foreign training heightened the nationalism of the Guard and led to its disdain toward imperialism, economic backwardness, and a sense of inferiority, all of which increased the corporate identification of Panama's armed forces while simultaneously lessening their esteem for the U.S. As U.S. training and assistance propagated enhanced military values and an increase in technical skills, the Guard's ability to draw upon new resources increased its competence to intervene in politics and to express independent philosophical positions. This independence was exacerbated by the fact that, while U.S. training was significant, priority given to the training of Latin American officers from larger countries with more strategically important military establishments forced many

Panamanian officers who entered the Guard during the Remon era to attend Central American military academies, increasing their emotional distance from the U.S. 75 A further irony, however, is that those officers who rose to political prominence after 1968, including Torrijos, received at least part of their training in the School of the Americas in the Canal Zone. 76 While educated in anti-Castro counter-insurgency, they were particularly struck by those elements of the curriculum which emphasized the military's potential role in social reform. Nationalism, Recruitment Patterns, and ''Military Radicalism''

The most important result of military professionalization was the advent of new recruitment patterns for the officer corps which led to an enhanced nationalism further nurtured by specialized military assistance training programs. This recruitment pattern and its consequences are best personified by the career of Omar Torrijos Herrera.


David Lewis Feldman

The son of a rural schoolteacher, Torrijos entered the Guard during the Remon era and was part of a group of young, promising middle class officer candidates from outside Panama City who were educated at Latin American military academies (in this case, that of El Salvador). 77 Assigned to civic-action programs in rural areas, Torrijos also attended the School of the Americas in 1966 and developed an anti-oligarchical, populist based philosophy of Guard activism partly based on counterinsurgency training. There has been considerable debate on whether the locus of this ideology was "School of the Americas Radicalism," as La Feber terms it/8 Torrijos' social background which, of necessity, pitted him against the landed oligarchy, 79 a streak of romanticism combined with a caudillolike disposition, 80 or possibly another foreign influence-that of Peru. It is likely that all four had a role in shaping this ideology and it is also likely that each reflected a growing professional temperament characteristic of the Guard as a whole. The few journalists who knew Torrijos concur that his bitterness toward Panamanian oligarchs was genuine and deeply ingrained-as was his commitment to social reform. 81 On the other hand, it is also clear that Torrijos' ideology reflected a "New Caudillismo" -an authority which rested upon newly enfranchised, urbanized masses and which was, at least in part, inspired by the teacher training curricula so pervasive in his own home province of Santiago. 82 The U.S. was, unwittingly, responsible for bolstering this ideology, as were the radical military governors of Peru who themselves came to power in the late 1960s. Torrijos admitted to the profound impact of the counter-insurgency/ civic action doctrines which originated under the Kennedy administration and which he was directly exposed to through the Command and Staff course at the School of the Americas. Particularly significant to Torrijos were these doctrines' emphasis upon the need for reform of social structure to avert Fidelismo, the advantages of military discipline in providing order, and the "incompetence" of civilian politicians in the management of the economy. 83 The Peruvian example, as noted by Ropp, 84 may have been equallythough less recognizably-profound. Many of the officers who participated in the 1968 golpe, including Torrijos' brother, were trained in Peru. Moreover, the Peruvian coup of 1968-like that of Panama-was led by a young elite corps of reformist officers who sought to harness foreign capital for economic development, avert a radical, populist revolution, and provide a basis for long-term political stability. While it is difficult to distinguish the exact degrees of influence respectively bestowed by American and Peruvian military training and example, it is clear that both influences-by encouraging similar formal

The Case of Panama


curricula, the imposition of standardized training methods of counterinsurgency and civic action, and joint civilian-military educational seminars on political, economic, and sociological subjects linked professionalization of the armed forces with their rapid politicization in the late 1960s. In short, military radicalism had eclectic, varied sources and led to profound, yet similar political consequences.

Command Structure, Professionalization, and Political Competence

The growth of military professionalism in Panama altered civil-military relations from a "moderating" to a "breakthrough" pattern by accelerating the development of centralized administrative controls useful for adopting the Guard to changing political priorities. While the internal organization of the Guard has evolved gradually and is not attributable to any single influence, two characteristics of its structure are politically striking-the concentration of line authority in the Comandancia (the Office of the Commander), and the operational specialization of the General Staff which closely copies that of the U.S. Army. 85 All command lines in the Guard flow directly from the Comandancia. Below this level, power is diffused. 86 This structure is deliberately designed to inhibit the acquisition of inordinate authority by subordinate field commanders and appears to have taken its present shape since 1968. The disposition of all military and police units (the Guard is a combined military force and constabulary) is designed to enhance this centralized control and to minimize the establishment of regional counter-weights of authority which could be used for conspiracies. As evidence for this, most infantry units are deployed around the canal zone for riot control, two full companies report directly to the Comandante and constitute his private army, 87 all infantry commanders report directly to the Comandante, and the small air force and naval contingents of the Guard possess minimal force capabilities. Amazingly, the air force has few aircraft, and the navy consists of a small number of coastal patrol vessels. 88 A final tradition of political control established by Torrijos-and maintained by Noriega-is the phenomenon of Comandante "personalism." In order to assure political loyalty, a "psychological proximity" 89 is deliberately maintained between the Guard commander and officers and enlisted men through frequent field meetings, marches, parades, and loyalty campaigns. Not only does this activity increase military solidarity, but many of the most important political initiatives of the Guard, have been announced during these events.


David Lewis Feldman

Continuing Evolution of the Civilian Successor Regime It is easier to describe what the government of Panama since 1984 is not than to precisely typologize what it is. As noted earlier, the Guard exerts a veto power over significant policy and personnel decisions. Despite this fact, the regime cannot be characterized as a military-civilian coalition because the Guard has carefully distanced itself from direct participation in the Cabinet or Congress and prefers to exercise its authority from the barracks. At the same time, civilian-dominance is precluded since, as exemplified by Noriega's demand that President Barletta return from an overseas trip and resign the presidency, the military takes a no-nonsense view of its ability to publicly remove officials and to chart the course of politics. The most accurate description of the current government is "civilmilitary coalition" because, while the current leadership came to power through civilian election, under law number 81 adopted in 1978, and amended to Panama's constitution, the military explicitly reserves the right to demand that any interest group or political party meet certain criteria prior to being allowed to participate in elections or other political activity. 90 Moreover, the PRO, formed in 1978, is the dominant political

party in Panama, controlling most congressional seats, local government posts, and the presidential cabinet. The middle sector elements who comprise the bulk of this party supported the goals of the Torrijos regime and do not seem deterred by the fact that their own base of power owes a great deal to the maintenance of close political relationships with the Guard. In gauging the National Guard's precise role in this civil-military coalition, we must weigh two conflicting claims in light of an evolutionary process which began, not in 1984, but in 1980 during the so-called transition period of governance. These two claims are: (a) the Guard's authority to influence political events has not diminished since turning power over to civilians and that it is poised to place another Guard commander into the presidency,9 1 and (b) the National Guard is "selfrestraining," as exemplified by internal factionalism and external conflicts between itself and the PRO. The latter claim is, I believe, the more accurate one if the transition from military rule to a civil-military coalition is correctly understood. In the years 1979-1980, Torrijos set the tone for this transition, and the military's role in the future civilian government, by forcing the retirement of an influential second in command, Colonel Roderigo Garcia Ramirez, the leader of a conservative faction reluctant to see the Guard deintervene and opposed to the installation of Aristides Royo as president.

The Case of Panama


Not only ·did the forced retirement of Ramirez constrain the power of this conservative faction and exemplify the concentration of military authority in the Comandante post, as previously noted, but it also illustrates the degree to which the Panamanian political system was becoming institutionalized. For one thing, the appointment of Royo underscored the predominance of the progressive-reformist faction in the Guard as well as the lingering personalistic authority of Torrijos. Royo was a lawyer, a former Minister of Education, and one of Torrijos' hand-picked negotiators on the canal treaty. For another, Royo's appointment was confirmed by a PRO-dominated popular assembly under the strong influence of Torrijos. 92 After 1980, the Panamanian political system became further institutionalized by the formal representation of the Guard in a newly formed advisory body-The General Council of State-which included the Commander of the Guard on its staf£. 93 This further suggests that Torrijos might have been looking toward the Mexican model of civil-military relations as an objective (if not an immediately feasible goal) given the fact that the ostensible goal of such a set-up would be to leave civilian rule intact while coopting higher echelon military authority. Moreover, at the provincial level, while the Guard would not be responsible for formulating or implementing major political decisions, special "coordinating councils" were established, the purpose of which was to allow military zone commanders to help coordinate district development plans in cooperation with provincial governors and the national Planning Ministry in Panama City. 94 While dearly representing a new role for the National Guard in Panamanian politics, the overall goal is to temper the Guard's natural proclivity for civic action-a role encouraged by the Torrijos generation's own experience-with a distinctly advisory duty. This would presumably assure that actual responsibility for planning would be placed in the hands of national-level bureaucrats and influential regional elites, while the Guard would articulate the interests and needs of lower-echelon groups mobilized within its own ranks.

Betting on the Future: The Inherent Instability of the Panamanian Model The National Guard is likely to continue to play a dominant role in Panamanian politics for four reasons: (1) there remains little agreement among civilian elites-including PRO members-about the changes needed to stabilize the economy, reduce the foreign debt, and reform the social structure of Panama in order to establish a more equitable distribution


David Lewis Feldman

of wealth. (2) While this disagreement prompts the likelihood of intervention if a particular civilian government fails, the Guard is itself unable and unwilling to solve these problems. The governing experience of the period 1968-1980 taught the Guard that success breeds inevitable demands to leave power. Besides, as we have seen, differing factions within the Guard act as a check upon its own ability to formulate a political consensus and thus deter any long-term quest to rule. (3) Once in power, the Guard also learned that it is extremely difficult to retain the support of those who initially cheer intervention. And finally, (4) once given a taste of power, the Guard-like most military establishments in the Third World-is unwilling to give civilian competitors all the power required to succeed in implementing radical changes of policy. 95 The investment of such authority in civilians would potentially undermine the Guard's own authority, influence, and perquisites. Departing officers 'have thus stacked the rules of the game against aggressive civilian leadership by placing themselves in a position to remove undesirable officials right up to the level of the president, and to protect vested constituency interests, including illicit business dealings which have continued unabated through the mid-1980s, by simply ignoring civilian scrutiny of these activities. What seems predictable in the short run is that, in the field of foreign policy, an area with an immediate attraction in a nation-state so heavily dependent upon a single industry (the canal) for so much of its economic well-being, Panama will continue to strike an independent, anti-United States posture due, in part, to the continuing influence of the Guard. In essence, the Guard sees the protection of its prerogatives as requiring such a stance of independence. This can be seen in the example of former Guard commander Ruben Dario Paredes criticizing U.S. Ambassador Everett Briggs in 1981 for visiting U.S. military bases in Panama without the prior approval of the Guard. 96 It can also be seen in recent pressures by the U.S. to implore the removal of General Manuel Antonio Noriega. Beginning in June, 1987, Noriega has been accused by a former associate of rigging elections, killing political rivals, and profiting from official corruption, including working closely with Colombian narcotics barons. 97 Despite tense relations between the two countries, as this article is written, sharp debate in American policy circles over the wisdom of such pressures is taking place. Moreover, Noriega's support from within the National Guard still appears to be stable-if open to question. In essence, there is a division of opinion between the Department of Statewhich favors Noriega's removal and the withdrawal of the National Guard from politics-and the Department of Defense and Central

The Case of Panama


Intelligence Agency-which favor any leader able to provide security and, thus, political stability in the region. For Panama's part, while opposition leaders want Noriega removed, Foreign Minister Jorge Abadia Arias claims relations with the U.S. are not jeopardized by this crisis because of the commonality of interests. Moreover, others note that a "waffling" of American pressure recently points to larger U.S. concerns with containment of the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and thus, the role that Panama can play in this strategy. 98 Thus, in the short run, U.S. policy seems constrained by geopolitical realities, anti-Americanism, and the pervasive acceptance of corruption within the National Guard. It is also clear that the successor generation of Guard officers is likely to be drawn from graduates of Latin American military academies. This fact, in conjunction with the closing of the School of the Americas means that future Guardsmen will be under decreasing American influence, and, at the same time, will be increasingly acclimatized toward social and economic reforms. In the longer run, while this portends less encouragement of American values of civilian control, it also reinforces the likelihood that the Guard will continue to see itself as protecting institutional perquisites first, and internal political matters lastly. Where those two sets of values are seen as mutual, as in 1968 and 1980, both active intervention and deintervention will be easily contemplated and even more easily achieved. It should be added that current pressures upon Noriega to withdraw from Guard command as a result of accusations of narcotics trafficking involvement reinforce this contention. While Panamanian opposition leaders have applauded various U.S. legislative efforts to withhold aid as leverage against Noriega, pro-Government supporters-especially in the news media-see these efforts as meddlesome. As La Republica has declared, "It is not up to American legislators to decide whether elections in Panama are fair or not." 99 Thus, even if Noriega is removed, it is likely that the movement will be controlled by, and largely shaped in, the National Guard.

Notes 1. Richard F. Nyrop, Panama: A Country Study (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1981), p. 177. 2. Tom Barry, et. al., Dollars and Dictators (New York: Grove Press, 1983), p. 149. 3. Eric Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Governments (Englewood-Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1977), p.139.


David Lewis Feldman

4. See, for example,David L. Feldman, "The U.S. Role in the Malvinas Crisis, 1982: Misguidance and Misperception in Argentina's Decision to Go to War," Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs, 27 (Summer 1985): 1-22; also, David Pion-Berlin, "The Fall of Military Rule in Argentina: 1976-1983," Journal of Inter-American Studies an World Affairs, 27 (Summer 1985), 55-76. 5. Center For The Study of Foreign Affairs, Perspectives on Negotiation: Four Case Studies and Interpretations edited by D.B. Bendahmane and J.W. McDonald (Washington, D.C.: Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State, 1986), pp. 18-19. 6. Steve C. Ropp, "Panama: Restive Client," in Robert Wesson, ed., U.S. Influence in Latin America in the 1980s (New York: Praeger, 1982), p. 137; also, Walter La Feber, The Panama Canal: The Crisis in Historical Perspective (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), pp. 171-2. 7. Steve C. Ropp, Panamanian Politics: From Guarded Nation to National Guard (New York: Praeger, 1982), p. 76. 8. Daniel Goldrich, "Panama," in Martin A. Needler, ed., Political Systems of Latin America, 2nd Edition (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1970), p. 157. 9. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 38. 10. Ibid., p. 41; also, Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics, p. 144, and Goldrich, "Panama," p. 158. 11. Gary Wynia, The Politics of Latin American Development, 2nd Edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), pp. 210-213; also Christopher Dickey, "Central America: From Quagmire to Cauldron?" Foreign Affairs 62 (1984): 659-694. 12. Nyrop, Panama: A Country Study, p. 178. 13. Ropp, "Panama: Restive Client," p. 121; also, G. A. Mellander, The United States in Panamanian Politics: The Intriguing Formative Years (Danville, Illinois: Interstate Publishers, 1971), pp. 64-7. 14. Mellander, The United States in Panamanian Politics pp. 64-7. 15. Ibid., p. 67. 16. Nyrop, Panama: A Country Study, pp. 178, 190-1. 17. Ropp, "Panama: Restive Client," pp. 121-2; and, Barry, et al., Dollars and Dictators, pp. 108-9. 18. An account of these events is contained in Walter La Feber, The Panama Canal, pp. 96-98. 19. See, LaFeber, The Panama Canal, pp. 99-103, Nyrop, Panama: A Country Study, p. 179, and Larry La Rae Pippin, The Remon Era: An Analysis of a Decade of Events in Panama, 1947-1957 (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1964), p. 8. 20. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 36. 21. Goldrich, "Panama," p. 157, La Rae Pippin, The Remon Era, p. 1, and Louis K. Harris, "Panama," in B.G. Burnett and K.F. Johnson, eds., Political Forces in Latin America: Dimensions of the Quest for Stability, 2nd Edition (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1970), p. 179. 22. Goldrich, "Panama," p. 157, and Nyrop, Panama: A Country Study, p. 180.

The Case of Panama


23. Goldrich, "Panama," p. 157. 24. Alfred Stepan, The Military in Politics: Changing Patterns in Brazil (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), pp. 123-188. 25. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, pp. 36-7. 26. Ibid., also, Harris, "Panama," p. 178. 27. Ropp, "Panama: Restive Client," p. 121. 28. La Feher, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America (New York: W.W. Norton, 1984), pp. 108-9. 29. Richard H. Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1982), p. 121. 30. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 43. 31. Barry, et al., Dollars and Dictators, p. 145. 32. Edward J. Williams, The Political Themes of Inter-American Relations (Belmont, CA: Duxbury Press, 1974), p. 72. 33. Harris, "Panama," p. 179, and La Rae Pippin, The Remon Era, p. 8. 34. For an account of Torrijos' reaction, see Graham Greene, Getting to Know the General: The Story of an Involvement (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), p. 37. 35. Barry, et al., Dollars and Dictators, p. 148. 36. James Dunkerley, "Central America: Collapse of the Military System," in C. Clapham and G. Philip, Editors, The Political Dilemmas of Military Regimes (Totowa, New Jersey: Barnes and Noble, 1985), p. 176. 37. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 37, Harris, "Panama," p. 182. 38. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 37. 39. C. Clapham and G. Philip, "The Political Dilemmas of Military Regimes," in C. Clapham and G. Philip, eds., The Political Dilemmas of Military Regimes (Totowa, New Jersey: Barnes and Noble, 1985), pp. 10-11. 40. Dunkerley, "Central America," p. 176. 41. Center For the Study of Foreign Affairs, Perspectives on Negotiation, p. 11. 42. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 42. 43. Ibid., also, La Feher, The Panama Canal, p. 162. 44. Ibid., p. 164. 45. K. J. Middlebrook and C. Rico, "The United States and Latin America in the 1980s: Change, Complexity, and Contending Perspectives," in K. J. Middlebrook and C. Rico, eds., The United States and Latin America in the 1980s: Contending Perspectives on a Decade of Crisis (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986), p. 13. 46. La Feher, The Panama Canal, p. 165, and Nyrop, Panama: A Country Study, p. 180. 47. Dunkerley, "Central America," p. 198. 48. Center For the Study of Foreign Affairs, Perspectives on Negotiation, p. 18. 49. Ropp, "Panama: Restive Client," p. 135; Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 46. 50. La Feher, The Panama Canal, p. 164.

David Lewis Feldman


51. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 42, 76. 52. Ibid., pp. 80-1. 53. Ropp, "Panama: Restive Client," p. 127. 54. La Rae Pippin, The Remon Era, p. 8; Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 46. 55. La Feber, The Panama Canal, p. 172. 56. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 92. 57. Ibid., pp. 93-7. 58. Ropp, "Panama," p. 126, and Middlebrook and Rico, "The United States and Latin America," pp. 11, 55. 59. Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics, pp. 138-9. 60. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 79. 61. lbid.,pp. 79-83. 62. Ibid., p. 82. 63. Dunkerley, "Central America," p. 177. 64. Barry, et. al., Dollars and Dictators, p. 149. 65. Ropp, "Panama: Restive Client," p. 136. 66. Gary Wynia, "Militarism Revisited," journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs 25 (February, 1983): 105-119. 67. Goldrich, "Panama," p. 157. 68. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 42. 69. Bengt Abrahamsson, Military Professionalization and Political Power (Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE, 1972), pp. 19, 78, 154. 70. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 43. 71. Ibid. 72. Steven R. Harper, Central America and U.S. Foreign Assistance: Issues for Congress (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, 1985), CRS-18. 73. Goldrich, "Panama," p. 178. 74. Ropp, "Panama: Restive Client," p. 139. 75. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 47. 76. Ibid. 77. Georgie Anne Geyer, The New Latins: Fateful Change in South and Central America (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970), p. 264. 78. La Feber, The Panama Canal, pp. 167-174. 79. Geyer, The New Latins, pp. 264-5. 80. Greene, Getting to Know the General, p. 71. 81. See Geyer, The New Latins, pp. 264-5, and Greene, Getting to Know the

General. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 90. 91.

La Feber, The Panama Canal, pp. 166-7. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 49. Ibid., pp. 50-1. Nyrop, Panama: A Country Study, p. 181. Ibid. Ibid., pp. 182-3. Ibid. 89. Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 43. Ibid., p. 80. Dunkerley, "Central America," p. 176.

The Case of Panama 19.


92. Center For the Study of Foreign Affairs, Perspectives on Negotiation, p.

Ropp, Panamanian Politics, p. 91. Ibid. Wynia, "Militarism Revisited," pp. 113-116. Barry, et al., Dollars and Dictators, p. 230. Larry Rohter, "U.S. Policy on Panama to Face Key Tests on Aid," New York Times, November 22, 1987: A-10. 98. Ibid. 99. Stephen Kinzer, "Panama's Military Holding to Power," New York Times, March 29, 1987: 7. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97.

6 The Politics of Disengagement in Turkey: The Kemalist Tradition fames Brown Sovereignty that rests on guns cannot endure. Such a sovereignty, or dictatorship, must only be a temporary expedient in a time of upheaval.

Mustafa Kemal (Atatiirk), 1930

On September 12, 1980, the Turkish armed forces seized power to save the nation from severe social, economic, and political chaos. This was not a new phenomenon. On two previous occasions, since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the military entered the political arena, to subsequently disengage voluntarily. 1 Turkey's politicians and political parties once again proved inept in maintaining a viable political system. Against a backdrop of ten years of coalition governments (1970-1980), political polarization which included fractious sectarian, linguistic, and religious rivalries, urban terrorism, and fundamental socioeconomic problems rose the specter of anarchy or military rule. General Kenan Evren, then Chief of the Turkish General Staff, declared that the objectives of the armed forces in seizing power were to bring peace to the country and to return to the path marked out by Kemal Atatiirk. 2 Traditionally, the Turkish military, going back to the beginnings of the Turkish Republic, adhered to the principles imparted by Atatiirk that the armed forces were to stay out of politics. There should be total separation of the military and political functions.

Parts of this essay have been adopted from the author's earlier work on the same subject. See "The Military and Politics in Turkey," Armed Forces and Society, vol. 13, no. 2 (Winter 1987), pp. 235-253.



]ames Brown

As long as officers remain in the Party we shall never build a strong Party nor a strong Army. In the 3rd Army most of the officers were also members of the Party and the 3rd Army cannot be called first class. Furthermore, the Party receiving its strength from the Army will never appeal to the nation. Let us resolve here and now that all officers wishing to remain in the Party must resign from the Army. We must adopt a law forbidding all future officers having political affiliations. 3 However, the armed forces have reserved the right to intervene should developments threaten Atatiirk's policies and goals, thus threatening the Turkish model of democracy. The basis for this development can be found in a revealing speech given by Atatiirk at Konya: This apolitical army, totally subordinated to the civil power, is at the same time entrusted with the mission of securing the unconditional defense of the political institutions of the state against both external and internal attack. The system is placed beneath its protection, and the internal regulation of the army recognizes its right to intervene in case of danger. 4 This has been especially true in the post World War II period when the military build-up by the United States gave Turkish armed forces a more direct role in the country's defense. Its status was enhanced at a time when political parties were struggling for standing. The armed forces, then seeing themselves as the guardians of the nation from Soviet expansionism, to which was linked domestic subversion and disorder, were able to enter the political arena as the protector of the nation. In other words, the officer corps is the guardian of Kemalism always affirming Atatiirk's principles-the driving ideology for change. 5 In 1978, General Evren stated that "the armed forces will never tolerate or allow the degeneration of the republic, which is the sole guarantee of our freedoms." 6 Amplifying on this very point, a year later General Evren publicly advised that "if there are those who want to split this country, let them try. They will have to kill us all [armed forces]-including me-before the integrity of this country is violated." 7 The armed forces have historically held a place of distinction in Turkish national life, and have also distinguished themselves as gifted diplomats. For example, they were successful in keeping together the crumbling Ottoman Empire from 1683 until its last gasp in 1918. 8 The transition from a multi-national empire to an independent nation state of Turkish people was accomplished by Atatiirk and the military. In fact, twelve of the seventeen Ottoman generals joined him in this national cause. 9 Since the proclamation of the Republic in 1923, the Turkish armed forces abstained for forty years from any obvious role on the

Disengagement in Turkey


political stage. 10 What are these Kemalist values that serve as the driving force for the armed forces in their role as the protectors of the Republic?

Kemalism: Its Nature The defeat of the Ottomans by the European powers and the nationalist movements of the non-Turkish peoples of the empire had a significant impact on Atatiirk's desire to create a pure Turkish state. 11 Furthermore, Atatiirk realized that it was necessary to separate modem from traditional elements of Turkish life. This meant a separation of the Islamic religion, the foundation of all Ottoman traditions, from the state, which was to take a European form. Thus, Atatiirk's message was twofold: nationalism and secularism. The societal reforms he introduced primarily in the 1920s, derived less from any kind of complex philosophical thought about politics as the social fabric than his intense belief to pursue the path of westernization, which was, as he saw it, the only viable course for Turkey. Atatiirk was not hostile to cultural and religious traditions, but he considered them to be an obstacle to national revival. The six principles or arrows of Kemalism are the foundations of the Turkish modernization process, 12 and might aptly be described as the first modernization ideology of the Third World. The modernization process in Turkey was imposed by Atatiirk; the principles of Kemalism arose primarily from the practical necessities of this process.

The Post World War II Period Through the 1940s Turkey was ruled by the heirs of Atatiirk, the bureaucratic elite that he entrusted to implement Kemalism. 13 This elite was led by Ismet lnonii and organized politically in the Republican Peoples Party (RPP), which in tum had the support of the army out of whose ranks many of the leading political personalities had come. As long as the RPP was the sole party, the identity of the regime and the military was not difficult to maintain. The decision to open up the political arena was a calculated one. It was not prompted by foreign defeat nor domestic upheaval. Rather, it was undertaken because Ismet Inonii concluded that the time was ripe for the fuller application of principles and convictions of long standing. Unfortunately for Turkey, her first democratic experiment, after an auspicious beginning in the late forties and fifties, ended in failure. 14 The electoral victory of the Democratic Party led by Adnan Menderes in 1950, not only served as an experiment in widening political participation, but also brought to the surface the conflicts between the


James Brown

Kemalist elite and the new political forces that had long been kept out of power. In fact, occupational and social background research reveals that in political alignments of the late 1940s and 1950s, the RPP, which combined governmental officials, some large landowners, and a substantial portion of the backward peasantry, was opposed by the Menderes forces made up of the commercial middle class, the urban poor, and the more modern sectors of the rural population. 15 They, too, called themselves Kemalist; nevertheless the "old" Kemalist elite, in particular Atatiirk's political heirs and the officer corps, were suspicious of the aims and methods of the Menderes regime. As the Menderes government became more politically repressive by restricting freedom of the press, banning public meetings, and the formation of political parties in opposition to form, and economic difficulties ensued, popular indignation mounted. 16 Within the military widespread dissatisfaction surfaced with Menderes' retreat from Atatiirk's secularist and education reforms, 17 and took shape with the growing resentment in the use of troops to repress opposition and student protests. Moreover, Menderes further alienated the officer corps by basing promotions on personal fidelity to his party, and did little to ameliorate the officers declining economic status as a result of inflation. Furthermore, Menderes' government possessed "a thinly veiled contempt for the officer corps." 18 It accorded the military little voice in decision-making and permitted its prestige to suffer. Even more serious, in the eyes of the officer corps was the change in their social status. An officer emphasized this point as follows: "The prestige of the army was declining. Money seemed to be everything. An officer no longer had status in society. . . . It was not that we needed money, for officers had always been ill-paid, but we had had honor and respect in the past. Now these were gone." 19 The foundations of constitutional order and political neutrality that the armed forces were sworn to uphold were now in jeopardy. By his indiscriminate use of martial law Menderes was projecting the military into a political role. The officer corps choices were whether to be in politics for Menderes or against him. 20 On May 3, 1960, General Cemal Gursel resigned as commander of the Turkish land forces with a pointed appeal to the military to "keep out of politics at any cost." It was shortly thereafter that the senior military commanders reached the opinion that . the Menderes' government had departed from Kemalist principles and the republic was in imminent danger of disintegration. The conclusive answer came in the military coup d'etat of May 27, 1960, a bloodless, well coordinated action before dawn by 38 officers who took power in the name of the National Unity Committee (NUC). 21 The armed forces intervention was dictated by circumstances and re-

Disengagement in Turkey


deemed by a quick return to democracy. Another and different explanation can also be offered. The military in Turkey had been contained because the civilian sector had been successful and the military had nothing better to offer. For the first time the electorate became independent, creating a divergence between the views of the military and those of the civilian government. Thus the roots of the 1960 intervention were a result of the social, economic, and political transformations taking place in Turkish life, particularly in the disintegration of the broad governing consensus that had existed under Atatiirk's leadership and his successors. In fact, tensions within the country were heightened by the emergence of new ideological issues during this period and with the realignment of political parties along conservative-liberal lines. Throughout the 1950s the primary concern of the military and the civilian ruling elites was for the preservation of Kemalism and the prevention of authoritarianism. 22 The new ruling elite never fully comprehended the importance of this consensus. Thereby it polarized the society and increased tensions to such a degree that by 1960 civil strife was rampant requiring that martial law be declared. Yet, this military intervention of some eighteen months left an indelible effect. The mere fact of this intervention raised short-run dangers for their professional integrity, but longer-range ones for Turkish civil-military relations. Would the officer corps feel again at some future time that they had to intervene in an emergency? Within a little over a year democratic government returned, a new constitution was in place, and ideological diversification kept pace with escalating social tensions. The surfacing of Marxist and extreme left-wing groups and the revival of Islam as a political force called into question the Kemalist traditions. Political pluralism was now a fact in Turkish public life, but became very difficult to manage. Individuals and organizations now enjoyed unprecedented rights and freedoms, but with their government constrained they also enjoyed lessened protection against one another's transgressions. It was in this permissive milieu that extremist groups took root in the early 1960s. 23 The imposition of martial law at various times during 1961-1963 inflamed the Left. Corruption was rampant, stigmatizing the government as it had done in the 1950s. By 1965 the government's legitimacy was flagging, and Turkish politics could be characterized as a "silent partnership" in which the military maintained its full autonomy from the government while keeping a watchful eye over the parameters of political life. During this period three political views emerged and were distinguishable based on each one's attitude toward Kemalism. The RPP under the continued leadership of the aged Ismet Inonii was strictly bound


]ames Brown

by Atatiirk's principles. The party still was made up of bureaucratic elite somewhat removed from the interests and feelings of the masses. Also on the political scene was the Justice Party (JP) led by Siileyman Demirel (the successor to the Democratic Party). It did not repudiate Kemalism but neither did it feel obligated to uphold his principles in its programs and actions. Its furtherance of private enterprise, tolerant attitude toward religious groups, and the continuing dominance of rural elements within the party portrayed an indifference toward Kemalism. And finally, the religious and Marxist groups emerged and openly opposed Kemalist reforms. 24 It was not the mere existence of extremist parties, nor the country's ideological and political polarization, but the large-scale domestic turmoil that once again forced the military to intervene in March, 1971. Atatiirk's nationalist ideology could no longer provide social cohesion among the diverse elements of the population now split ideologically and ethnically, which often became mutually reinforcing. Significantly, however, the armed forces refrained from outright assumption of power, but permitted the establishment of a non-partisan cabinet to impose martial law, suppress newspapers, outlaw strikes and arrest hundreds of extremists from both the Left and Right. The March 1971 intervention became known as the "coup by communique." This communique held the Demirel government responsible for driving "our country into anarchy, fratricidal strife and social and economic unrest" with the consequences that the "future of the Turkish Republic is . . . seriously threatened. • • • " 25 The three cabinets of civil servants and backbenchers that ruled Turkey from 1971-1973 were approved unofficially by the Supreme Military Council. In 1972 Biilent Ecevit deposed Ismet Inonii in a bitter contest for the leadership of the Republican People's Party. It was Ecevit's program of democratic socialism and his uncompromising stand against military intervention that turned out to be the crucial element in his victory. In April 1973 the military and parliament agreed on a bipartisan caretaker government to guarantee the freedom and fairness of the elections scheduled for Fall 1973. In addition, Turkey's constitution was amended to close "the loopholes" which allowed extremists to operate so effectively for ten years. 26 On October 14, 1973, civilian rule returned to Turkey, ending thirty months of indirect rule by the armed forces. The election revealed a shaken polity as had been the case in 1961, as the six parties, none of whom won a majority, failed to agree on a ruling coalition. Ecevit's rejuvenated RPP emerged as the strongest single party over its principal antagonist, Siileyman Demirel and the Justice Party. After much maneuvering among these parties Ecevit put forth an unlikely coalition

Disengagement in Turkey


with the ultra conservative National Salvation Party (NSP) of Necmettin Erbakan. 27 With martial law and the political vendetta (both Left and Right) over, Turkey's leaders turned to other matters amidst a sense of relative political normalcy. The two most pressing concerns were interrelated, namely the OPEC oil price/supply crises (Turkey imports 7080 percent of its oil) and growing tensions with Greece over oil exploration rights in the Aegean Sea. In addition, the Cyprus issue was to shortly loom on the horizon (July 1974). A second wave of violence began to develop in 1975, embroiling both the Left and the Right, and the military's stance toward the successive civilian governments during this period was critical because of their inability to promote stability. On a number of occasions the military leaders issued outright threats of intervention. For example, in January of 1975, Chief of Staff General Semih Sancar warned that "the Army will not stay away from the nation's problems."28 Yet, an outright military take-over did not occur despite the protracted stalemate in political and economic life and the persistence of violence. The Turkish military delayed taking action in the hopes that the civilians would find a way to impose more effective rule. The two antagonistic civilian coalitions under Ecevit and Demirel agreed on little except the imperative of preventing direct military rule. By the late 1970s Turkey's economy had deteriorated and domestic tensions had polarized political life. Because of the economic dislocation inflation was rampant in excess of 80% and unemployment was at about 15%. This paralysis and polarization in national politics had been accompanied by an alarming rise in domestic violence. This wave of violence claimed over 2300 lives in the period 1978-1980 (as compared to 500 in the previous decade). In short, Turkey's domestic situation by mid-1980 had reached a critical stage. Against the backdrop of ten years of coalition governments, political polarization, urban terrorism, and fundamental socio-economic problems, rose the specter of anarchy or military rule. The September 1980 Intervention The armed forces had to intervene on September 12, 1980 because the Turkish state was on the verge of falling apart with growing economic problems of runaway inflation, unemployment, and balance of payment deficits, together with increasing public disorder and political violence between various political, ethnic and religious groups that became a daily occurrence. Terrorism by mid-1980 was rampant. The warnings by the military had gone unheeded. 29 These warnings were addressed


fames Brown

not to one single party or to several politicians but to all constitutional institutions. The goals of this coup, as outlined by General Evren,30 were: 1) To maintain the national unity; 2) to restore the security of life and property by preventing anarchy and terrorism; 3) to insure the primacy of state authority and to protect it; 4) to secure social peace and insure national understanding and solidarity; 5) to render operational the secular republic system based on social justice, individual rights and freedoms and human rights; 6) finally, after concluding the legal arrangements, to reinstate the civil administration within a reasonable time. As always, the light which will direct us in attaining our goals will consist of Atatiirkism and its principles. General Evren went on to say, "We have not eliminated democracy. I would particularly like to point out that we were forced to launch this operation in order to restore democracy with all its principles, to replace

a malfunctioning democracy." 31

The sense of relief with which Turks greeted the restoration of order was virtually unanimous. Within a year, the National Security Council had taken steps to reinstitute democracy. A new constitution was drafted to replace the "liberal" constitution of 1961 and was submitted to the voters, who overwhelmingly approved it. The new constitution sought to strengthen the office of President and the two-party system. The latter was in order to break parliamentary impasse which gave minority parties disproportionate strengths in forming coalition governments. Overall, however these constitutional changes, supported by implementing legislation, were quite significant. Provisional article four of this new constitution banned virtually all officials who had belonged to any political parties prior to the September 1980 coup, from any political activity for a period of ten years. This constitutional prohibition also prohibited all former parliamentarians from being involved in activities of creating and leading new parties. The Political Parties Law which followed the new constitution also prohibited any new party from resembling in any fashion or symbol, any of the pre-1980 party organizations. It was the intent of the military for new political actors to take the stage. 32 In addition to controlling the political players the government of General Evren wanted politics removed from the government bureaucracy and societal institutions and associations. This was accomplished by restricting politics to political parties. Associations could not have ties

Disengagement in Turkey


of any kind to any political parties or ideology. Members of professional associations, including unions, could not play active roles. Members of the government bureaucracy, civil servants, the police, judges and prosecutors, teaching staffs at universities and schools and members of the armed forces could not be members of political parties. Unions were especially controlled for political activities; strikes were felt to endanger the polity and were prohibited. The press was controlled by legislation which prescribed heavy fines, closings and imprisonments for activities which threatened national security and offended public morality. The military's rationale for this depoliticalization was that these institutions and associations had lost their basic identities and purpose. Only by focusing them on their reasons for existence could they beneficially serve society. All of these decisions were defended by the Evren government as appropriate and essential for a politically immature society. 33 Our previous discussion suggests that the Turkish armed forces have ventured into the political arena, but with reluctance. Furthermore, they willingly withdrew from politics, returning the reins of power to civilian authorities. What does this behavior proffer in terms of the professionalism of the Turkish officer corps? A distinguishing characteristic of one armed forces from another is the degree or extent of political involvement. This truism hinges on the professionalism of the officer corps. The literature provides us with two perspectives: one suggests that professionalism inhibits intervention; the other, as a stimulant to political adventurism. According to Huntington, professionalism is a decisive reason in keeping the soldiers out of politics. 34 However, professionalism, in and of itself, will not keep a military from intervening in politics. The second school of thought, led by Abrahamsson and Finer, takes a dim view of the role of professionalism in military intervention. 35 The greater the responsibilities of the military and the more advanced and sophisticated the training of its officers, the more insistent the pressure will be on the members of the armed forces to entangle themselves in politics. 36 Officers as part of their educational training, are encouraged to make political decisions. To inhibit this tendency the military "must believe in an explicit principle-the principle of civilian supremacy." 37 Otherwise, professionalism may enhance the possibility of excessive military influence, or at last resort, military intervention. Turkey's armed forces approximate the Abrahamsson and Finer models of professionalism, with the exception that the officer corps has always willingly disengaged from the front line of politics, returning the reins of power to civilian authorities. This is in part attributable to the presence of a national ideology, Kemalism, which binds the military and civilian


]ames Brown

institutions. It was Kemal Atatiirk's strong personality that shaped, defined, and established principles of behavior for the Turkish military, and in the end entrusted them to be the protectors of the nation-state. Atatiirk's revolution included a civilian component that militated against full-scale praetorianism. Moreover, in less than a decade after his death, a multi-party system emerged. It was not until 1960 that the armed forces were required to intervene, having been drawn into the political arena by the politicians. The foremost reason for their intervention was to protect the sanctity of the State and Kemalism. Ismet Inonii aptly stated that "the military sincerely respect the political parties as nonceasing elements in our democratic life, and all our political parties comprehend the responsibility which the military carries in our country's life."38 Subsequently, when the Turkish armed forces intervened again in 1971 they did so from behind the scenes by manipulating the selection process of three cabinets; this became known as the "coup by communique." In both of these instances (1960 and 1971) the Turkish military voluntarily returned to the barracks. Similarly, the 1980 intervention culminated in disengagement. In summary they have acted as a temporary and progressive political force, taking seriously their self-chosen role as guardians of the constitutional order. A distinguishing feature of the Turkish military establishment is their "behind the scenes" role in the political process. Presently the officer corps is institutionally separate from the government. However, a consultative linkage exists at the top between the civilian government and the military establishment as represented by the President of the Republic (Kenan Evren) and the Turkish General Staff. Specifically, under the present constitution, Article 118 creates a National Security Council which determines national security policy and coordinates all activities related to such matters. It is presided over by the president of the republic and chaired in his absence by the prime minister. 39 Thereby, the Turkish armed forces have formal access to the existing civilian government whereby they can legally voice the concerns of the military. In addition, there exists the Supreme Military Council which is headed by the Chief of the General Staff and includes the commanders of the several services. This body has become a very important collective decision-making group for the armed forces. Furthermore, since 1960 the office of the Chief of the General Staff has acquired paramount importance. 40 Under the existing laws its primary responsibility is to prepare the Turkish military for war and to direct and administer them. The Minister of Defense, Erzan Vulralhan, and the Defense Ministry play, in reality, a secondary role in the overall direction of the Turkish armed forces. He and his staff are adjunct to the Turkish General Staff.

Disengagement in Turkey


Vulralhan's responsibilities are to oversee personnel, procurement, supplies and implementation of the budget. Any and all major decisions affecting the armed forces are made by the Turkish General Staff and more specifically the Army which consists of about 80% of the armed forces. This in reality is the supreme body. For example, these were the institutional settings that the Turkish General Staff used in late 1979 and 1980 in warning Prime Minister Siileyman Demirel and his government that the armed forces were genuinely concerned about the ineffectualism and factualism of party politics and urged "all constitutional bodies to unite, show solidarity and support one another to save the country from the dangers facing it and from the impasse where it now finds itself." 41 These warnings were addressed "not to one single party or to several political parties but to all constitutional institutions." 42

Return to Civilian Rule The transition from military to civilian rule is now complete in Turkey. This process was initiated in November, 1982, with the election of General Kenan Evren as President of the Republic, and culminated in November, 1987, with parliamentary elections. In these elections, the formerly banned politicians, namely, former Prime Ministers Demirel and Biilent Ecevit, took part, and Prime Minister Turgut Ozal's Motherland party was victorious. 43 This election was a milestone in Turkey's political evolution. This restored Turkey's political respectability in the international community, especially in West Europe, as a nation dedicated to democratic principles. (hal's overall plan is to improve the economy so that Turkey can compete with European industries, positioning the economy to take advantage of its European Economic Community (EEC) associate membership. 44 No single factor plays as major a role in determining Prime Minister Turgut Ozal's tenure in office as his efforts at economic revitalization. His blueprint continues to follow the direction he established in the late 1970s, while he was overseeing the economic portfolio in Siileyman Demirel's government, before the military take-over. At that time, Ozal initiated policies directed at transforming the economy from a highly state-directed, inward-looking entity to a growth-oriented, export-driven economy based on free market forces. It was Turgut Ozal's promise of a consistent, far-ranging economic program that won him the support of the Demirel government and Turkey's creditors in 1979, then of General Evren and his cohorts in 1980, and of a majority of Turkish voters in 1983.


James Brown

Throughout the 1980s, (hal's overriding aim has been to turn Turkey into a powerful trading and industrial state. Measures have been introduced to simplify administration, and to liberalize foreign trade and capital and exchange transactions. There has also been an emphasis on the development of money and capital markets. As for fiscal policy, greater autonomy given to local administrations has resulted in improved public services, while the operation of special investment funds seems to have speeded up investment in infrastructure and housing. Improvements in tax collection following the introduction of a value-added tax in 1985 have helped to keep general government budget deficits in the region of 2 percent of gross national product (GNP). 45 These reforms have brought an impressive stream of benefits for Turkey. The GNP grew at a rate of 8 percent in 1986 and of 6.8 percent in 1987. It is estimated to expand in 1988 to a rate of 5 percent, led by both public and private investment and strong consumer demand. 46 However, the Ozal government faces a greater challenge in bringing down inflation and unemployment rates, and halting the decline in real income. The inflation rate is now estimated at about 40 percent, while the unemployment rate is an estimated 20 percent. The tightening of both budgetary and monetary policy in 1988 should reverse the upward trend in inflation. Even these shortcomings will be grudgingly accepted by the Turkish people, as long as they continue to believe that Prime Minister Ozal and his programs will eventually succeed. Their aversion to violence still persists and no viable alternative government exists on the horizon. Ozal's future success will depend in part on public and military confidence that his government can maintain domestic stability and can prevent a resurgence of the civil unrest of the late 1970s. Today, the armed forces continue to keep a watchful eye on the civilian government and play a decided role in the political life of Turkey as guardians, so that the pre-1980 excess should not again prevail.

The Future The Turkish armed forces approximate the Finer and Abrahamsson models of professionalism, and although they have ventured into the political arena it has been with reluctance. Furthermore, the officer corps has willingly withdrawn from politics, returning the reins of power to civilian authorities. The driving force for disengagement is Kemalism which binds the military to the civilian institutions, and establishes principles of behavior for the Turkish military who were entrusted to be the protectors of the nation-state. A distinguishing feature of the officer corps is their "behind the scenes" role in the political process. The existence of institutionalized

Disengagement in Turkey


"consultative" linkages at the top between the civilian government and the military establishment as represented by President Kenan Evren and the Turkish General Staff, facilitates the consultative process. In fact, it appears that the Turkish General Staff keeps a watchful eye on the civilian government to ensure it does not once again stray toward the path of ineffectualism and factualism that provoked the earlier interventions. The bottom line is that the Turkish military are reluctant participants, ensuring it need not again intervene. Today, they continue to retain some measure of authority to exercise power-directly or indirectly-if the occasion again warrants it. If the past is our guide such a military move would come only after repeated warnings and open indications of military displeasure. There is no doubt that the Turkish armed forces accept the principles of multi-party politics and an elected parliamentary assembly as the only legitimate system for Turkey. President Kenan Evren aptly stated recently, "The Turkish Armed Forces are devoted to democracy and they are its indestructible guard." 47 Notes 1. There have been three major instances of military intervention by the Turkish Officer Corps (1960, 1971, and 1980). In addition, there have been other plots and attempted coups: 1926-a military plot against K. Atatiirk's life; 1957an attempt to establish a secret organization within the Army in order to initiate a revolt against the regime, nine officers were arrested, a major was given a two-year sentence; 1960 (October)-military units attempted to take over Ankara radio station and the Grand National Assembly; 1962 (February)-military units attached to the staff college surrounded the Grand National Assembly building to protest the transfer of their commander, retirements followed; 1963 (May)an abortive coup attempt by middle grade officers, Colonel Talat Aydemir was executed for leading this putsch; 1970 (May)-two colonels were arrested and charged with inciting the armed forces to carry out a military revolution. In all 56 generals and 516 colonels were retired. 2. The most authoritative study to date of the September 1980 intervention is by M. Ali Birand, 12 Eyiil, Saat: 0400 {12 September, 0400 Hours] Karacan Yayinlari, As, 1984. 3. As quoted in Gavin Kennedy, The Military in the Third World (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974), p. 137. 4. As cited in Bener Karakartal, "Turkey: The Army As Guardian of the Political Order" in Christopher Clapham and George Philip, eds., The Political Dilemmas of Military Regimes (London: Croom Helm, 1985), p. 49. 5. Despite Atatiirk's admonition against political involvement, the Turkish armed forces have remained the most potent of society's interest groups. All but one of the last Presidents of the Republic have been high ranking military officers, mainly selected from the Turkish General Staff. See Dankwart A. Rustow,


James Brown

"The Army and the Founding of the Turkish Republic," World Politics (July 1959}, pp. 545-551. 6. Harold D. Nelson and Irving Kaplan, "National Security" in Richard F. Nyrop, ed., Turkey: A Country Study (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Printing Office, 1980), p. 252. 7. Ibid. 8. James M. Dunn, "Turkey" in Richard A. Gariel (ed.), Fighting Armies (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1983), p. 156. The second siege of Vienna resulted in a defeat of the Turkish forces by the combined armies of Austria, Prussia, Poland, and Venice. 9. See Rustow, "The Army and the Founding of the Turkish Republic." 10. Ibid., pp. 526-536. 11. Udo Steinbach, "The Impact of Atatiirk on Turkey's Political Culture Since World War II," in Jacob Landau, ed., Ataturk and the Modernization of Turkey (Boulder: Westview Press, 1984), p. 78. Today, all students in public schools and universities including military high schools and academies are required yearly to take several hours of course work in Kemalism and the history of the Revolution. 12. Ali Kazancigil and Ergun Ozbudum, eds., Ataturk: Founder of a Modern State (Hamden: Archon Books, 1981), pp. 16-35. The six arrows of Kemalisrri are secularism, republicanism, statism, populism, nationalism, and reformation. 13. Landau, Atatark, p. 79. 14. For further details, see Dankwart A. Rustow, "Turkey's Second Try at Democracy," Yale Review (Summer 1963). The 1960 coup was the first significant break with Atatiirk's tradition. 15. See E. Ozbundun, Social Change and Political Participation in Turkey (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 47. 16. Roderic H. Davison, Turkey (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968), pp. 151-153. 17. Ibid., p. 153. 18. Joseph S. Szyliowicz, "Elites and Modernization in Turkey" in Frank Tachau, ed., Political Elites and Political Development in the Middle East (New York: Schenkman Publishing Co., Inc., 1974), p. 44. 19. As cited in Tachau, Ibid., p. 45. 20. Rustow, Turkey's Second Try at Democracy, p. 523. This coup was instituted by Kemalist officers in the middle ranks which strained discipline within the ranks. As a result in August 1960 some 3,000 officers were purged; most of the generals and colonels. 21. Several cliques could be discerned within the National Unity Committee. The radicals, led by Colonel Alpaslan Turkes, were more concerned with implementing fundamental social and economic reforms than with restoring civilian rule. This group was made up of younger and of lower rank than the moderates led by General Gursel. In the ensuing power struggle the Turkes clique was defeated. Tension between these groups persisted through 1963. 22. Tachau, Political Elites, p. 50.

Disengagement in Turkey


23. For a detailed discussion of the several extremist groups of this period see Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., "Anarchy in Turkey," Conflict, vol. 2, no. 1 (1980), pp. 40-42. 24. Landau, Political Elites, p. 82. 25. Feroz Ahmad, The Turkish Experiment in Democracy, 1950-1975 (London: C. Hurst & Co., 1977), p. 205. 26. Law No. 1773 enacted in June, 1973 outlined jurisdiction of civilian courts. Also, Articles 141, 142, and 163 were reversed. This allowed the state courts to arrest and detain any suspect leftist or right-wing Islamist regardless of the presence or absence of a crime. 27. The Republican Peoples Party received 185 seats; Justice Party 149; National Salvation Party 48; Democratic Party 45; Republican Reliance Party 13; The National Muslim Party 3; and Independents 6. 28. Keesing's Contemporary Archives (London: Longman Group, 1975), July 1, 1975. 29. It was reported that the National Security Council warned the politicians, both privately and publicly, at least six times during the first part of 1980. For a detailed discussion of both Demirel's and Ecevit's responses see Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), vol. 7 (January 3, 1980), pp. Tl-2. 30. FBIS, vol. 7, September 16, 1980, p. T-3. 31. Emphasis added by the author. FBIS, vol. 7 (September 17, 1980), p. T1. 32. The bans were lifted in a cliff-hanger special referendum on September 6, 1987. The margin of victory to lift the bans on the politicians were quite close. For a detailed discussion see Middle East International, September 29, 1987. 33. Robert F. Hervey, The Key Political Decisions of the Military Government in Turkey and the Impact of These Decisions (Carlisle Barracks: U.S. Army War College, 1985), pp. 23-24. 34. Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State (New York: Vintage Books, 1957), pp. 8-18. 35. Bengt Abrahamsson, Military Professionalism and Political Power (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1972), pp. 36-38, and S. E. Finer, The Man on Horseback (Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd., 1962), pp. 25-27. 36. Claude E. Welch, Jr. and Arthur K. Smith, Military Role and Rule (North Scituate: Duxbury Press, 1974), p. 20. 37. Finer, The Man On Horseback, p. 28. 38. Nyrop, Turkey: A Country Study, p. 254. 39. The composition of the National Security Council consists of the Prime Minister, the Chief of the General Staff, the Ministers of National Defense, Internal Affairs, and Foreign Affairs, the Commanders of the Army, Navy, and the Air Force and the Commander of the Gendarmerie under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic. 40. He is appointed by the President of the Republic for a three year term of office on the proposal of the Council of Ministers. 41. FBIS, vol. 7, January 2, 1980, p. T-1.


james Brown

42. FBIS, vol. 7, January 3, 1980, pp. Tl-2. 43. The Constitutional Court, Turkey's court of last resort, declared on October 9, 1987, that Article 8 of the Election Law was unconstitutional. The Court's 6-5 decision concerned only the process of selecting candidates. This decision forced Prime Minister Ozal to reconvene Parliament to amend the election law and to change the election day from November 1 to November 29, 1987. In the results of the election. Ozal and the Motherland party won 292 or 450 seats in Parliament, while the Social Democrats won 99 seats and the True Path party of Siileyman Demirel took 59 seats. Biilent Ecevit failed to gain the 10 percent needed for parliamentary representation and announced his withdrawal from active politics. 44. Turkey's formal application to the EEC was made in May, 1987, and is being studied by the commission, which is anticipated to take 2 to 5 years to complete its work. Ankara hopes to be in a position to join, but the tum of this century. Related thorny issues that compound the Turkish application to the EEC are the difficulties that divide Ankara and Athens over the Aegean Sea and Cyprus. However, Prime Minister Ozal and Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou met in early 1988 in Davos, Switzerland, which indicates that both sides are reaching an understanding on how to proceed over these issues that divide Turkey and Greece and, further, how to avoid inflammatory actions or statements. 45. Turkey: OECD Economic Survey, 1987, (Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 1987), p. 7. 46. Country Report: Turkey, (London: The Economic Intelligence Unit, 1987), pp. 3-4. 47. Newspot: Turkish Digest, January 3, 1986.

7 Back to the Barracks~ The Brazilian Military's Style Edmundo Campos Coelho In 1964 the Brazilian military assumed direct power for the first time during this century. Also for the first time, they broke with the traditional "coup and exit" model: seizing power which they would only return to civilians twenty-one years later. Abundant literature on the coup has been produced both in Brazil and abroad, while much too much has been written on the nature of the military regime established in 1964. Only now, however, have studies on the withdrawal of the military and the transfer of power to civilians begun to appear. 1 This paper is my contribution to this as yet incipient literature. I shall open with some general observations on certain dimensions of what could be called the "belief system" of the Brazilian military. The purpose of the comparative study of military institutions is to discover what is invariable in the conduct of the men who have donned uniforms under highly diverse social, economic, political, and cultural conditions. That which is unique and specific in the attitudes and behavior of the military of any one country is regarded as "idiosyncratic" and irrelevant to the construction of a more general theory on militarycivilian relations. Nonetheless, the reader should bear in mind that it is very difficult to understand the Brazilian military's behavior without taking into account their particular belief system, which makes them considerably different from the armed forces of other Latin American countries: a. Only during the consolidation period of the Republic (1889-1894) did Brazil have presidents in uniform. All the military officers to reach the presidency retired from service and adopted civilian dress. For the military, the symbolic significance of this act was 147







Edmundo Campos Coelho

to demilitarize both the chief executive and the regime. Even after the 1964 coup, the soldiers insisted that, although power was in the hands of the armed forces, the regime was not militaristic despite being military. They did not intend to impose military values or solutions on the nation; Respecting the line of precedence in successions is fundamental: the Vice-President replaces a deposed President; in the VicePresident's absence, the President of the Chamber of Deputies takes office; if he cannot, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court does. Before 1964, the military never broke with this model nor did they impose one of their members to head a transition government. After the 1964 coup, they handed leadership of the government over to the President of the Chamber of Deputies, though the country was really under revolutionary command; All the military presidents to govern after the 1964 coup were elected by Congress. The choice was, in fact, made internally by the officers' corps; yet the ritual of Congressional ratification, via elections, was never dispensed with as a legitimation ceremony; The Brazilian military did not do away with political parties, although one of the two legal parties was totally subservient to the government, as can be seen in all of the post-1964 military governments. The other found its freedom to practice opposition drastically restricted. At any rate, institutionalized opposition in the form of a political party did exist; None of the five military presidents to govern Brazil after 1964 failed to complete his term of office due to a coup. This fact contrasts dramatically with the Argentine case, in which military presidents are imposed and deposed by fellow military officers; The military junta has been a rare occurrence in Brazil. Indeed, the country has had only two: in 1930, the revolutionary movement led by Gerulio Vargas was already victorious, when the Army and Navy Ministers forced President Washington Luis to step downhe had refused to resign and meant to resist-and formed a provisional government; and in 1969, the three military ministers formed a junta to replace President Costa e Silva, who was fatally ill, until a new president could be elected. In both cases, the junta was an emergency measure of short duration. The Brazilian military believes that juntas both increase the risks of division inside the armed forces and give the impression of a militarization of the regime.

It would be an error to regard as mere hypocrisy the Brazilian military's attachment to the more formal legal aspects of the political

Back to the Barracks


order (elections, political parties, compliance with the line of succession, etc.) and their observance of "demilitarization" rituals. These traits are ingrained in the officers' mentality, and their roots are deep in the history of the Brazilian armed forces. They partly account for the appearance of continuity in the political system between 1945 and 1964; military coups in Brazil seem less traumatic than those in other Latin American countries, while the transitions are less turbulent and shorter in duration. Even during the long transition from an authoritarian regime to the recent democratization phase, the maintenance of parties and elections has been a factor of utmost importance, in spite of continuous manipulation of the rules of the game by the military governments. Indeed, the so-called abertura (liberalization) process came about through elections.

"Coup and Exit": The Divided Elite The Allied victory in the Second World War made an anachronism of the authoritarian New State regime, so often accused of nurturing fascist sympathies. Inside the armed forces, upholding the regime became increasingly difficult with the participation of Brazilian troops in the Allied effort. After the war, the officers returned to Brazil convinced that the time had come to re-establish a democratic regime. The suspicion that GetU.lio Vargas was plotting to remain in power only hastened the military coup that ousted him in 1945. Nonetheless, varguismo outlived the dictator's power and acted as a divisive factor among the Brazilian military elite in the decades that followed. Varguismo has had two important dimensions: the first, nationalism with strongly state-oriented accents; and the second, populism. Many Army officers showed marked sympathy for a nationalist position and were vocal in its defense when the policy of exploitation of petroleum and other mineral resources became a national issue. The state's monopoly on the exploitation of subsoil mineral resources turned into a nonnegotiable issue for them; opposed to them were the officers who favored the concurrence of foreign capital, particularly in the research, production, and refining of petroleum, while taking the precautions necessary to protect national security. Adversaries branded the nationalist group as "anti-American," and its opposition to the international trusts was exploited as a pro-Soviet tendency. During the early post-war years and soon after, in the Manichaean context of the Cold War between the two world powers, radicalization was almost to be expected. These differences were debated in the Military Club, and the Club's presidential elections stirred up the country. They coincided with the presidential election of 1950; the nationalist tendency prevailed in the


Edmundo Campos Coelho

Military Club, while Getulio Vargas, who was returning to politics, won the national presidential election. Divisions within the military elite intensified, particularly when the nationalists opposed a military agreement with the United States and published material in the Club's magazine which was very critical of North American involvement in the Korean War. In 1952, the nationalists lost control of the Military Club, a sure indication that the anti-Vargas faction had won over the majority of military opinion and were in a position to combat President Vargas. In 1954, in the middle of a serious political crisis, they headed a movement that called for the President's resignation and which led to his suicide. In 1955, the anti-Vargas group tried to prevent President-elect Juscelino Kubitschek and his Vice-President Joao Goulart from taking office, arguing that the two men represented the situation against which the August 1954 coup had been directed, and that their taking office would constitute an affront to the armed forces. A countercoup led by General Lott, the War Minister, guaranteed the inauguration of the President and VicePresident, but aggravated resentments among the officers. In 1961, it was "anti-varguismo'' again which inspired the coup attempt against the inauguration of Vice-President Goulart, who should have taken office after the resignation of President Janio Quadros. No countercoup occurred, because the military factions reached an agreement in order to avoid a direct confrontation which could have degenerated into a civil war. Goulart became President, but his power was severely limited by the establishment of a parliamentary regime, though he regained it in full after the 1963 plebiscite restoring a presidential regime. During Goulart's administration, nationalist officers again held key posts in government and the ar~ed forces. Although the military elite had been divided since 1945, it is important to note that factionalism within the armed forces, particularly the Army, never reached the degree which characterized, for example, the permanent struggle between azules and rajas inside the Argentine Army. The vast majority of officers adopted a neutral stance, resisting any alignment; and this too explains why military interventions in Brazil followed the "coup and exit" pattern until 1964. In order to remain in power, a coup faction needed the backing of these apolitical and neutral officers, which was never possible. These officers took part in coups less out of adherence to the ideas of a given faction than out of discipline and obedience to the hierarchy. They simply followed the leaders, which meant that in Brazil, successful coups had not only to be "generals' coups" but also "hierarchy coups," led by officers in key positions in the military organizational structure. While neutral officers were not always clear about the legality of constitutionality of certain controversial acts by civilian leaders; or while they might be indifferent to the fate of a given

Back to the Barracks


leader and followed the hierarchy in the execution of the coup; they certainly were aware of the negative consequences of supporting the government of a military faction, a usurper of power. This sort of government would very soon try to make the entire corps of officers conform to its ideas, stimulating resistance, coups, and countercoups in a process which would liken the Brazilian Armed Forces to those of Argentina. Faced with lack of support from neutral generals, the coup faction might consider mobilizing subordinate or junior officers. But this alternative was also impracticable in Brazil, for it could trigger a violent reaction on the neutrals' part against the subversion of the hierarchy and "internal populism." Hence, unable to maintain power, the only courses open to the coup faction were the "coup and exit" model, or to await events capable of breaking the neutrals' resistance in which case the military institution as a whole would take power. This was precisely what occurred in 1964, when President Goulart disregarded certain norms of prudence in dealing with the military.

"Coup and Stay": Unity in Crisis Since 1953, when he had served as Minister of Labor during Gerulio Vargas' constitutional government, Goulart had aroused strong antagonism inside the armed forces. The military regarded him as a populist and a demagogue, politically linked with labor organizations. After the President's suicide, he came to be viewed as Vargas' political "heir." Yet no president could govern if he lacked the support of the strongest currents of military opinion and, above all, of the hierarchy. The moderate officers and neutrals who countered the coup faction in 1961, allowing Goulart to take office, and continued to give him their support. However, the President seemed to think that the support of the mobilized labor organizations, student associations, a few left-wing governors, and the nationalist officers was enough to enable him to carry out his program of changes. The more Congress resisted approving his proposals, the more Goulart found himself pressured by his political supporters and the more he tended to rely on them. In the ensuing crisis which led to his overthrow, he was cautioned by General Bevilacqua, a nationalist officer and the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, that the guarantee of constitutional powers belonged to the armed forces, who would not share this constitutional prerogative with labor organizations. There is evidence that Goulart received similar warnings from other moderate officers who were unquestionably loyal to him. In the Navy, little support for him remained after he appointed Admiral Aragao, a left-wing radical, to the command of the Marine Corps.


Edmundo Campos Coelho

Despite this loss of support among the armed forces, there is every indication that Goulart would not have been deposed, had it not been for his conduct in the face of displays of insubordination encouraged by the noncommissioned officers from the three branches of the armed forces. Fear of the political mobilization of the noncommissioned officers had haunted the military elite ever since the crisis of 1961, when sergeants, corporals, and seamen from several different barracks, naval, and air force bases had rebelled against the military ministers' veto of Goulart's inauguration. Again in September 1963, noncommissioned officers from the three branches mutinied in Brasilia after a decision by the Federal Supreme Court declaring their ineligibility for public office. On this occasion, they managed to seize the President of the Chamber of Deputies and a Supreme Court Justice; then they cut Congress' telephone and radio broadcasting lines, isolating it from the rest of the country. Several labor union leaders publicly supported the movement, while President Goulart took a neutral stand on the episode, hoping to limit its political ramifications. Finally, on March 26, 1964, more than a thousand sailors and Marines entrenched themselves in the metal workers union headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, in reaction to a decision by the Minister of the Navy to arrest one of their leaders (an agent provocateur, as it turned out, thought this fact would only come to light years later). Instead of supporting his minister, Goulart dismissed him, replacing him with another officer suggested to him by the General Workers' Confederation (CGT). The new minister pardoned the mutineers. The coup took place five days later. Thus began twenty-one long years of authoritarian military rule. "Stay and Rule'': A Precarious Unity

Never once, from April1964 to March 1985, did the exercise of power cease to be corporative. From Castelo Branco (1964-1967) to Figueiredo (1979-1985), all chief executives were "delegated" from the armed forces and governed in its name. This does not mean that no tensions existed between the "armed forces as government" and the "armed forces as institution," to use the distinction established by Alfred Stepan. At any rate, maintaining the corporative character of power was an achievement, and all the more so because soon after the coup, the military would split over important issues. The divergences, on several occasions, were serious enough to make the occurrence of a countercoup seem likely. Many analysts have been surprised at the relatively mild character of the military regime in its early days. It is true that many people were victims of the police repression unleashed by the coup; arbitrary interventions occurred in various sectors of society; thousands of people lost

Back to the Barracks


their jobs in the civil service or were deprived of acquired rights; mandates were revoked and individuals were disfranchised for ten-year periods. Yet simultaneously, the military decided to maintain the Constitution of 1946, though modifying the section on executive power in order to fortify the President; the national Congress was kept functioning; political parties were not directly affected; the electoral calendar was not altered and neither were the rules regarding elections; freedom of the press was not seriously affected. Moreover, the military set themselves a time limit for disfranchisements (for sixty days after the publication of Institutional Act No. 1) and the return of Brazil to institutional normalcy. The date set to end the state of exception would coincide with the inauguration of the President to be designated in the elections of October 3, 1966. Until then, the national Congress would elect a president to complete the remainder of the deposed President's term. Why did the Brazilian military impose these limits on themselves right after the coup? What was their plan? Apparently, they meant to conduct a "clean-up" operation, in the first place, and promote political stability as a condition for restoring economic and financial order, in the second. For this, a time period of a year and eight months seemed to be sufficient. Furthermore, they probably believed that the disfranchisements would have enough of a dissuasive effect, in addition to the immediate intended results, to discourage protest against the new order. In the economic sphere, the reinforcement of the powers of the chief executive responded to the complaints of all previous presidents that they did not have enough power to induce Congress to approve proposals for financial and economic policy. Be that as it may, the limited reach of their project does not answer the first question: why did the military impose limits on themselves? It appears to me that, among other factors, they were highly conditioned by the "coup and exit" model: once the President is deposed, the legalconstitutional order must remain intact. The post-coup period also testifies to the military's excessive attachment to legal formalisms: even acts of political disfranchisement ritually appeared in the Didrio Oficial (The Official Daily) of the Republic without which, according to Brazilian law, they would not be legally valid. Also, the adherence of the apolitical officers had been fundamental to the coup's success, and they certainly had no desire for extreme measures which would distance the nation from the previous legal-constitutional framework. I believe that if there had been a Vice-President in the line of succession, the military would have sworn him in to complete Goulart's term, while carrying out their punitive "clean-up" measures. The civilians, too, were strongly conditioned by the conventional"coup and exit" pattern, to the relative calm of transitions effected by military


Edmundo Campos Coelho

means; the foremost political leaders were convinced that this was merely another classical coup, although circumstances had forced certain changes in the model, e.g. the election of a new president to complete the term of the one who had been deposed. Furthermore, because several of these same leaders were potential presidential candidates for the 1966 elections and they desired a full mandate, the enthusiastically supported the designation of a moderate and "legalistic" military officer, General Castelo Branco, to govern until the next election. Also, though many politicians certainly felt distaste for the disfranchisements and the other arbitrary acts set off by the coup, they viewed them as predictable events which were ultimately meant to appease the wrath of the military. In short, few politicians foresaw the disintegration of the legal-constitutional order in effect since 1945. There were, however, radical colonels who refused to resign themselves to the restrictions imposed by the military leadership; they began to put pressure on the hierarchy, impatient with the policy of moderation which restrained the arm of repression. Many of these colonels were in charge of the notorious IPMs (Military-Police Inquests for investigating corruption among politicians and high public officials) and were the focal point for permanent agitation during the Castelo Branco government. In a letter to his War Minister, the President collectively referred to these colonels as "certain military groups who consider themselves an 'independent force' " and complained of leaders who did not display "decisiveness with their subordinates." In another letter to one of these same colonels, the President remarked that "if the commands continue to debate orders, only obeying the ones that they think will not displease the officers' staff, then they are already in a state of pre-rebellion." 2 While the fear of rebellions did exist inside the military elite, it was also absolutely essential that no sign of grave internal division appear, much less traces of a spirit of insurrection and insubordination. For the Brazilian military, which had taken power into its hands for the first time (and which had so often criticized the civilians for their inability to resolve their differences), and internal movement of rebellion would have had a devastating demoralizing effect on the armed forces. Thus, it was more prudent to assimilate the blows against discipline and the hierarchy with a show of tolerance for the revolutionary fervor of the "young officers," rather than risk aggravating military jacobinism and stimulating solidarity among the radicals by punishing them with disciplinary measures. Under these circumstances, the radicals had the advantage of the initiative of action, putting the hierarchy on the defensive; they also had the unwitting aid of civilian politicians in forcing the regime to become progressively tougher. In 1965, several of the candidates to the

Back to the Barracks


governorship of key states were frankly unacceptable to much of the military. One such candidate in the state of Guanabara was General Lott, who had led the countercoup of November 1955 and defended the inauguration of Goulart in 1961. The radicals stirred up feeling against his candidacy in the barracks, until a detail in the electoral legislation made him ineligible. In the state of Minas Gerais, another of these candidates was accused of electoral corruption and disqualified through the so-called Ineligibility Law, drafted especially for the occasion and approved by Congress. Two more names remained which aroused the military's hostility: one was Ambassador Negrao de Lima in the state of Guanabara, ex-Minister of Justice in the Vargas government and under investigation for corruption in one of the IPMs; the other, in the state of Minas Gerais, was former Governor Israel Pinheiro, a close collaborator of ex-President Kubitschek (who had been disfranchised and was in exile in France). Both candidates won the elections, and never had the country come so close to another military coup. Army units were placed on alert, and several garrisons in Guanabara threatened to rebel against the government if the Governor-elect took office, as President Castelo Branco intended. Once again, the compromise formula worked: the new Governors took office, which preserved Presidential authority and regime prestige; at the same time, the radicals were appeased with the publication of Institutional Act No. 2, twenty-four days after the elections, which averted the immediate threat of a rebellion and thus protected the armed forces' image. Among other things, Institutional Act No. 2 abolished the existing political parties so that others could be created according to the stiff terms set down in the June 1965 act; it transferred the judgment of civilians accused of endangering national security over to military courts; it introduced an indirect election process for the offices of President and Vice-President, which would be chosen by an electoral college composed of the absolute majority of Congress; it regulated the activities of the disfranchised and those punished by the institutional acts; it gave the President the power to decree a recess of Congress, state legislative assemblies, and municipal legislatures; it changed the composition of the Federal Supreme Court and eliminated several of the justices' constitutional guarantees, facilitating purges in the judiciary. Lastly, Institutional Act No. 2 fixed the date of its own extinction: March 15, 1967, when President Castelo Branco's mandate would end. 3 Many of the restrictive aspects of two additional acts, especially those relative to the judiciary and its mechanisms of political representation, were incorporated into the Constitution of 1967, voted into effect by Congress at the end of the Castelo Branco government. Thus, they ceased being extraordinary and became part of the nation's normal juridical


Edmundo Campos Coelho

framework. The new constitution was also innovative in extending the notion of national security to include "internal enemies"; ideological boundaries were superimposed upon the physical boundaries of the state, and each citizen became individually responsible for national security. As a result, the new constitution greatly enlarged the area of responsibility of the National Security Council, whose administrative bureau would become one of the most powerful state agencies. Inside this new constitutional framework, Castelo Branco's successor was elected by the electoral college. On March 15, 1967, the new President, General Costa e Silva, took the oath of office. On the surface of things, President Costa e Silva should have encountered few problems. The "clean-up" operation carried out from 1964 onward had been extensive: the purges had affected 1,530 people in the civil service, 1,228 members of the armed forces and 224 elected office-holders. 4 Moreover, Costa e Silva had at his command a degree of constitutional power without precedent in the history of post-1945 Brazil and a relatively calm political climate. Apparently, the exit of the moderates from the "Sorbonne school," connected to the Escola Superior de Guerra (the War Institute) and Castelo Branco, had appeased the radkals; the man who now governed Brazil was a soldier of .a more conventional stripe, without "intellectual" pretensions and closely bound to the troops-rough, simple, and direct. Apparently, the Congress, too, had become more docile, not only as a result of the purges, but also because the new government party, ARENA, had beaten the opposition party, MOB, in the 1966 legislative elections, giving them a majority in the Chamber, the Senate, and in the legislative assemblies in the majority of states. Apparently, Costa e Silva would govern with strong support in Congress, to whose members the Constitution of 1967 had returned the right of parliamentary immunity. But on December 12, 1968, Congress, in a defensive move, denied the government permission to prosecute a deputy who had suggested, in a speech in the Chamber of Deputies, that the population boycott the Independence Day military parade in a display of resistance to the military government. On the following day, Institutional Act No. 5 was published; nearly all of the provisions from the previous extinct acts were revived, habeas corpus for political crimes was abolished, and the legal requirements of formal accusation and legal warrant for the detention of any citizen were dispensed with. Congress was closed, and would remain so until October 1969, when it was reopened to ratify the decision of the Armed Forces High Command, which had chosen General Medici to govern during the period from 1970-1974.

Back to the Barracks


"Rule and Repress": Unity in War In 1964, the military had been faced with the problem of naming a general to complete Goulart's term; in 1969 they were confronted with a similar problem due to the neurological disorder which incapacitated President Costa e Silva. But there the similarities ended. In 1964 the armed forces were emerging from a victorious coup when they united against the "internal enemy;" in 1969 they floundered in the midst of a grave crisis set off by ambitious generals surrounding the succession of succession. In 1964 no other officer presented as many favorable qualities as Castelo Branco did for the Presidency; in 1967, despite the more or less veiled opposition of the "Sorbonne group," General Costa e Silva, as War Minister and one of the coup leaders, was an unbeatable candidate. But in 1969, every four-star general felt that he was qualified to rise to the office of chief executive. In 1964 and 1967, the preference for Castelo and Costa e Silva was so evident that it was possible to dispense with the elaboration of rules and mechanisms for nomination; but in 1969, the lack of institutionalized criteria and mechanisms to guide the succession process was one of the key factors leading to the crisis in the armed forces. The formation of a military junta composed of the three military ministers was the emergency solution proposed on August 31 by the Armed Forces High Command. The junta was pressured on all sides to conduct a broad inquiry among the officers, including those of intermediate rank, which would transform the armed forces into a political party. The junta's biggest problem was General Albuquerque Lima, who enjoyed the preference of large sectors of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and who mobilized this support to put pressure on the junta. In a preliminary balloting of generals, admirals, and brigadiers, Albuquerque Lima received the largest number of votes. It just so happened that he was only a three-star general, and in the hierarchy's eyes, it was inadmissible that he have authority over four-star generals. The final solution was the institution of a system of deliberation and elimination by steps until a final list of three candidates, produced by electoral colleges successively smaller in size, was submitted to a group of seven four-star generals. This process resulted in the designation of General Medici, chief of the SNI-Servi,o Nacional de lnforma,oes-(the federal intelligence bureau); Congress was reopened to ratify his selection. When President Medici took office on March 3, 1970, he was confronted with an armed struggle that had broken out in Brazil; urban guerrilla factions had grown increasingly more daring from early 1969 onward, organizing bank robberies to obtain financial resources and hold-ups of


Edmundo Campos Coelho

Army units to obtain weapons. Four days after the military junta took power, leftist groups kidnapped the U.S. ambassador, Charles Burke Elbrick, and demanded as ransom the liberation of companions imprisoned by the security forces. The military junta yielded to their demand and was nearly deposed by more radical military officers. On September 29, the reply to the guerrillas came in the form of the new National Security Law; on October 17, Constitutional Amendment No. 1 purged the Constitution of 1967 of its last liberal vestiges. The regime closed in around itself, isolated from civilian society, out of touch with the nation. During the Medici government (1970-1974), the repressive apparatus was fortified and torture institutionalized; during this period, the regime found its point of equilibrium in anti-guerrilla combat. The military again united before a common enemy. It was one of the darkest periods in Brazil's history. By mid-1973, the guerrilla factions had suffered utter defeat; leftist armed groups had been dismantled and destroyed. The country was subjected to the most rigorous military control. The press was silenced, submitting to a drastic censorship. The most elementary human rights and freedoms had ceased to exist. The regime had produced, during the war against "the internal enemy/' a vast and complex structure of military repression, today referred to as the "intelligence and security community." The oldest and largest member of this "community" was the SNIServil;o Nacional de Informa(oes-created in 1964 as an agency of the Presidency of the Republic. With its own particular operational capacity, the SNI had a broad area of jurisdiction, a school for intelligence training, and a large degree of autonomy, as it was not subject to any legal controls on the part of the legislative or executive branches. The SNI organized a Security and Intelligence Division (DSI) inside each ministry, to control the administrative machinery of the state; a Security and Intelligence Advisory Council (ASI) was organized inside state-owned companies and other public agencies (universities, research institutes, and foundations). Both the DSis and the ASis in diverse states were linked to the Central Agency of the SNI through regional agencies. Other members of the intelligence apparatus, known as the "community/' were the intelligence services of the Army (CIEX), Navy (CENIMAR), and Air Force (CISA). These services were formally connected to the SNt which coordinated all intelligence activities conducted on national territory; in reality, this connection ceased to exist once repressive activity intensified, and each service began to compete with the SNI. Torture and physical violence of every kind grew common after the creation of Opera(ao Bandeirantes (OBAN) in Sao Paulo in 1969, financed by national and multinational companies and attached to the command

Back to the Barracks


of the II Army. OBAN activity extended progressively to other states. Attached to it in 1970 was the first Domestic Defense Operations Center (CODI), whose operational arm was the Operations and Intelligence Detachment (DOl). The initials DOl-COOl-synonymous with brutality, torture, violence, and clandestinity-gradually became known in other states. Though under the command of military officers, DOI-CODI recruited its agents from both the civil and military police in the states and in the Federal Police Department, in addition to using personnel from the armed forces, of course. In the daily routine of repression, all of these agencies were interconnected, competing or collaborating informally with one another. What is most important is that they ended up constituting a separate, autonomous, and uncontrollable "community." Its ties with the regular commands inside the armed forces weakened. Many of the "community's" operations were strictly clandestine; torture sessions took place in houses rented with money from the most diverse sources, though it was also not uncommon for these sessions to take place inside military quarters and police stations, protected from exposure by the fear of those who knew about them. As far as the military commands were concerned, no move was made to denounce or deter the "community" because a veritable "war" was underway, in the first place, and also because the armed forces could not afford the risk of internal ruptures on the eve of combat. Over the "community" a blanket descended, woven of fear, omission, and connivance on the part of the generals. Under the cover of this blanket, the "community" developed into a force which obstinately resisted any control by the hierarchy of the regular armed forces. The "community" eventually became a parallel structure, simultaneously situated inside and outside the regular military structure. It was this situation that General Geisel inherited on March 3, 1974, when he became the fourth military President.

The Withdrawal Begins: The Strategy of the Abertura Geisel was neither a "Sorbonne group" intellectual of the Castelo Branco style nor was he a rough soldier type like Costa e Silva. Unlike the obscure Medici, General Geisel enjoyed great prestige inside the Army. He concentrated power in his own hands, rarely delegating responsibility to others; he examined each question in detail, even ones that he could have left to his aides. Reserved in temperament and aloof, he conferred with a very small circle. He was opinionated and disinclined to re-examine decisions that he had made on his own. Extremely jealous of his authority, he had a very rigid notion of discipline and hierarchy.


Edmundo Campos Coelho

The chief of Castelo Branco's military cabinet, he and General Golbery were the President's most trusted aides. Inside the armed forces, he was usually identified with the "Sorbonne group," and when he took office, he appointed General Golbery to be the chief of his military cabinet. Clearly, both Geisel and Golbery were frustrated by the failure of Castelo Branco's government to re-establish a state of law, but they had learned their lesson. Hence, when they found themselves back in power again, they brought the abertura project for liberalizing the political regime with them. Why did Geisel succeed where Castelo Branco had failed? What factors allowed the project to progress, preventing another retrogression into increased authoritarianism? In the first place, it is important to observe that the regime could hardly becom~ any more authoritarian than it already was. Centralization of power had reached its peak and the state was virtually isolated from civil society. The alternatives were either to begin to "open" the regime or else to move toward an ever more violent and repressive dictatorship. The latter, in a country with an economic and social structure as complex as Brazil's during the seventies, had little chance of enduring, in addition to making the military's "return to the barracks" extremely difficult and traumatic. Nevertheless, it was the option preferred by the radicals, clustered together in the "intelligence community," as it was the condition that would allow them to hold onto the power acquired during the period of repression of armed left-wing groups; yet they feared that an "opening" in the regime would expose them to judgments and reprisals, once an uncensored press made public the countless cases of torture, murders, and "disappearances." Hence, President Geisel's first problem was to restrain the "community" and, if possible, to dismantle it. Yet, even if this were possible, there was no reliable indication that majority opinion in the armed forces favored abertura, and certainly Geisel had not been chosen with the mission of beginning a "relaxation" of the regime. But there were also no signs to the contrary. What in fact existed was caution and widespread indecision about the degree of abertura compatible with the maintenance of internal security and political stability; and security was, of course, the military's main concern. Geisel's third problem was to control the designation of his successor, preventing some "hard-line" general or one connected with the hardliners from nullifying his efforts at "relaxing" the regime. Castelo Branco had not succeeded in blocking the appointment of Costa e Silva, the radicals' candidate, and the "Sorbonne group" attributed the progressive toughening of the regime to this fact. Geisel would have to impose his preference, which meant running the risks of a confrontation with the Armed Forces High Command or with officers aspiring to the post of chief executive.

Back to the Barracks


In general terms, Geisel decided to keep all of the powers of exception that Institutional Act No. 5 granted him and to begin the abertura focusing on elections, though not on Presidential elections. This made sense: Congress had been completely deprived of its functions and power. ARENA, the government party, held a majority in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, while the MDB, the opposition party, was weak. Since this situation seemed unlikely to change, there was little danger in allowing society to mobilize around elections. In short, the idea was to relax the controls and the vigilance surrounding electoral campaigns, to open a wider space for political manifestations, while maintaining the merely symbolic character of the opposition. With this and the continuance of Institutional Act No. 5, the military had nothing to fear from a slow and gradual, yet secure, "opening." The elimination of censorship of the press was the second point in the strategy. Since the repressive activities of the "community" came to the public via newspaper articles and radio and television news reports, the hoped-for result was that the radicals would be given less space and would consequently restrain themselves; since the public identified repression with the armed forces, the latter would try to restore and safeguard its image by means of stricter controls over the "community." Be that as it may, it was essential to bring the violent repression to light, drawing it out of the clandestinity in which it had flourished. Simultaneously, the Geisel government sought contacts with organizations and associations that were conspicuous in their criticisms of the regime. Through his Minister of Justice, the President initiated conversations with the Roman Catholic Church represented by the National Bishops' Conference, with the lawyers' professional association, and even with opposition politicians. It was necessary to signal the government's liberalizing proposals to civilian society. In October 1975, a journalist died in DOI-CODI headquarters in Sao Paulo. All the press gave ample coverage to both the fact and society's condemnation of this act of violence. An inquest into the military's responsibility in the affair concluded that the journalist had committed suicide, which further inflamed public opinion. President Geisel publicly announced that he would not tolerate the repetition of such events, aware that the journalist's death was the work of the "community," an act of provocation and confrontation directed at the abertura policy. In January 1976, another such an event occurred: a worker died in the same DOI-CODI building under the same dubious circumstances. Geisel immediately discharged the commander of the II Army, which was tantamount to publicly accusing a four-star general of connivance with the torture and murder of political prisoners. This act had an enormous


Edmundo Campos Coelho

impact within the Army: the public denunciation of a prominent general in the hierarchy was an unprecedented event. Even so, the Army High Command had no choice but to back the President's action. An important detail: when he discharged the commander, Geisel did not communicate his decision to the Minister of War, showing his intention to act without consulting the military hierarchy. It also just so happened that this Minister, General Frota, had presidential aspirations and the support of the "community" and other radical sectors. The problem of his succession was the thorniest problem that the President would face. From the time he had taken office, Geisel had decided on his successor-SNI chief, General Figueiredo, who had no support inside the Army. Only in January 1978 did the President communicate his choice to the military-ministers and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. In other words, he did not consult the military chiefs, but simply communicated his decision to them, expecting to see it obeyed. At this point, he had already eliminated General Frota's succession chances by dismissing him from the War Ministry in October 1977 and, through rapid maneuvers, neutralizing the beginnings of a rebellion in support of Frota. Inside the Armed Forces High Command, resistance to the appointment of General Figueiredo came to an end when an opposition military candidate appeared, General Euler Bentes, clearly connected to the opposition party. The conservative reaction of the military officers of the High Command strengthened Geisel's position. On the electoral plan, however, events took a new turn. 5 In the 1974 elections, ARENA, the government party, suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the MDB, which won 16 of the 22 Senate seats that were in dispute and 43% of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Moreover, the opposition constituted the majority in the legislatures of six important states, which gave it control over the indirect elections of 1978 for the governorship of these states. In all of the elections that followed, including those which occurred during the administration of President Figueiredo (1980-1984), the opposition won successive victories. In reaction, the government resorted to various casuistic manipulations of the electoral legislation; to achieve its ends, it even went so far as to decree the recess of Congress in 1979. The striking trait in the regime's strategy in promoting the abertura was the alternation between liberalizing measures and authoritarian interventions. Besides making successive changes in the rules of the electoral game, Geisel disfranchised citizens, suspended political rights, and forced Congress to recess; yet, he also abolished Institutional Act No.5 and all the institutional acts and their complements, decreed the Amnesty Law, which permitted the return of political exiles to Brazil and the restitution of political rights, re-established direct elections to state governorships, and ended censorship of the press. In

Back to the Barracks


dealing with the labor union movement, which again promoted strikes between 1978 and 1980, the government reacted with varying doses of repression and tolerance. In any case, this complex interplay with civilian society opened space for opposition groups to organize and for the electoral process to produce real effects, permanently losing its merely symbolic character. One indication of this was the successive defections which the government party suffered; being identified with the regime began to handicap a politician's career. At any rate, by the end of the Geisel government, it was clear that the military would consider a civilian in the Presidency, as long as he inspired the confidence of the armed forces. Indeed, after twenty years of involvement with politics, the military was anxious to leave the field to civilian politicians, worried about both the tarnishing of the armed forces' public image and internal divisions. The "intelligence community" continued to try to reverse the abertura process and re-establish the climate of insecurity favorable to repression. In 1980, the number of bombing attempts seemed to indicate that there would be a new escalation of violence by clandestine right-wing organizations clearly linked to the "community." On the night of April 30, 1981, approximately 20,000 young people had gathered in the Riocentro convention center for a musical show sponsored by an opposition organization, when two bombs exploded-one in a powerhouse and the other inside a car in the parking area. Inside the automobile, a sergeant was killed instantly when the bomb accidentally went off in his lap, while his companion, an Army captain, was gravely injured. Rumors circulated that, besides the bomb that had exploded in the powerhouse, these two agents of the "community" had prepared still others. The Army conducted an investigation of the affair with the obvious purpose of protecting the military and reached conclusions widely contested by both the press and public opinion. This time, however, the "community" had gone too far, and the military hierarchy moved to restrain it. This was, in fact, its final act of violence. In the 1982 elections, now with the multiparty system re-established and the direct vote for choosing state governors, the opposition won in all of the major states; Rio de Janeiro elected Leonel Brizola, Goulart's brother-in-law and the military's most intransigent foe in 1961 and 1964. In 1983 the government finally lost its capacity to control the presidential succession. The new government party, the PDS (the Democratic Social Party) split, and the more liberal faction detached itself to form the Liberal Front Party-the PFL. But President Figueiredo, unlike his predecessors, had lost interest in the succession dispute, publicly announcing his resolution not to coordinate the PDS campaign and not to support any of his party's candidates. At the same time, the opposition


Edmundo Campos Coelho

parties united in a broad-based national campaign for a return to direct presidential elections. Though unsuccessful in the vote taken in Congress, the direct elections amendment showed the PMDB, the strongest of the opposition parties, that they had a good chance of victory in the electoral college, as long as its candidate was a politician who was acceptable to the military and also able to bring together the sectors dissatisfied with the regime. With strong support from the PFL, this candidate turned out to be Tancredo Neves, a 76-year-old politician, a moderate and conciliator; in the January 1985 elections this able negotiator defeated the government party candidate. After twenty-one years of military governments, the nation had finally chosen-even though by indirect means-a civilian President.

Why the "Return to the Barracks?" This brief description of the abertura strategy and process still does not answer the question: why did the Brazilian military decide to withdraw, returning power to civilians? Three factors were fundamental: • The limits to the concentration of power. ''I'm a hard-liner, but I'm not fascist Nazi," wrote a colonel in a letter to the Army High Command in 1977; he went on to propose the return of the country to a state of law and the military to the barracks. 6 During this time, other letters and documents to the same effect were addressed by officers to their superiors in the hierarchy, and the analysts saw in this the tip of an immense iceberg. The military began to realize that the regime's alternatives were either abertura or a brutal dictatorship. Power had already been concentrated to the utmost, and the isolation of the regime in relation to civil society was complete. The military preferred the abertura, except for the small minority that made up the "community." Prevailing opinion in the armed forces was that reasons no longer existed to justify their continuation in power: the urban guerrilla forces had been defeated, the opposition had no strength, the labor unions had retracted, and the economy continued to grow at the rate of 7% per year despite unfavorable external conditions. To military officers apprehensive about the effects of a political "relaxation" on "domestic security," the slow, gradual, and secure abertura project was satisfactory. Moreover, there was enough negotiation to ensure moderation and flexibility on the part of the opposition and the foremost civilian leaders. An example of this was the Amnesty Law: there were guarantees that there would be no suits against military members

Back to the Barracks


involved in repressive action nor would there be pressures on the armed forces to reinstate those who had been discharged. • The institutional costs of power. The direct exercise of power over such a long time period proved to be very taxing on the armed forces. Internally, discipline and the hierarchy suffered heavy blows, particularly during the hectic periods of presidential successions. The military often found themselves at odds over candidates, with the very real risk of internal coups. They also discovered that the "military as institution" commanded immense power, yet did not have mechanisms at its disposal to influence the decisions of the "military as government"; e.g., economic policy decisions were the virtual monopoly of technocrats, discussed only among the small circle of officers who were presidential advisors. Even the influential Escola Superior de Guerra (the War Institute) had already acknowledged in 1976 the inability of military institutions to handle political and economic matters and suggested the gradual substitution of the armed forces in tasks foreign to its traditional legal role. 7 In short, the military realized that the institutional costs of staying in power had already been considerable and were on the increase, especially unpopularity and threats to discipline and the hierarchy. • Assigning value to external duties. In a paper written in 1976, I analyzed the interventionist tendencies of the Brazilian Army, using the idea of "diffuse identity"; as it lacked the opportunity to perform its classical role of foreign defense, the Army took on as many "identities" or "roles" as were ascribed to it by diverse civilian groups interested in its performance. 8 This started to change during the military regime. With the extraordinary expansion of Brazil's role in the world economy, the nation's interests were projected outward on an unprecedented scale; in little more than ten years, an efficient armaments industry sprang up, which sold its products to a large number of countries; the same occurred with the modem aircraft production sector. At the same time, the military realized that it was not professionally prepared and equipped to protect these interests on the scale at which they had expanded. With this realization, the matter of "external security" gained a new dimension, to which Cuban military support to Angola and the Argentine disaster in the Malvinas War also contributed. These two facts in particular made the Brazilian military return their attention to questions of military strategy, especially in the South Atlantic region. Taken together, all of these factors produced a significant redirecting of military thinking, stimulating a renewed interest in strictly professional matters.


Edmundo Campos Coelho

If I am correct in identifying ti:1e basic conditions of the abertura, then it is clear that: corporative interests were the prime factor in both the intervention in 1964 and the withdrawal of 1985. Thus, the following points deserve emphasis: a) the decision to "open" the regime was not determined by organized pressures from society nor was it the work of any one military faction. The initiative came from "military members in government," but would not have been successful if it were not for the acquiescence and desire of the "military as institution"; b) it would be incorrect to assume that, with the abertura, anti-regime forces took control of the process in 1977 and expelled the military from power; the regime did not fall nor were there forces in society capable of overthrowing it; c) the regime's flexibility in responding to the dilemmas posed by the abertura and the skill of the opposition groups in raising challenges and affirming their presence through the electoral process is what led, in the final analysis, to the transition negotiated as of 1983 and to the military exit in 1985.

The Present and the Future Nearly three years after returning power to the civilians, the military has maintained an exemplary silence, yet an alert one. Just the same, in view of the interventionist model that prevailed until 1964, an observer might conclude that there has been no lack of motives for military manifestations during the past three years. In the first place, the tragic death of Tancredo Neves before he could even take office was reason for great apprehension; at a critical moment for Brazil, the Presidentelect who enjoyed the confidence of the military, and who appeared to be the guarantee of the commitments negotiated for a peaceful transition, dramatically disappeared. Jose Sarney, the Vice-President, had neither Neves' prestige nor his credibility; he also could not rely upon the political base which the deceased President had ably assembled. However, the nation got through this critical period without major problems in the military area. And who, in 1984, would have thought that the military would end up accepting the legalization of the Communist parties, forced underground in 1946 by the armed forces? Or that they would stand by in silence before the aggressive activity of the labor unions and the successive strikes called by them from 1985 on? Who could have guessed that the military would refrain from making forceful and threatening pronouncements to the nation, according to its pre1964 tradition, after violent demonstrations in the streets of Brasilia in November 1986, led by the Central Unica dos Trabalhadores (a militant workers' organization)?

Back to the Barracks


It is true that, after two decades of authoritarianism, the climate is not favorable for military pronouncements. The military lack legitimacy; at present, no sector of Brazilian society is willing to support either the military's interventionist impulses or its tutelage of the nation. Moreover, the taxing experience with the direct exercise of power is still recent for the armed forces and constitutes a strong deterrent to attempts at meddling in the affairs of civilian society. In short, the military lacks the disposition and the opportunity to manifest itself, even in circumstances like those which led it to intervene in the past. This does not mean that it has lost influence or power, or much less that it has been converted to respect the rules of the democratic game and the principle of civilian control. How will it use its power and influence in the future? It is still too early to venture predictions about the course of military conduct in years to come. The nation is in the midst of a transition period, with a constitution bequeathed it by authoritarianism. Congress has not fully regained the powers that belong to it in the context of democratic normalcy; political party structure is as yet fluid and tentative; not even the duration of President Sarney's term of office is certain. The definitive legal-constitutional structure of the nation will be decided by the constitutional assembly, which will begin after March 1987. It will be the assembly's job to define, among other things, the role of the military in the new scheme of things, and some observations about this are in order. In Brazil, the term "return to the barracks" has a metaphorical sense; the armed forces' influence on the life of the country has always been so great that it might well be said that the military have literally never stayed in their quarters. In a sense, Brazil's constitutions institutionalized this situation, especially in the famous clause (Article 89 of the present Constitution) which postulates military obedience "within the limits of the law." A veritable enigma for lawyers, this clause makes the military the judges of the legality of the acts of the constituted powers and the authorized interpreters of the circumstances for their possible application. It would be excessive to attribute total responsibility for military interventionism to the clause; but there is no doubt that its ambiguity has furnished the armed forces with a justification and legal protection for interventions. In view of the Brazilian military's cultivation and worship of legal formalisms, presumably they would find it difficult to intervene if they did not have the clause: in its absence, any interference would dearly go against the law and dearly be illegitimate. The military want the clause to remain in the new constitution; they also want Article 91 of the present Constitution to appear in the new one; it says: "The Armed Forces, essential to uphold the policy of national security, are destined for the defense of the homeland and the guarantee


Edmundo Campos Coelho

of the constitutional powers, law, and order." In practice, since law does not necessarily guarantee order (at least, order as the military conceives it), and since order can be imposed against the law, Article 91 grants the armed forces a wide margin of choice in defining its constitutional duties. Be that as it may, the military's insistence on maintaining the two articles indicates that a) without them, the armed forces would feel legally vulnerable and without legitimacy to intervene, and b) the military does not discard the possibility of future interventions and seeks to prepare itself for the eventuality. These indications require an important qualification: if we discount the conventional rhetoric concerning consensus inside the armed forces, we find that the three services diverge considerably about the military's role in the post-1985 period, and one detects an increasing isolation of the Army in relation to the Navy and the Air Force. The two latter branches played accessory roles during the years of authoritarianism, relegated to a highly secondary position by the Army. In a sense, and in the name of the unity of the armed forces, the Navy and the Air Force shared responsibility with the Army for establishing and supporting the regime, yet they were not granted the corresponding degree of participation in decisions. When it came to the choice of a military President, for instance, neither the Navy or the Air Force could present one of their officers as a candidate, and this caused great resentment. On the other hand, both branches were spared the heavy toll paid by the Army, particularly when national public opinion was informed of the tortures, the "disappearances" of those involved with guerrilla activities, and the undercover activities of the "community." Thus, by the end of the regime, the position of the Navy and the Air Force was far more comfortable than that of the Army; and they were also able to maintain a certain "distance" in evaluating the recent experience with the direct exercise of power. These two branches of the service were also the first to learn from · the Argentine disaster in the Malvinas War; the interventionist tradition, and the obsessive concern with internal security had left the Argentine armed forces wholly unprepared for their classic professional dutyexternal defense. In the Brazilian Navy and Air Force, the Argentine experience aroused renewed interest in studying strategy, technological projects in the area of naval industry, aeronautics, and armaments. The importance of joint operations between the Navy and the Air Force became especially clear, reviving the question of naval aviation which had always placed the Navy and the Air Force in opposing camps. To sum up, there are strong indications that the two services are redirecting their interests toward strictly professional matters. There is also evidence that they desire closer ties with civilian sectors capable

Back to the Barracks


of a dialogue with them on matters of professional interest; the Navy and the Air Force have encouraged social scientists to examine, discuss, and write on military matters (strategy, continental defense, weaponry, military organization) and several joint seminars have been held, with encouraging prospects for future development. These encounters have produced heartening signs that the officers wish to see the armed forces show a renewed interest in their professional progress, abdicating their power to decide about the opportuneness or desirability of interventions. Nonetheless, the most powerful and influential military force, the Army, keeps its distance, disinclined toward dialogue or re-examination of its role in Brazilian society. Pressures on the constitutional assembly to keep Articles 89 and 91 in the new constitution have come from the Army. Yet, should this occur, it is very unlikely that the Army would wish to assume responsibility for new interventions alone; in the worst of hypotheses, the motives that led the armed forces to intervene in the past would no longer be sufficient to win the support of the Air Force and the Navy. Finally, it remains to be seen if civil society will be able to politically organize itself so as to resolve its conflicts by the rules of the democratic game, without resorting t~ radicalisms. But that will be another story.

Notes 1. Among the most recent contributions, see Alfred Stepan, Os Militares: Da Abertura d Nova Republica (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Paz e Terra, 1986) and Scott Mainwaring, "The Transition to Democracy in Brazil." Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, 28, no. 1 (Spring 1986), pp. 149-179. 2. These and other excerpts from Castelo Branco's private correspondence are reproduced in Luiz Viana Filho, 0 Governo Castelo Branco (Rio de Janeiro: Livraria Jose Olympio Editora, 1975). 3. Against his will and in order that certain economic goals could be reached during the first revolutionary government, Castelo Branco's mandate was extended until 1966. 4. These figures were taken from the detailed statistics presented in Maria Helena Moreira Alves, Estado e Oposiciio no Brasil (1964-1984), (Petropolis: Editora Vozes, 1984). 5. On the effects of electoral strategy, see Bolivar Lamounier, "Opening through Elections: Will the Brazilian Case Become a Paradigm?" Government and Opposition, 19, no. 2 (Spring 1984), pp. 167-178. 6. See the article published in Isto E., October 17, 1977, pp. 11-12. 7. 0 Globo, March 20, 1983, p. 7. 8. Edmundo Campos Coelho, Em Busca de Identitade: 0 Exercito na Sociedade Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro: Forense Universitaria, 1976).

8 A Postmortem of the Institutional Military Regime in Peru Carlos A. Astiz Any discussion of the transition experienced in Peru in 1980 from a twelve-year military regime to a civilian administration must be based on an understanding of the major characteristics of the former and of the goals and composition of the latter. In a brief account of this type it is not possible to engage in a description of the geographic, social, economic, and political background of the country. A number of publications have developed this information and those readers who are interested in it are invited to review at least one of them. 1 It is almost redundant to indicate that Peru has had a tradition of both military and civilian regimes that gained power through extraconstitutional means, including coups d'etat, exclusion of certain political parties from the domestic struggle for power, and outright electoral fraud. True electoral competition and representative leadership have been the exception, rather than the rule. Few informed Peruvians were surprised, therefore, when the armed forces overthrew the duly elected Belaunde administration on October 3, 1968 and unceremoniously embarked the President on the first empty Peruvian commercial aircraft they found parked at the airport. Mr. Belaunde was dispatched to Buenos Aires without money or a passport, according to most accounts. Many Peruvians were surprised, however, by the rhetoric and the first measures taken by the representatives of the Peruvian ctrmed forces who took over political power. This surprise was shared by students of politics, foreign policy officials, and by those responsible for the management of assets invested in Peru. In fact, a major discussion promptly developed between those prepared to accept the revolutionary nature of the military regime and those who showed varying degrees of skepticism toward their radicalism. 2 A review of the major characteristics claimed by the 171


Carlos A. Astiz

armed forces after the takeover or identified by students of Peruvian politics follows. Characteristics of the Peruvian Military Regime

Institutionalism From the very first day of their assumption to power, the officers chosen by their colleagues to rule the country proclaimed that their action was "institutional." They meant that the three branches of the military were in power, and not just those individual officers who happen to have been appointed to administrative positions. This label, adopted earlier by the Brazilian and Argentine armed forces in 1964 and 1966 respectively, meant that those who were occupying political positions were essentially doing so as agents for the military institution. By the same token, all officers had to be prepared, as part of their service obligation, to occupy political positions and all of them, whether they occupied such positions or not, were collectively responsible for the policies and actions of the institutional military regime. Consequently, it became very difficult, and perhaps impossible, for officers who disagreed with the bulk of the policies pursued by the administration, to remain on active duty. 3 Although under some conditions the military leaders tried to generate internal discussion of certain policies, such as at the Center for Higher Military Studies, within the intelligence service, or in the Advisory Committee to the Presidency, by and large such discussion did not materialize. When deep cleavages developed within a given service or between them the only way out was the forced retirement of the losing faction or, in one case, another coup: The "palace" or "in-service" substitution of President Velasco Alvarado in 1975 effectively replaced the leadership of the original military takeover with what turned out to be a more conservative clique, although that became apparent after the coup. It should be added, parenthetically, that Velasco's replacement had been agreed upon by many of the senior army officers with political responsibility. Allegedly, his successor "jumped the gun" during a drinking party of senior army officers in a restaurant located approximately ten miles from the southern city of Tacna. 4 After agreement was reached on Velasco's overthrow, all troop commanders were contacted and none indicated opposition. Those supporting the change in political leadership included the commanding officer of the tank division located near Lima, General Leonidas Rodriguez, who was considered ideologically and personally loyal to Velasco. 5 Among the first measures of the new leadership were the appointment of a committee to modify the Industrial

The Military Regime in Peru


Community Act and the forceful retirement of those senior officers who had been particularly close to General Velasco. This second phase of the institutional military regime "consolidated," according to some observers, the policies implemented after 1968; in the view of others, its main objective was, or soon became, to transfer power back to the politicians that the military had tried to dislodge from the Peruvian political scene.6

National Development The military regime was evidently committed to changing certain characteristics of the Peruvian polity. It has been amply documented that the armed forces viewed the nation as backward and unable to provide for its own internal and external security. The armed forces had long been concerned about the country's external weakness, confirmed in the 19th century by their defeat at the hands of Chile in the War of the Pacific. This concern had transcended the military institution: Peru has consistently been one of the Latin American countries which allocated relatively high shares of its national budget and GNP to defense. Only Cuba has regularly exceeded Peru in military expenditures, although during certain years other countries have surpassed Peru's levels. The military establishment that became Peru's ruling elite in 1968 adopted its own version of the doctrine of national security: It gave very high priority to the goal of modernizing the nation and the state in order to strengthen them against outside threats and internal disruptions. 7 Development has had different meanings for different individuals; we also know that these divergent interpretations of the concept of development reflected in Peru, as elsewhere, disagreements over political interests, theories, and goals. These disagreements were present not only within the three branches of the armed forces, but also in the Peruvian society at large. However, since the early 1960s the political involvement of the Peruvian military had leaned toward those civilian political parties and interest groups that exhibited signs of supporting modernization, and even selective structural changes, and against those perceived as supporters of the status quo. The major exception was the rejection by the armed forces of the parties of the extreme left and of guerrilla bands who took up arms to destroy the status quo. The military's willingness to fight guerrilla bands to the erid, once they were forced to combat them, was probably based on the widely-held view among the Latin American armed forces that they should retain a monopoly of the means of violence in their respective countries. Nevertheless, some of the changes favored by the guerrillas that operated in Peru in the mid1960s were adopted by the institutional military regime during the first few years of its existence. 8


Carlos A. Astiz

Strengthening of the State After some changes in the nineteenth century, the centralizers prevailed and Peru adopted a unitary system of government. Under the unitary system, as the word indicates, all formal authority is located at the national level, and all political subdivisions derive their power from the central government. This is not the place to duplicate the discussions that have preceded the choice of federal or unitary systems throughout Latin America. It should be noted that this choice does not necessarily constitute the first step toward "dictatorship" and against "democracy," as many apparently have been taught. It is true that, other things being equal (and they seldom are), unitary systems facilitate the appearance of authoritarian regimes. There is no question, on the other hand, that some of the nations with the strongest and most viable democratic tradition, such as the Scandinavian countries, have nurtured successful democracies within the unitary form of government. The Peruvian polity has had its share of authoritarian regimes; in addition, the various Peruvian constitutions gave the national government a great deal of power. Whether or not centralization of authority facilitated the appearance of dictators in the country under discussion is an interesting question that we are not going to resolve. The important point for our purpose is that, whatever the constitutional powers and the excesses of dictatorship, the fact is that the Peruvian governmental machinery had been, prior to October 1968, generally unable to reach all parts of the national territory. This is not to say that strong leaders in control of the executive branch could not achieve determined political aims throughout the country. In general terms, however, the actual ability of the national government to implement public policy throughout the country was questionable. Despite the legal framework and the extra-legal powers assumed by de facto regimes, the national government was weak and had to share it policy-making and policy-implementation functions with selected interest groups, local elites, and functional organizations. The armed forces could not fail to notice the disparity between theoretical constitutional powers and the actual capabilities of the national administration to make use of them. General Francisco Morales Bermudez, who replaced Velasco as President, commented that, The historical reality of Peru is that it possessed a very weak state, unable to manage and to lead economically powerful groups. One of the great achievements of the revolutionary process was to strengthen the presence of the state in the decisions that commit the entire society. 9

The Military Regime in Peru


It became one of the goals of the institutional military regime to strengthen these capabilities; it was prepared to use the structure and, if needed, the coercive power of the armed forces to achieve this objective. What we might view as the actual functioning of the distribution of political power within Peru was for the armed forces a regretful subordination of the efficient use of the national administration's human and economic resources to the interest of local and regional groups and caudillos; these local bosses, mostly civilian politicians, were perceived by the military as articulating narrow demands at the expense of the national interest. In addition, a weak national government was anathema to the view of the ideal society held by the armed forces: Highly structured and vertical, with a government capable of deciding, managing, and controlling. 10

Foreign Policy Redirection Most of those who have reviewed the performance of the institutional military regime which governed Peru between 1968 and 1980 have singled out foreign policy as the area that stands out. In one of the most thoughtful analysis, Helan Jaworski claims that (1) The image and prestige of the country during this period reached far; (2) A significant effort was made to develop an independent foreign policy; (3) the ideological premise that the region was "western and Christian" was challenged; (4) A qualitative upgrading of Peru's foreign policy took place between 1968 and 1980, particularly up to 1975. 11 A critical article published in 1979 by a popular magazine also asserts that drastic changes were made in Peru's foreign policy by the institutional military regime that took control in 1968; the author of this article, which disagrees with the changes, labels them "sectarian," and "cubanophile." 12 From both sides of the issue, then, it would appear that foreign policy became a major output of the policy renewal of the military regime under study. Changes in public policy, whether internal or external, can be measured in two ways: (1) Against a standard based on the history of a particular policy in a given nation-state; in this case, changes in Peruvian foreign policy articulated and implemented by the military regime can be compared with the country's foreign policy record prior to 1968. Or (2) they can be measured against equivalent policies being pursued in relatively similar countries, mostly within the region, at approximately the same time; under this standard Peruvian foreign policy should be assessed by comparing it to trends in Chilean, Colombian, Cuban, Argentine, Brazilian, and Venezuelan foreign relations during the mid1960s and the 1970s. Most observers of Peruvian political reality tacitly adopt the first standard, among other reasons because they tend to be


Carlos A. Astiz

more knowledgeable about past Peruvian foreign policy practices than about the conduct of foreign relations among those Latin American countries that possess a foreign policy. This specialization, which is reasonable, does not excuse us from employing both criteria. Under the first standard, there is no question that the military announced, and in some cases implemented, a number of bold foreign policy moves, which basically included four areas: A steady program of weapons acquisition from Eastern and Western European sources, to the detriment of the United States; the establishment of diplomatic relations, which transcended the formalistic level, with communist and non-aligned states; the redirection of Peru's international economic relations; and a new approach to the treatment of the investments of multinational corporations. 13 The purchase from the Soviet Union of major weapons systems has been widely reported and discussed; they included tanks, attack planes, surface-to-air missiles, helicopters, and artillery. 14 Less well-known is the major re-equipment program of the Peruvian navy, which included combat ships and other major equipment purchased from or modernized by Holland, France, Italy, and Great Britain. 15 In the area of multinational corporations, the institutional military regime expropriated a number of major properties, including oil fields and mines. These steps generated hostility in the United States and, in tum, caused a reciprocal reaction in Peru: The American Congress and the mass media echoed the criticisms; sanctions, official and unofficial, were threatened. In retaliation, American embassy staff in Lima was nearly cut off from Peruvian policymakers and other senior military officers. A very competent group of United States diplomats maintained what contacts they could, convinced the Nixon administration to adopt a negotiating posture, and slowly regained access to the military leaders governing Peru. 16 Eventually, a softening in the positions originally supported by certain members of Congress and threatened by the Nixon administration made it possible to settle disputes related to the property of American companies expropriated by the Peruvian military regime. The settlement was formally accomplished by James Greene, a senior vice-president of Manufacturer Hanover Trust Company, acting as a special U. S. representative. The "Greene agreement" announced in February, 1974, settled all property disagreements up to that date. It was a compromise which saw the United States abandon the requirement of "prompt, adequate, and effective compensation," while the Peruvian military regime in fact paid indirect compensation to certain multinational corporations that it had vowed not to compensate. 17 It is also well documented that the institutional military regime became active in third world international organizations, such as the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and the Group of 77, an organization of

The Military Regime in Peru


developing nations. Formal diplomatic relations were established with the Soviet Union, Hungary, Poland, and other Eastern European countries; in addition, diplomatic ties were re-established with the Castro regime, which at the time was still anathema to the military institutions in Latin America. Communist China was also added to the new targets of Peruvian diplomacy. The existing structure of the Organization of American States was questioned and profound changes were proposed. Cordial relations were maintained with the Allende regime, which gained power in Chile in 1970. Non-military trade with Eastern Europe went from nearly zero to almost 10o/o of Peruvian exports in five years, while exports to the Umited States dropped 11 o/o during the same period. Besides weapons, imports from the Communist bloc included hospital supplies, fishing vessels, rolling stock, and industrial equipment. The Peruvian military regime became a major supporter of the Andean Pact, whose goal was to integrate the economies of its members and reduce their dependency on the outside world; this support landed Peru the Pact headquarters. The findings are different when Peruvian foreign policy under the institutional military regime is measured by other than domestic standards. This article will be limited to regional (that is, Latin American) comparisons, although it would be equally valid and useful to compare Peru's foreign policy with that of other developing countries with relatively similar political assets and liabilities. In the regional context, the foreign policy pursued by the military regime loses a great deal of luster, although it breaks with regional tradition and pattern. It is reasonable and technically appropriate to assess the actions outlined in the preceding paragraphs against the foreign policies pursued by the regimes led by Allende in Chile, Peron in Argentina, and Castro in Cuba. Without entering into a detailed analysis of these cases, which have been explored in the literature, 18 let us say here that all three regimes went much further in most of the areas than the Peruvian military was willing and able to go. In chronological order, the Peron administration separated itself from the regional superpower on major issues, including the Rio Treaty, relations with Communist regimes, nationalization, treatment of multinational corporations, weapons procurement, and behavior at international organizations. Furthermore, this particular regime implemented its "third position" at a time of extreme bipolarity, when most of those countries who were not with either superpower, were branded as being against it. Argentine attacks to the Organization of American States in 1973, when Peron returned to power, were much more drastic than anything that the Peruvian military proposed or implemented. The concept of negative neutralism, articulated as "neither capitalism nor Communism," was proposed by Peron more than twenty years before the Peruvian armed forces tried to incorporate it into their foreign policy.


Carlos A. Astiz

The actions taken by the Castro regime within two years of taking power exceeded anything that either Peru or Argentina ever did. Cuban involvement in a number of African countries and its support of antistatus-quo movements in certain Latin American countries, such as Venezuela, takes a great deal away from a Peruvian foreign policy that, after 1976, appears to have collaborated with Argentine and Bolivian security forces in the capture of alleged subversive elements who had escaped to Peruvian soil. No moral or ethical judgment is made by the author; these actions simply reflect the willingness and capability of Castro and Peron to defy the regional superpower. In the case of Salvador Allende, whose regime lasted three years and did not have enough time to develop a clear and coherent foreign policy, there was nevertheless a noticeable foreign policy shift; Allende's foreign policy was perceived as more dynamic and decisive, although it may not have been always so. 19 Peruvian policymakers may have argued that to have gone beyond their foreign policy boundaries against the wishes of the regional superpower might have caused confrontations that Peru could ill afford; indeed, the Allende regime was overthrown with United States support and the Castro regime has paid a high economic and political price for its foreign policy. 20 They could also point to the hostility generated by the Sandinistas when they refused to adhere to American foreign policy. All these arguments are debatable; they deserve exploration, although they have not attracted a great deal of informed attention. Nevertheless, whatever the reasons, the bottom line is that, in comparative terms, Peruvian foreign policy under the military regime does not rate very highly; it could be argued that even the Brazilian military regime which took power in 1964 and was seen as the United States' answer to the foreign policy of the Quadros-Goulart administration, shifted away from the regional superpower in a much more assertive fashion regardless of its ties to multinational corporations and its obvious interest to share in the financial well-being of the West. Students of the Peruvian military regime have unanimously refused to utilize regional standards in assessing its foreign policy accomplishments.

Domestic Socio-Economic Policies I have dedicated a certain amount of space to the discussion of the foreign policy of the Peruvian military regime because its supporters have consistently included it among its successes. In addition, I know of no objective and comprehensive study of this particular subject. On the other hand, there are very good studies of the results of the agrarian reform program instituted and implemented beginning in 1969: Professor McClintock, in her well-documented writings on the subject, has dem-

The Military Regime in Peru


onstrated that the agrarian reform program not only was not successful, but that it was perceived as a failure by most of those who should have been its main beneficiaries. Many members of the farming cooperatives established by the program achieved their goals, the elimination of the landlords, but they felt that they did not owe a long-lasting loyalty to the military regime. As she accurately points out, Cooperative members are only a small percentage of the rural population. . . . Most of Peru's peasants did not gain from the military's agrarian reform, and for many living standards had fallen .... For both ex-hacienda workers and peasant community members, the reforms of the Velasco period had been interpreted a failure for the nation as a whole; as a process that had culminated in perhaps the worst economic crisis in Peru's history. 21

A similar conclusion appears to be shared by those who have reviewed the reforms attempted by the military regime in the urban areas, and particularly a form of self-managed industrial enterprises called Industrial Communities. After indicating that the self-managing enterprises affected approximately 200,000 workers, with an average ownership of 15% of their sources of employment, David Scott Palmer asserted that, . . . growth of the units is predicated on the generation of future profits or surpluses that can be more equitably distributed to members. Since 1974 economic conditions have not favored such growth. 22

The "development" of the urban lower class, and even of the lower middle class, under the military regime was illustrated more pointedly by a member of the Peruvian left, who compared the prices of basic foodstuffs as advertised in the press between 1968 and 1977. The price of some items had increased twentyfold, and the average increase appears to have been at least tenfold; many prices doubled between 1976 and 1977. Global statistical data confirms this view: It indicates that wageearners lost 30% of their purchasing power between 1974 and 1980, while the average diet and the health of the lower and lower-middle classes deteriorated. The author of the comparison comments that. Salaries and wages have not multiplied by five or by ten between 1968 and 1976, and they have not doubled between 1976 and 1977. The reader must reach his own conclusions and delete from his diet the damaging cow or sheep meat, . . . and replace them with mackerel, as it has already been advised by General Tantalean. 23

Carlos A. Astiz


TABLE 8.1 Selected Economic Indicators - 1961-80. Period 1961-70 1971-75 1976-81

GDP Average Yearly Change +5.1% +4.6% +2.0%

Average Yearly Inflation Rate +9.7% +12.8% +55.1%

Source: From data published in Jac~ues Brasseul, "El Resurgimiento del Liberalismo Economico en la America Latina," in Sofia Mendez (ed.) La Crisis Internacional y la America Latina (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1984) p. 186.

A Peruvian scholar who earlier had expressed qualified support for selected policies of the military regime, explained its failure as follows: The government's capability to distribute and to legitimate is extremely limited owing to society's integration to the new pattern of world-wide capitalist accumulation, to the relative strengthening of the bourgeoisie, to international financial demands, and to the world-wide economic crisis. These limitations condition the inadequate political capability of the State to absorb and institutionalize a generalized popular mobilization, a product of the drastic drop in income and in social opportunity, at a time when market mechanisms encourage the development of very high levels of consumption. Although the failure of the military project has served to show the profound limitations of a populist-nationalist regime. . . . 24

Most bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes, and in my view the Peruvian military regime falls in this category, have challenged their critics to assess them in terms of the performance of the economy under their leadership. Table 8.1 presents selected indicators relevant in measuring economic growth. Those who have looked at the economic evolution of Peru under the military regime tend to identify the replacement of General Velasco and his followers as the cause of a policy turnaround that caused the economic shifts. At best, these claims are partially true; many of the instances of decreasing productivity and increase in international indebtedness preceded the 1975 palace coup, and may very well have expedited it. General Graham Hurtado claims to have warned Velasco in early 1975 that, "This is deteriorating. The economic situation is becoming complicated and the problem really requires your physical presence before the people.'' 25 One of the observers, who refused to lump the Peruvian military with other Latin American bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes, concluded that,

The Military Regime in Peru


. . . the economic and financial difficulties are such that Peru is unable to pay its debt in 1975, and a military coup d'etat turns power over to Francisco Morales Bermudez (former minister of finance in the Velasco administration). 26 In tum, the economic crunch appears to have been caused, at least in part, by the policy of incurring large deficits in the balance of payments, which in 1975 reached $1.538 billion. The Morales Bermudez group reduced the current account gap to $1.191 billion in 1976, to $926 million in 1977, to $192 million in 1978, to $588 million in 1979, and to $31 million in the final year of the military regime. 27 On the other hand, the national budget, which had been basically in balance during the first years of the military regime, showed a deficit of 25.8% of total expenditures in 1975, 30.3% in 1976, 34% in 1977, and 23.7% in 1978. In terms of internal economic evolution, manufacturing reached 24.5% of the 1978 GNP, while agriculture, forestry, and fishing made up only 13.9% of the GNP. Unfortunately, this evolution, which has not been unusual in other Latin American countries during the period under review, was not accompanied by similar shifts in the nature of employment: While manufacturing provided work to 12.7% of the labor force, agriculture, forestry and fishing were the source of income of 41.7% of those gainfully employed. 28 Agricultural production grew during the 1970s at the average yearly rate of 2%, while the country's population increased at an average yearly rate of 2.85%. Higher levels of malnutrition and an increase in food imports were the direct consequences of this gap. Bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes led to power by the armed forces have aimed at "freezing" political activity, which these regimes have defined as competition among political parties for power. The Peruvian case was no exception; the armed forces, and particularly those officers who occupied political positions, showed contempt for all political parties, even those which supported them. In an introduction to a book written by a sympathetic observer, one of the key civilian advisors to the Peruvian military regime commented, In terms of political ideology, our position is not only distinguishable from that of the parties "committed to the defense of social systems rejected by the revolution," as (Carlos] Franco maintains. In a radical and profound sense, all parties of the pre-revolutionary period were committed to the whole "system" of that period.... Consequently, between the concept of participation of the Peruvian revolution and the elitist and mediating vision articulated by the leadership of all parties, there are substantial ideological differences. 29


Carlos A. Astiz

This contempt for parties and politicians of all ideological persuasions, encouraged by Delgado and other civilian advisors, led some members of the armed forces to attempt the formation of a government-controlled mobilizing machine. Some participants felt that this machine was to have been the forerunner of the "party of the revolution." I suspect that, without recognizing it, they had in mind a Peruvian version of the Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party, which has been the home of the Mexican ruling elite for the last half-century. Other military actors were ambivalent or hostile to the creation of their own political party. 30 The organization in question was labeled The National System of Social Mobilization, or SINAMOS; it was organized in 1971 and effectively dissolved in 1978, as a step in the process of returning power to civilians. Without entering into a detailed discussion of the political measures of the military regime to generate popular support, which have been covered in many of the writings cited in the footnotes, suffice it to say that they did not succeed. In the last analysis, a majority of the officer corp opposed and rejected SINAMOS, "politics" and political work; as Julio Cotler has suggested, tongue-in-cheek, when military officers and technocrats spoke of participation, they appeared to have had a military parade in mind. In his view, SINAMOS soon contradicted "the political development of society and the most authoritarian tendencies of the military establishment."31 The Peruvian navy, which was not directly involved in the coup d'etat that overthrew the Belaunde administration, was reluctant to assign officers on active duty to political positions. When it did so, the chief of naval operations reminded those being assigned that political positions were temporary and navy duty was permanent. 32 The public sector was the main beneficiary of the policies pursued by the military regime. The national government nearly tripled its labor force and doubled its share of the GNP. This development coincides with that of the majority of bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes in Latin America, both military and civilian-based. Carlos Delgado provided us with a frank explanation: The armed forces which propose this revolutionary up a class in the strict sense of the word, and their found in the middle sectors, particularly from the basic political projects those armed forces articulate

project do not make social origins can be urban areas, whose and implement. 33

The military establishment, a leading component of the national bureaucracy, shared in the growth. The value of the entire stock of weapons, in constant U.S. dollars, increased at an average yearly rate of 20.18% per year between 1970 and 1980. The defense budget grew,

The Military Regime in Peru


in constant dollars, at the average yearly rate of 8.07% during the same period. It should be noted, however, that the data shows a yearly growth of 14,05% between 1970 and 1977 and an average decrease of 5.88% during the last three years of the military regime. 34 Another set of data confirms the military build-up: The size of the military establishment increased by two-thirds between 1968 and 1977, the per capita military expenditures almost doubled, and nearly $900 million were spent abroad in the acquisition of weapon systems. These expenditures continued, albeit at a lower rate, beyond 1977; they obligated the succeeding civilian administrations. These investments were neither the consequence of threat perceptions nor the implementation of a decision to use force. As Gorman has indicated, the growth of the military budget was the product ... of purely institutional interest in the military and from the prevailing conceptualization of the requirements of a strong national defense. . . . The massive importation of military equipment, therefore, contributed significantly to a worsening external debt situation. 35

Whatever the reasons articulated by the military government, the bottom line was that the armed forces were spending a growing share of the GNP, and that the rest of the polity was left with a shrinking share. The Transfer of Power Process

The Morales Bermudez administration committed itself in 1977 to return power to a civilian government in 1980; prior to that, a constitutional convention, made up of popularly elected representatives, was scheduled to meet in 1978 and revamp the Peruvian constitution. Demands for return of political power to civilian, articulated by politicians, newspapermen, and others, had been appearing for some time with increasing frequency. A few months after the palace coup that replaced General Velasco, the new leader of the Peruvian military regime raised the possibility of returning political power to civilians. At that time General Morales Bermudez indicated that the bureaucratic-authoritarian regime had at least six years to go; during those six years the military was to have decided a schedule to transfer power. He went on to say, The assessment that we shall make during those six years should tell us whether a transfer of power should take place at the end of that period. It is better for us to speak of a transfer of power, rather than of elections,


Carlos A. Astiz

because to make reference to elections is tantamount to returning to traditional criteria, from which we are moving away. 36

Nevertheless, this remark and other statements by senior military officers, as well as leaks and rumors published in the media and circulated by word of mouth, fueled the growing desire for a return of the polity to civilians. Those individuals, interest groups, and political parties who had remained active on the fringes of the bureaucratic-authoritarian regime, evidently saw a clear light at the end of the tunnel. The erosion of purchasing power suffered by significant sectors of the middle class, as well as by the lower class, took the place of weak or nonexistent ideological commitments and served as mobilizing agents. The military regime was facing a drastic economic tightening and its political consequences. Reports of strikes, sabotage, disobedience, and repression circulated with increasing regularity. A 1978 newspaper report stated that, Millions of peasants have left the land and concentrated in huge shanty settlements around the coastal cities. These urban masses, with access to television and big city life, are politically far better informed than the isolated rural communities from which they came.... At Villa Salvador, a vast settlement of cement block and reed houses in desert dunes south of here [Lima], some 250,000 people live a precarious existence. Some work in Lima or factories in the area, others are peddlers, others make handicraft at home, others beg or steal. 37

The party establishments sensed a growing opportunity to regain their traditional role in the Peruvian political system, which the military regime had tried to deny them. Societal respect for and fear of the military establishment had permeated Peruvian society during the late sixties and early seventies; those who were politically involved remembered the ruthless elimination of guerrilla bands in 1965 and the military leadership made clear that political criticism was not welcomed. But growing cleavages within the armed forces, indecision, and popular disatisfaction diminished these restraints significantly. The combination of respect and fear had made it possible for the armed forces to govern without having to resort to overt coercion and the use of drastic internal security measures of the level employed in Argentina, Brazil, or Chile. After 1975 strikes and other actions of civil disobedience multiplied; the military regime responded by intensifying its use of coercion. These police measures, in tum, increased the level of dissatisfaction which moved the Peruvian military regime closer to its above-mentioned counterparts. 38 The end result was a continuous loss of prestige for the

The Military Regime in Peru


armed forces, which were now being looked upon by politically active sectors of the middle class as an army of occupation in its own country. Attempts by some senior officers to somehow maintain political continuity, perhaps through a "transitional" presidential candidate who might be supported by the major parties intensified the hostility of politicians and of the rank and file. The rather obvious attempt of General Rafael Matallana, then Director of The Center for Higher Military Studies, to promote the presidential candidacy of Carlos Garcia Bedoya, a distinguished career diplomat, was drastically rebuked; Mr. Garcia Bedoya was hooted at his next public appearance (at a bullfight) and General Matallana was dismissed. 39 Increasingly closer ties with neighboring military regimes, and particularly with that of Argentina, did little to dispel this perception.4o Pressure to return power to an elected administration also came from among followers of former military President Velasco. Shortly after his replacement by Morales Bermudez, the military regime forced the retirement of a number of senior officers known to have been close to the former president. Among them were generals Leonidas Rodriguez Figueroa, Jose Graham Hurtado, and Arturo Valdez Palacio, some of whom were later exiled by the bureaucratic-authoritarian regime. 41 Two of these army officers were among those who organized the Socialist Revolutionary Party in November of 1976. It should be noted that Rodriguez Figueroa was one of the key troop commanders at the time of the overthrow of President Velasco, and that he went along with the leaders of the coup. However, after losing influence within the armed forces, Rodriguez, Valdez, and other officers diverted their political efforts toward an electoral transfer of power; the Socialist Revolutionary Party, for instance, was prepared to join a left wing coalition which would have included the Christian Democratic and Communist Parties. By 1977 general Rodriguez Figueroa, then president of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, was calling for fair elections; he publicly argued that the institutional military regime was reaching its end and that the Peruvian army was "riddled with contradictions."42 The pressures and conflicts alluded to above obviously had the desired effect. In 1977 the Morales Bermudez administration announced a transfer of power to a popularly elected government, to be held in two stages: During the first stage representatives to a constitutional convention were to be elected on June 18, 1978. This constitutional convention was given the mandate to adjust the Peruvian Constitution to the process of development that had occurred since its enactment, and particularly since 1968. Twelve political parties participated in this election, and ten of them elected at least one delegate to the convention. Table 8.2 provides the results of the election of delegates to the constitutional convention;

Carlos A. Astiz


TABLE 8.2 Returns of the 1978 Election of Delegates to the Constitutional Convention Party Percentage of Vote Peruvian Aprista 35.34 Christian Popular 23.78 Workers, Peasants, Students 12.34 and Popular Front Revolutionary Socialist 6.62 Peruvian Communist 5.92 All Others 16.00 Total 100.00

Delegates Elected 37 25 12 6 6

14 100

Source: Resultado ~ las Elecc!ones para Representantes a la Asamblea Constituyente (Lima: National Electoral Jury, 1978). TABLE 8.3 Returns of the 1980 Presidential Election Party Percentage of Votes cast Popular Action 45.31ts Peruvian Aprista 27.40' Popular Christian 9.51ts Workers' Revolutionary 3.90' Union of the Revolutionary Left 3.26\ Unity of the Left 2.83\ Popular Democratic Unity 2.39\ National Front of Workers and Peasants 1.98\ Worker, Peasant, Student and Popular Front 1.48\ Others (each with less than 1.00') 1.82' Source: Domingo Garcia Belaunde, "Una Democracia en Transicion (Las Elecciones Peruanas de 1985)" (San Jose, Costa Rica: Cuadernos de CAPEL, No. 16, 1986), p. 29.

it was the first election since the mid-sixties and the second since 1963.

It should be mentioned that Mr. Belaunde's party decided not to participate

in the 1978 election, which had the effect of postponing a direct popular comparison between the military regime and the politicians it had deposed. Table 8.3 shows that, with the exception of Belaunde's Popular Action Party, all other major political organizations, and some of the minor ones, were represented at the convention. The two largest parties gained 62% of the seats and, with the support of minor parties, controlled a two-thirds majority; these returns gave APRA and the Christian Popular party control of the constitution-drafting process. The left occupied

The Military Regime in Peru


approximately one-quarter of the seats, although the various parties did not always agree. The cleavages within the left further strengthened the position of the two largest parties. Without entering into a detailed analysis of the convention proceedings, it became evident that the Aprista party thought it was writing the constitution that its presidential candidate was going to implement after the 1980 presidential election. Opinion surveys, limited as they were, indicated that former President Belaunde and his party had retained a great deal of popular support, mostly among the upper middle class and the urban lower class, including shantytown dwellers. 43 Interestingly, these two groups were thought to have been the major beneficiaries of the public policies developed and implemented by the military regime; and there was no question in anyone's mind that the Popular Action party and candidate Belaunde represented the strongest rejection of the performance of the government of the armed forces. While Belaunde did not campaign in a vindictive fashion or promised retribution to those who had overthrown him twelve years earlier, he made clear that he intended to return to many of the policies carried out during his first administration. 44 For those who believe in the political judgments of numerical majorities (and there were in Peru more than a few who did not), Belaunde's victory was widely accepted as an overwhelming rejection of the political performance of those in power between 1968 and 1980, namely the military establishment. The most striking aspect of the result of the 1980 presidential election was the share of the vote received by Fernando Belaunde; although he did not obtain a majority of the popular vote, he received 6% more votes than the plurality that made possible his election in 1963, when he was also supported by the Christian Democratic Party. Furthermore, Belaunde's voting strength exceeded by 10% the share received by APRA in 1978. By any standard of measurement applicable to Peruvian electoral contests, it was a massive rejection of the institutional military regime. In terms not only of the winning candidate, but also of his platform and his team, it was a vote in favor of returning to the political atmosphere of the first Belaunde Administration. This rejection lacked the overt confrontation and hostility between civilian and military later seen in Argentina and, to a lesser degree, in Brazil and Uruguay. The officers who overthrew President Belaunde in 1968 were not tried for what was clearly a criminal act; nor were the armed forces penalized for having used force to occupy political positions in violation of existing constitutional provisions. There were no investigations of the military leadership in connection with the alleged mishandling of public funds or for repressive actions. In fact, two years after Belaunde had returned to the presidency. The Peruvian Air Force


Carlos A. Astiz

was shopping for 26 F-16 planes, a weapon system not available anywhere in Latin America. 45 Upon taking office in 1980, the second Belaunde Administration behaved as if it had succeeded a duly elected regime, almost as if the twelve-year military regime had not existed. It continued the dismantling of many of the major programs put into effect by the Velasco group between 1968 and 1975. Such dismantling had been initiated by the military regime after Velasco's overthrow. 46 In addition, it pursued policies that, when the internal and international situation of the early 1980s is taken into account, did not differ significantly from the public policies of the first Belaunde administration. It would appear that all the major parties which participated in the 1980 election, as well as some of the minor ones, tacitly agreed not to confront the military. This agreement responded to a realistic reading of Peruvian history, to a clear perception of the distribution of power in the polity, and to the realization that the leadership of the armed forces would not hesitate to carry out one more coup d'etat if the military institution or its leadership were threatened. It took a significant worsening of the economic crisis, started in the mid-1970s, and the 1985 election of the first Aprista administration, led by Alan Garcia, to reverse the considerable growth of the budget and of the size of the military establishment. Any thoughts by the civilian politicians, from either side of the aisle, to sanction the military were further diffused by the appearance of the guerrilla movement known as Shining Path. This is not the opportunity to enter into a discussion of that particular guerrilla organization. Suffice it to say that Shining Path, still in existence and operating in Peru, was organized at the University of Ayacucho, apparently in 1969, during the military regime under study here. Nevertheless, they did not conduct any operations until Belaunde became president. When a journalist questioned Shining Path activists regarding their reasons for waiting until the return of an elected government before resorting to force, their answer was particularly unconvincing: "To show the whole system is rotten. The government is irrelevant to most poor people; it's all the same, civilian or military." 47 It becomes even less convincing when one becomes aware that Shining Path leaders did not think very highly of the military regime. Their position has been that, There are no progressive factions in the army . . . Velasco established a fascist military dictatorship which proclaimed itself a "revolutionary movement" with the support of pro-soviet, Trotskyites, and other opportunists. The Soviet Union became the main supplier of weapons of the military fascists. . . . Shining Path does not believe in the existence of reformist tendencies in the Latin American armed forces. 48

The Military Regime in Peru


Since reliable information about Shining Path is scarce, nine years after students of Peruvian politics noticed its existence, the relationships between the military regime, the guerrilla-to-be, and the Belaunde Administration have not been totally clarified. There have been suggestions of "understandings" between armed forces commanders and drug dealers which kept Shining Path away from certain regions. The Belaunde Administration refused to acknowledge the existence of a guerrilla organization in the Ayacucho region; when it finally recognized that an organized insurgency was in progress, it insisted that the police deal with it. Only on July 30, 1984, in a decree that was not published in the official newspaper as the Peruvian constitution requires, the Belaunde Administration gave the military establishment direct responsibility for the elimination of Shining Path. It was reported at the time that President Belaunde had to purchase the acceptance of counterinsurgency responsibilities by the armed forces with "important budgetary concessions," which included the purchase of additional fighter planes and tanks. 49 Later on, when the government moved an anti-drug police unit into the jungle region, it was reported that drug dealers brought in the guerrillas. Faced with a territorial extension of Shining Path operations, the military decided that the guerrillas should be given priority; consequently, the army prevented the operation and forced the withdrawal of the anti-drug police unit and, shortly thereafter, Shining Path withdrew from that particular region,although it returned after the Garcia administration took office. President Belaunde went along with the actions of the armed forces; his acquiescence in the face of American pressure to reduce the production and export of drugs accurately defines the relationship between the armed forces and their political successors. In spite of its image, the Garcia administration does not seem to have altered the basic tenets of this relationship. The reason may have been provided by one of the police officers involved in anti-Shining Path operations; he was quoted as saying that, in the southern highland region of Peru, "the guerrillas are capturing the sympathy of the population."50 In conclusion, the transfer of power from the institutional military regime to the same politicians the military had overthrown twelve years earlier was a smooth process, initiated and managed by the leadership of the armed forces. In all likelihood, it was brought about, first and foremost, by the recognition that the military establishment had failed in its self-assigned role as the nation's developmental elite. Regardless of one's definition of successful development, a 50% drop in real wages between 1973 and 1980 and a 25% drop in caloric intake between 1972 and 1979 reflect failure. 51 Cleavages within each branch of the armed


Carlos A. Astiz

forces and among them contributed to the decision to surrender control of the polity and to withdraw from public office. On the other hand, there was no interest either among the leadership of the major political parties or within the population at large to purge or radically modify the armed forces; nor did civilian politicians possess enough power to do so. As Professor McClintock put it, Deposed by the military in 1968, President Belaunde was determined to complete his second term and apparently reasoned that dollars would be a critical resource. In particular he wanted to meet the expenditure requests of the military. Accordingly, between 1980 and 1983 about a quarter to a third of total public expenditure was for military projects and weapons. 52 The initiation of a guerrilla civil war, which continues as these words are being written, further limited the options available to the Belaunde and Garcia administrations. President Alan Garcia did reduce some of the financial commitments made by his predecessor, such as the purchase of Mirage-2000 planes; it would appear, however, that enough was retained or could not be canceled to keep the officer corp reasonably satisfied. The recent creation of a unified command for the three branches of the armed forces has led to dissatisfaction, which culminated in a quasi-revolt by the air force; nevertheless, the restructuring appears to have been implemented, although its effectiveness can not be ascertained. Some of the public policies pursued by the Apristas, such as the decision to limit payment on the foreign debt, have been privately questioned by some officers. However, continuing reliance by Peru on the Soviet Union for certain weapon systems, a somewhat less pro-United States foreign policy, and a tough stand on domestic insurgency have made the Garcia administration acceptable to the officer corp. It should be remembered, in this context, that some Peruvian military officers attended a major gathering held in 1986 in Cuba to discourage payment of the foreign debt and that military personnel participated in the massive execution of jailed guerrillas. Finally, the control exercised by the military leadership over the transfer of power process served to insure that they would continue to play a major role in Peruvian politics. Nevertheless, their institutional failure as government and the internal divisiveness caused by their political involvement is likely to have a long-lasting effect on the officer corps: The Peruvian military establishment continues to be a power factor, as it was prior to 1968; but its officers are not likely to see themselves as a potential ruling elite for some time.

The Military Regime in Peru


Notes 1. Abraham F. Lowenthal, ed., The Peruvian Experiment: Continuity and Change under Military Rule (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975); Cynthia McClintock and Abraham F, Lowenthal, eds., The Peruvian Experiment Reconsidered (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983); Alfred Stepan, The State and Society: Peru in Comparative Perspective (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978). 2. Among the first category, consult Lisa North and Tanya Korovkin, The Peruvian Revolution and the Officers in Power, 1967-1976 (Montreal: Centre for

Developing A~a Studies, McGill University, 1981); David Scott Palmer, "Revolution from Above: Military Government and Popular Participation in Peru," (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Dissertation Series, 1973); and Stephen Gorman, "Creole Liberalism and Revolutionary Corporatism in Peru: A Socio-historical Analysis of the Revolution of 1968," (Riverside: University of California Ph. D. dissertation, 1977). Those subscribing to the non-revolutionary nature of the Peruvian military regime include Victor Villanueva, "Peru's 'New' Military Professionalism: The Failure of the Technocratic Approach," in Stephen M. Gorman, ed., Post-revolutionary Peru: The Politics of Transformation (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1982), pp. 157-178; Anibal Quijano, Nacionalismo, Neoimperialismo y Militarismo en el Peru (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Periferia, 1971); and Carlos A. Astiz and Jose Z. Garcia, "The Peruvian Military: Achievement Orientation, Training, and Political Tendencies," Western Political Quarterly, 25:667-685, December 1972. 3. The best recorded evidence of this and other aspects of the military regime under discussion can be found in Maria del Pilar Tello, ?Golpe o Revoluci6n? Hablan los Militares del 68 (Lima: Ediciones SAGSA, 1983, second edition). These two volumes contain lengthy interviews with many of the senior officers who played a major political role during this period, as well as key documents. One item made clear by the officers interviewed was the extent and nature of the disagreements and divisions among the key actors; although disputes were known to have taken place, it is fair to say that none of the scholars who studied the Peruvian military regime realized the depth of some of the quarrels prior to the publication of these materials. Certain portions of this chapter are based on the revelations contained in this book, as well as on private interviews. 4. Ibid., passim; see, for instance, the interview with general Graham Hurtado, vol. 1, pp. 227-282. 5. See his interview in ibid., vol. 2, pp. 61-113. 6. On this point see, for instance, Carlos Franco, La Revoluci6n Participacionista (Lima: Mosca Azul Editores, 1975), passim, particularly pp. 141-169 and 235242.

7. This point has been effectively demonstrated by David Scott Palmer, Peru: The Authoritarian Tradition (New York: Praeger, 1980) and more recently by his

article "Peru: The Authoritarian Legacy," in Howard J. Wiarda and Harvey F. Kline, eds., Latin American Politics and Development (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985) pp. 271-292. 8. For evidence of the ambivalence of the Peruvian military, and particularly the Army, toward the 1965 guerrillas, see Tello, op. cit., passim. Certain former


Carlos A. Astiz

guerrillas joined or were coopted by the institutional military regime; a few even found a place on the public payroll. 9. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 58. A Marxist observer expressed the same idea employing different terminology; see Luis Rocca Torres, Imperialismo en el PerU: Viejas Ataduras con Nuevas Nudos (Lima: Fondo de Cultura Popular, 1973), p. 36. 10. The topic has been treated, among others, by Alfred Stepan, The State and Society: Peru in Comparative Perspective (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978) and Scott Palmer, "Peru: The Authoritarian legacy," op. cit., pp. 284-86. 11. Helan Jaworski, "Peru: La Politica Intemacional del Gobiemo Militar en sus Dos Vertientes (1968-1980)" in Heraldo Munoz and Joseph Tulchin, eds.,

Entre Ia Autonomia y Ia Subordinaci6n: Politica Exterior de los Paises Latinoamericanos

(Buenos Aires: Grupo Editor Latinoamericano, 1984) vol. 2, pp. 416-418. For a somewhat different view of the foreign policy of the institutional military regime, see Stephen M. Gorman, "Peruvian Foreign Policy since 1975: External Political and Economic Initiatives," in Elizabeth G. Ferris and Jennie K. Lincoln, eds., Latin American Foreign Policies: Global and Regional Dimensions (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1981) pp. 115-129; and Stephen M. Gorman and Ronald Bruce St John, "Challenges to Peruvian Foreign Policy," in Gorman, ed., PostRevolutionary Peru, pp. 179-196. 12. Oiga (Lima), February 12-19, 1979, pp. 9-10. For a spirited defense of the foreign policy of the military regime, see the interviews with generals Miguel Angel de la Flor and Edgardo Mercado Jarrin, both former foreign ministers, in Tello, op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 37-94 and 283-309 respectively. 13. See the comments made by general de la Flor in ibid., pp. 64-75. Also consult Julio Cotler, Democracia e Integraci6n Nacional (Lima: Institute de Estudios Peruanos, 1980), pp. 50-52. 14. On this point see Cole Blasier, The Giant's Rival: The USSR and Latin America (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1983) passim. In a recent interview with the author, a senior officer of the Peruvian Navy pointed out that the first purchase of weapons, a shipload of T-55 tanks, was accidental: The Soviet Union had shipped the tanks to the Allende regime in Chile, but it was overthrown before the shipment arrived. With the ship in the Pacific Ocean and no buyer, the Soviet ambassador to Peru offered the shipment casually to the Peruvian military at 10% of cost. The offer was accepted and it led to subsequent offers. This version was vehemently rejected by general Mercado Jarrin in a private interview; he insisted that he alone had initiated and completed the negotiations with the Soviet Union in a visit to that country and in fact presented his colleagues, including president Velasco, with the draft of the purchase agreement. However, general Mercado Jarrin's chronology appears to contain some errors. In any case, the Army and Air Force decided to purchase Soviet materiel but the Navy demurred, although it was offered missile-armed frigates and other modem equipment. 15. Defensa (Madrid), April 1979, pp. 56-57. See also the last two pages of the interview with admiral Guillermo Faura Gaig in Tello, op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 95-116.

The Military Regime in Peru


16. The writer participated in one of the first attempts to regain contacts with the military-political elite. During late 1970 the cultural affairs officer at the United States embassy succeeded in organizing a seminar at the Center for Higher Military Studies (CAEM), which was to be conducted by four American specialists on Peruvian subjects, chosen jointly. The seminar took place in June, 1971 at the headquarters of the Center for Higher Military Studies and during its first week it provided opportunities for daily contacts between Ambassador Belcher and his staff and senior military officers. It also provided a forum for open and frank discussions at the scheduled meetings, during coffee breaks, and at social encounters that were part of the program. The topics covered included the nature of the Peruvian political process, United States and third country reactions to it, and the cost of political change. The Peruvian military leadership must have considered the seminar a success because the lecturers were invited to remain for a second week in order to meet with senior military policymakers, such as the Advisory Committee to the Presidency (made up of army colonels and their counterparts in the Navy and Air Force), managers of major state enterprises, and senior foreign ministry officials. A certain amount of heretofore classified data was made available to the researchers. There are indications that at approximately the same time the conflictive policies which had been threatened by the Nixon administration and by the U. S. Congress began to be toned down. Shortly thereafter relations with the Peruvian military regime started to improve, if slowly and irregularly. For a factual confirmation, see the remarks of General de la Flor in ibid., pp. 77-78. 17. For a detailed treatment of the policies of the Peruvian military regime toward multinational corporations see the excellent work by Paul E. Sigmund, Multinationals in Latin America: The Politics of Nationalization (Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1980), chapter 6, pp. 179-224. The "Greene agreement" is also reviewed in David Grantz, "The United States-Peruvian Claims Agreement of February 19, 1974," The International Lawyer (Summer 1976), 10:389-399. This settlement became a very sensitive issue in Peruvian politics during the 1970s, as demonstrated by the comments made by Generals de la Flor and Mercado Jarrin in Tello, op. cit., vol 1, pp. 79-87 and 305-306 respectively. 18. On the foreign policy of the Castro regime see, for instance, Cole Blasier and Carmelo Mesa-Lago, eds., Cuba in the World (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1979); on Allende's international role, see Carlos Fortin, "Principled Pragmatism in the face of External Pressure: The Foreign Policy of the Allende Government," in Ronald G. Hellman and H. John Rosenbaum, eds., Latin America: The Search for a New International Role (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1975), pp. 217-245; On Peron's foreign policy see Astiz, "Argentina's Foreign Policy under Peron," paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Social Science Association, El Paso, TX, April4-6, 1974. For a different assessment of Argentine foreign policy, see Carlos Escude, La Argentina Vs. Las Grandes Potencias: El Precio del Desafio (Buenos Aires: Editorial de Belgrano, 1986), pp. 27-100. 19. On this topic consult the views of his foreign minister Clodomiro Almeyda, "La Politica Exterior del Gobierno de la Unidad Popular en Chile," in Federico


Carlos A. Astiz

Gil, Ricardo Lagos and Henry Landsberger, eds., Chile: 1970-1973 (Madrid: Tecnos, 1977), pp. 88-115. Also see Joseph Nogee and John Sloan, "Allende's Chile and the Soviet Union: A Policy Lesson for Latin American Nations Seeking Autonomy," Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, 21:339-368, August 1979; and Augusto Varas, "La Union Sovietica en las Relaciones Exteriores de los Paises Latinoamericanos: Los Casos de Chile, Argentina, Brasil y Peru," in Munoz and Tulchin, eds., op. cit., pp. 484-517. 20. Cuba has also paid a price for selective refusals to support Soviet foreign policy; see the 1968 Soviet suspension of oil shipments in response to Cuban ambiguity toward the Brezhnev doctrine and its involvement in domestic confrontations in certain Latin American, Caribbean, and African countries. 21. Cynthia McClintock, "Post-Revolutionary Agrarian Politics in Peru," in Gorman, ed., op. cit., pp. 145-148. Also see McClintock, Peasant Cooperatives and Political Change in Peru (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981). On the other hand, some of the senior military officers who occupied political positions during this period list the agrarian reform program as one of the regime's major achievements; see, for instance, generals Gilardi Rodriguez, Graham Hurtado, Meza Cuadra, and Rodriguez in Tello, op. cit. vol 1, pp. 226, 280, 354 and vol. 2, p. 111 respectively. 22. David Scott Palmer, "Peru: The Authoritarian Legacy," in Wiarda and Kline, op. cit., p. 289. For a description of the Industrial Communities see Franco, op. cit., particularly pp. 269-293. 23. Enrique Soto Leon Velarde, Mito y Verdad de la "Revoluci6n Peruana" (Lima: Ediciones Nueva Era, 1977), p. 68. The wage, diet, and health statistics can be found in International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Annual Report (Washington, 1981), pp. 134, 176, and 182. 24. Cotler, Democracia e Integraci6n Nacional, op. cit. p. 86. 25. Tello, op. cit., vol 1, p. 267. 26. Jacques Brasseul, op. cit., p. 209. The author indicates that salaries in the rural sector dropped in real terms 15% in 1976 and 10% in 1979. None of the contributors to the volume edited by Sofia Mendez were willing to include the Peruvian case among the military regimes of Latin America; see, for instance, Alex Fernandez Jilberto, "America Latina: Restructuraci6n del Capitalismo Periferico y Militarizaci6n del Subdesarrollo," in Mendez, ed., op. cit., pp. 215249. 27. For a discussion of this issue, see Daniel M. Schydlowsky, "The Tragedy of Lost Opportunity in Peru," in Jonathan Hartlyn and Samuel A. Morley, eds., Latin American Political Economy: Financial Crisis and Political Change (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1986), pp. 217-242. I have reservations about the explanation presented by Mr. Schydlowsky. 28. Most of the data has been published in Peru: A Country Study (Washington: American University, 1982), passim. 29. Carlos Delgado, "Presentaci6n," in Franco, op. cit., pp. 15-16; his introduction reads like a critical book review. Mr. Delgado was one of the closest civilian advisers to the military regime.

The Military Regime in Peru


30. See the views of admiral Arce Larco, Generals Fernandez Maldonado, Graham Hurtado, and Mercado Jarrin, in Tello, op. cit. vol. 1, pp. 34, 132-3, 281, and 304 respectively. 31. Cotler, op. cit., p. 77. 32. Interview with a senior officer of the Peruvian Navy. 33. Delgado, op. cit .. p. 24. The information on government employment and on its share of the GNP has been reported by David Scott Palmer, "The PostRevolutionary Political Economy in Peru," in Gorman, ed., op. cit., p. 226. 34. These figures have been calculated from data included in Emilio Meneses, "Competencia Armamentista en America del Sur," Estudios Publicos, issue no. 7, pp. 5-41, Winter 1982. 35. Stephen M. Gorman, "Peruvian Foreign Policy since 1975 ... ," op. cit., p. 126. The last figures are based on his data. 36. General Francisco Morales Bermudez, in an interview published in the Mexican newspaper Excelsior and quoted in Hernando Aguirre Gamio, La Revoluci6n, ?Tiene Futuro? (lima: Ediciones Plural, 1977), pp. 181-82. The author of the book, a supporter of the military regime, reinforced Morales Bermudez' rejection of the electoral system by writing in November of 1975 (p. 183) that, "To think of an 'electoral exit' [would be]... to reintroduce the causes which brought about the evil and, consequently, the surgical intervention called revolution. And this would be absurd. The institutionalization of the regime should not be confused, naturally, with a restoration of the old regime and of its hidden heirs." 37. The New York Times, July 24, 1979, p. 3. For a qualified recognition of the failure of the military regime to achieve its developmental goals, see the letter to the editor written by the Peruvian ambassador to the United States.

Although he blames external factors, he wrote "It is true that. . . Peru is facing many serious difficulties of an economic and a social nature." The New York Times, September 12, 1979, p. A-26. The senior military officers who played a major role in the regime have claimed that it was basically successful; see their reluctance to recognize drawbacks or errors in Tello, op. cit., passim. 38. For details of some of the strikes, riots, and acts of disobedience, see The Washington Post, May 30, 1978, p. A-5; La Naci6n (Buenos Aires), May 28, 2978, section 2 p. 1; The New York Times, May 21, 1978, p. 1, May 23, 1978, p. A-8, and May 24, 1978, pp. A-9 and D-7. For an inkling of the concessions made by the military regime to foreign investors during the same period, see The New York Times, May 31, 1978, p. 57, and June 10, 1978, p. 25. 39. On this episode see Caretas (lima), no. 578, November 19, 1979, pp. 1115; and The New York Times, December 23, 1979, p. E-13. As early as 1970 a senior officer of the Peruvian army told the author that the officer corp was concerned about the image of the military held by the Peruvian population. There is no question that military officers recognized the possibility of being ostracized by civilian society in the process of achieving the regime's political goals. 40. See, for instance, the exchange of visits by senior officers reported in La Prensa (Lima), December 31, 1977, p. 2 and in La Cr6nica (lima), February 28,


Carlos A. Astiz

1978, p. 2. On ties between the Argentine and Peruvian navies see La Cr6nica (Lima), January 27, 1978, p. 2. At a different level, there have been reports of Argentine political exiles who were detained in Peru and delivered to Argentine security forces in the late 1970s. 41. For Morales Bermudez' version, see Tello, op. cit. vol. 2, pp. 47-50. The versions of Graham, Rodriguez, and Valdes, can be found in ibid. vol 1, pp. 278-80, and vol. 2, pp. 107-9 and 277-9 respectively. 42. See his interview published in Politique Hebdo (Paris), December 1218, 1977, pp. 25-26. Also see the interview which appeared in the Spanish Communist Party newspaper Mundo Obrero (Madrid), December 8-14, 1977, p. 22. These public statements provide an inside into the serious political divisions which existed within the Peruvian military elite. For a rare view of divisions inside the Navy, which included acts of terrorism by at least one officer against his seniors, see the testimonies of admirals Arce Larco and Faura Gaig in Tello, op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 32-3 and 101-8. 43. For some of the results see Oswaldo Medina Garcia, Peru 1978-1980; Analisis de un Momenta Polftico (Lima: Ces't Editorial, 1980) pp. 145-148. This rejection by the lower class makes sense in view of the effects of the public policies pursued by the military regime. Richard Webb and Adolfo Figueroa, Distribuci6n del Ingreso en el Peru (Lima, lnstituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1975), concluded on p. 162 that, " ... the package of reforms transferred between 3% and 4% of the national income in cash and services. Cash transfers amount to even less: Between 2% and 3% of the national income.... Nearly the entire amount of these transfers took place within the wealthiest quarter of the population." The same point is made on p. 140. The poorest three-quarters of the population did not benefit from the policies implemented by the military. In addition, real salaries and wages dropped drastically between 1973 and 1979, as reported by Martin J. Scurrah and Guadalupe Esteves, "The Condition of Organized Labor," in Gorman, ed., op. cit., p. 115. Per capita expenditures by the national government for education and health decreased 30% and 20% respectively between 1972 and 1978, as reported in the World Development Report, op. cit., p. 180. Consequently, the lower class is likely to have seen its socio-economic rewards diminished between 1968 and 1980. 44. For Belaunde's own articulation of his position, see The New York Times, May 21, 1980, p. A-3. 45. As reported in La Prensa (Buenos Aires), July 28, 1982, p. 3, and Clarin (Buenos Aires), July 28, 1982, p. 19. The Peruvian Air Force finally contracted to purchase 26 Mirage-2000, although the number was reduced after Alan Garcia took office. 46. For changes in contracts with American oil companies, see, for instance, The New York Times, May 12, 1980, p. D-5; regarding land policy, see ibid., May 13, 1980, p. A-10. For further changes and cancellations after Alan Garcia replaced Belaunde, see El Pais (Madrid), December 29, 1985, p. 9, and The Financial Times (London), December 30, 1985, p. 2.

The Military Regime in Peru


47. The New York Times, September 7, 1984, pp. A-1 and A-10. For additional information on the Shining Path see Informe de la Comisi6n Investigadora de los Sucesos de Uchuraccay (Uma: Editorial Peru, 1983), passim. 48. Jesus Reyes Muante, ''Como Piensa Sendero," Oiga (Lima), September 10, 1984, p. 21. On the thoughts articulated by the leadership of Shining Path see also Raul Gonzalez, "Sendero, Agosto 1984," Quehacer (Lima) no. 30, August 1984, pp. 6-29; and Juan Ansi6n, "?Es Luminoso el Camino de Sendero?" El Caballo Rojo (Lima), no. 108, June 6, 1982, pp. 4-5. 49. The New York Times, August 6, 1984, p. A-1; this article contains an interesting insight into Belaunde's approach to Shining Path and to the military. He repeated in the 1980s the policies he had followed in the 1960s: During his first administration Belaunde tried to look the other way when three different guerrilla organizations, much less effective than Shining Path, were trying to overthrow him; then, as in 1984, he finally resorted to the armed forces. For the influence and effects of the 1965 guerrillas on the Peruvian armed forces see Jorge Rodriguez Beruff, Los Militares y el Poder: Un Ensayo sobre la Doctrina Militar en el PerU: 1948-1968 (Uma: Mosca Azul Editores, 1983), pp. 159-206. For the views of senior military officers see Tello, op. cit. vol. 1, pp. 123, 192, vol. 2, pp. 118-9 and 246-7. 50. The New York Times, September 8, 1982, p. 2. This article provides an accurate description of guerrilla operations, as well as of police measures (and abuses). Some military officers felt that the 1965 guerrillas had also developed a certain amount of popular support; see Rodriguez Beruff, op. cit., p. 184. For an update on Shining Path involvement in the drug trade, see El Pais (Madrid) June 28, 1987, p. 8. 51. Cynthia McClintock, "Comment on Chapter 9/Daniel Schydlowsky," in Hartlyn and Morley, eds., op. cit. pp. 360-366. 52. Ibid., p. 364.

9 Withdrawal in Disgrace: Decline of the Argentine Military,


Dennis R. Gordon Shortly after seizing power in 1976, General Jorge Rafael Videla made

it clear that the Argentine military planned sweeping changes for the


. . . it should be abundantly clear that the events which took place on March 24, 1976, represent more than the mere overthrow of a government. On the contrary, they signify the final closing of a historic cycle and the opening of a new one whose fundamental characteristic will be manifested by the reorganization of the nation, a task undertaken with a true spirit of service by the armed forces. 1

Ironically, the military government of 1976-1983 indeed may have reorganized the nation, a reorganization produced not by success, but by its failed economic and political policies. Failures which, in combination with the defeat in the Falkland/Malvinas Islands war, destroyed public respect for the military and drove it from power. This chapter will consider the long-standing influence of the Argentine military on government and society, which culminated in its return in disgrace to the barracks in 1983. It will also discuss the democratically elected successor regime of Raul Alfonsin, and the prospects for a depoliticized military in Argentina. A central theme of this chapter is that the collapse of the military regime, while dramatic, was historically consistent. Argentina's early military governments, intervening to maintain the status quo, ultimately failed after establishing a fleeting period of relative stability. The military government launched in 1976, with more ambitious political and economic goals, simply failed in a much larger way. 199

Dennis R. Gordon


Civil-Military Relations in Argentina

As with most other Latin American nations, military government in Argentina can hardly be considered a deviation from the "norm" of civilian rule. Since 1928, no civilian has served a complete term as president. As we shall see, the military has, at various times, played the role of "moderators" exercising a veto power over government action to maintain stability and preserve the privileges of the traditional economic elite. On other occasions, acting as "guardians," the military took direct control of the government and sought to eliminate alleged corruption and malpractice while preserving the status quo. And beginning the 1966, the military went beyond maintenance of the status quo, to become "rulers" exercising near total dominance of government and society, seeking broad, long-term change. 2 Through each military regime has run three consistent themes: (1) limit popular participation in government; (2) defend the military's institutional interests; and (3) promote the interest of various sectors of local andjor foreign capital. In assuming such an overtly political role in society the military abandoned the professional characteristics which differentiate it from other sectors of society. 3 Thus though the military's unique institutional resources differentiate it from other actors, it is recognized both nationally and internationally as a constant in Argentine political life.

Professionalization of the Military In the first half-century following independence from Spain in 1810, Argentina lacked a formal military structure. Untrained and poorly equipped gaucho troops, while helping to secure the national territory from the Spanish, Paraguyans, and other foes, often were more occupied with fighting each other. Under the leadership of self-appointed officers, these troops played out the bitter struggle between the "Federalists" of Argentina's fertile interior provinces and the "Unitarians" of Buenos Aires. Following years of disorder and civil war, President Bartolome Mitre, who had defeated the provincial forces in 1861, planted the seeds of a modem, professional military. 4 The Colegio Militar was established in 1869, followed by the Escuela Naval in 1872. The Escuela Superior de Guerra for advanced officer training was created with the assistance of Germany advisors in 1900. Though some segments of the military participated in civilian-led opposition to the government, the increasingly professional officers generally remained loyal to the oligarchy of landlords, merchants, and bankers which dominated Argentine politics between

Withdrawal in Disgrace


1862 and 1916. The electoral victory of the middle class-based Union

Civica Radical (Radicals) in 1916 marked a major turning point in Argentine

political life. The Radicals' slow rise to power coincided with, and greatly contributed, the politicization of the military. The Radicals had begun their drive to unseat the entrenched Conservatives in 1890. Refusing to contest rigged elections, the Radicals built a solid political apparatus combining traditional opponents of the oligarchy with the rapidly expanding immigrant working class. While seeking electoral reform, the Radicals attempted to seize power through a series of unsuccessful revolts. Though the War Ministry attempt to prevent politicization, many officers were drawn into the conflict and participated in the Radicals' anti-government conspiracies. Aided by electoral reform in 1912 which greatly expanded suffrage, the Radicals were victorious in the generally honest elections of 1916. Led by the enigmatic Hipolito Yrigoyen, the Radicals entered office with a tradition of intransigent opposition and little else in the way of a political platform. Though the military accepted the Radicals election, some officers soon grew uneasy with what was seen as efforts to denigrate professionalism in their ranks. Yrigoyen's anti-corruption drives in provincial government, for instance, necessitated the use of the army to quell unrest, thus disrupting training schedules and pitting soldiers against the local population. Yrigoyen also interfered with promotion and assignment within the officer corps. His insistence that officers who had participated in unsuccessful Radical conspiracies be reinstated and/ or granted lost retirement and other benefits, moreover, further angered those in the military who had remained aloof from politics. Robert A. Potash summarizes the implications of Yrigoyen's policies: In arguing that there were "primordial obligations to country and constitution far superior to all military regulations," Yrigoyen's supporters unwittingly offered a rationalization for future military uprisings, of which they were to be the first victims. The tragedy was that in looking backward and trying to redress past inequities, Yrigoyen was helping to undermine the none-too-strong tradition of military aloofness from politics and to weaken the sense of unity in the officer corps. 5

Distrust among the officer ranks encouraged the formation of secret military societies and factionalism flourished. Though concerned with the "technical" issues of military budgets, promotions, conscript training, and governmental interference, military factions also reflected "ideological" differences. These differences to a large extent mirrored disagreements among Argentine ruling elites over foreign investment and other nationalist issues, the question of popular participation, and the transition


Dennis R. Gordon

from a "traditional" society to a "modern" industrial state. Intensified by personal conflicts and intra-service rivalry, factionalism which began during the Radical era continued to characterize the Argentine military both in and out of power. Behind surface factionalism within the military, nonetheless, lay a common core of social, political, and economic values. Traditionally, the background of high-ranking officers had been urban, middle and upper middle class. 6 Though not directly from the ranks of the aristocracy, the military hierarchy, with many subtle variations, shared a common belief in the virtue of capitalism and the sanctity of private property. Military distrust of the labor movement and the political left, which began in earnest in the 1920s, reached truly fanatical proportions in later years. According to Guillermo Makin, the common fear of effective political participation by the masses shared by Argentina's ruling elite and the officer corps stimulated military intervention: The electoral reform of 1916 produced an outcome which remains unaccepted by the Argentine propertied sectors, which in coalition with foreign interests have brought about military regimes . . . . The military interventions of 1930, 1943, 1955, 1962, and 1976 can therefore be seen as a continuum in the sense that, for all their varied forms, they constitute slightly different reactions by the same political and social actors to the same long-standing problem: the refusal of coup organizers and their supporters to accept the consequences of popular suffrage. 7

The Military Officially Enters Politics The Radicals continued to dominate Argentine politics, electing Marcelo Alvear president in 1922 and gaining a second term for Yrigoyen 1928. Many elements of society, nonetheless, soon grew weary of the party's inefficient and corrupt practices. Behind the public's disaffection with the apparently senile Yrigoyen lay the stark economic realities of the Great Depression and evolving global political economy. At one time, Argentina's agricultural resources could offer growth and relative prosperity, and the economic elite could thus tolerate the political liberalism of the Radicals. With global markets shrinking, however, and the capitalist class itself split between the traditional rural interest and an expanding urban industrial sector (with links to foreign capital), the military came to believe that they must act to save the nation. 8 Encouraged by the old conservative oligarchy, an ultra-right faction of officers led by General Jose F. Uriburu seized power in September 1930. On the surface the military appeared united in their desire to oust Yrigoyen thus acting as guardians of stability and elite interests. In reality two main factions formed the ranks of the conspirators while a minority

Withdrawal in Disgrace


of officers remained loyal to Yrigoyen. One faction, led by Uriburu sought significant change leading to a neofascist corporate state. The other faction, led by General Agustin Justo and representing a broader spectrum of the officer ranks, preferred to serve as moderators protecting the traditional goals of the Conservative Party. This group, with public support, pressured Uriburu to call elections. In elections marked by fraud and manipulation, General Justo captured the presidency in 1932. Although formally back in the barracks, fewer and fewer officers questioned the military's emerging role in government and politics. Aside from opposition from a minority of Radical supporters, President Justo enjoyed generally good relations with the military. He supported modernization of the military with lavish budgets and expanded its role in the formulation of foreign affairs. It was not until 1943 that the military again directly intervened to remove a government.

The 1943 Coup and the Rise of Peron The military intervention of 1943 lacked the drama of the movement against Yrigoyen in 1930. Though motivations differed among the various military factions (and their civilian supporters), most officers agreed that the corrupt government of President Castillo had to go. Foreshadowing the justification which would again be offered by military conspirators in 1966 and 1976, the coup's nominal leader General Rawson said "when the nation, as a result of bad rulers, is put into a situation where there are no constitutional solutions, [the military] has a duty to fulfill: to put the nation in order."9 Though this distrust of civilian political leaders was widely shared among military circles, little agreement existed as to the ideal type of regime needed. Out of the three year struggle for power that followed emerged a somewhat obscure Colonel, Juan Peron, who was to reshape civil-military relations and all of Argentine society. Peron represented a military faction of nationalistic officers who, fedup with both the traditional Conservative elite and the ineffective middle class Radicals, looked to the expanding working class to provide the backbone for a national renovation. Peron's Grupo de Oficiales Unidos (GOU) faction with the support of mass demonstrations by the workers, was able to neutralize opposition military factions by 1945, and he was elected president in 1946. A full review of the phenomenon of Peronism is obviously beyond the scope of this discussion. For our purposes, it is important to note that Peron attempted to introduce a new element to complement his military-based movement-the working class. Peron's goal was to build a modem industrial state upon the nation's strong agricultural base. Stressing inter-class reconciliation and national unity, the movement was essentially corporatist:


Dennis R. Gordon

Peronism was essentially a bourgeois nationalist movement supported by a section of the armed forces that attempted a project of autonomous capitalist development in Argentina. As to the workers' movement, Peron promoted unionization from above and his corporatist policy was designed to control labor, and simultaneously mobilize support of his nationaliststatist ideology against the traditional landowning oligarchy. 10

Worker loyalty to the movement was initially won through nationalist and populist appeals, the charisma of Peron and his wife Eva, high wages, social programs, and selective repression. Peron's populist policies were financed first by the enormous surplus acquired during World War II and by control of profits from agriculture. Though winning many fiercely loyal supporters, Peron gradually alienated the traditional elite, the Catholic Church, elements of the intelligencia, and foreign interests, including the United States. Conservative elements of the military, while also objecting to Peron's economic and social policies, were even more concerned about his mobilization of the masses. By 1955 a consensus emerged in high military circles that the nation's interest (as well as its own) necessitated the removal of Peron, who was exiled to Spain. As Peter G. Snow has observed, however, "it was relatively simple for the military to get rid of Peron; it was much more difficult to rid the country of Peronism." 11 By removing Peron, but not destroying his movement, the military created a new reason for its continued involvement in politics and government-preventing a return of the dictator or electoral success by his party. Following the ouster of Peron, the military ruled through a provisional government headed by General Pedro Aramburu. Pro-Peron officers were purged and Arturo Frondizi, leader of an off-shoot of the old Radical Party, the Intransigent Radical Civic Union, was elected in 1958. The military, however, was distrustful of Frondizi from the outset due to his willingness to strike a deal with Peron for electoral support. Reflecting its long-standing fear of mass participation, the military factions united to oust Frondizi in 1962 after he refused to invalidate Peronist victories in provincial elections. The 1962 coup marked a departure from the interventions of 1930, 1943, and 1955, in that the action was supported by all of the service branches chiefs of staffs. 12 Still, this unity, based upon the limited consensus of anti-Peronism, hid serious divisions within the military. In the ten years that followed the removal of Peron, the military, in fact, remained rent by factionalism. Reflecting long-standing differences, the military generally grouped around two sectors, the Colorados and the Azules. The Colorados, sometimes called gorillas favored a long-term "revolution" by the military to eradicate Peronism and other forms of subversion. To a large extent, the Colorados were the forerunners of the

Withdrawal in Disgrace


institutional military regimes begun in 1966 and 1976. The Azules or "legalists", on the other hand, represented more moderate officers who, while opposing Peron, sought a less overtly political role for the military. These moderates preferred more democratic institutions, industrialization, and "modernization." Thus the surface unity which produced the 1962 coup gave way to conflict over the nature of the successor regime. The moderate Azules managed to win electoral reforms aimed at producing a government of national unity. Prohibition of the Peronists, along with the unwillingness of the major 'parties to cooperate with the Azule plan, however, meant that Arturo Illia, candidate of a Radical splinter party, was elected president in 1963 with only 23 percent of the vote. Once again, a minority president governed a seriously divided nation. Back in the barracks, the military took stock of the problems of populism, economic development, and the need to restore unity and professionalism to its divided household. A consensus of sorts began to emerge under the direction of General Carlos Ongania. The problem, according to Ongania, was politicization of society and the military. In its moderator regimes of 1955-58 and 1962-63, the military had sought to restore balance and order to national political life. What was needed, in this view, was a break from electoral politics to build national unity and economic progress. The institution to perform such a task was the military. In 1966 Ongania had sufficiently united the military to oust Illia and, intending to stay in power for a significant period of time, embarked on Argentina's first truly institutional regime.

1966: The Military as Rulers By 1966 the tradition of military intervention was long established. Most agree that Ongania's coup, with the backing of the chiefs of staff of the three services, aimed to resolve once and for all the economic and political crisis which was the legacy of Peronism. Under the direction of state technocrats, Argentine capitalism would be restructured through foreign investment, promotion of industry, reconciliation of the traditional agricultural elite to a subordinate role, and co-optation of labor. A variety of factors, however, undermined Ongania's grand scheme and ultimately led to a repoliticization of society and open rebellion. · Opposition to the military program evolved from a nationalist reaction to foreign economic influence, the marginalization of many small firms, and the social consequences of anti-inflation and other stabilization policies. In 1969 opposition to economic policies led sectors of the middle class and relatively privileged industrial workers to take to the streets.


Dennis R. Gordon

The so-called Cordobazo (named for the city of Cordoba where it began) spread widely. In short order the military's authoritarian rule had lost legitimacy as the Peronists and Radicals, joined with labor and disgruntled capitalists to criticize the government. The military's desire to neutralize the Peronists and other political groups while stabilizing the economy had failed. The regime's opponents, on the other hand, were emboldened by the successes of their strikes and other public acts. With urban guerrilla groups from both the traditional left and various Peronists factions turning to violence and terror, Argentina became virtually ungovernable. The military's solution was to remove Ongania in 1970 and make an abrupt tum to the right. After a brief period of rule by General M.T. Levingston, the commander of the army and chair of the chiefs of the armed forces General Alejandro Lanusse, assumed the presidency. As was to be the case in 1976, Lanusse was selected president due to his position of leadership within the junta of chiefs of staff, which ruled as a group. 13 The military's plan in 1970 was (1) to restore its credibility with the public thus defending its institutional interests, and (2) solve the problem of Peronism once and for all. Rather than harsh repression, Lanusse, possessing strong anti-Peronist credentials, sought co-optation. Confident of its power, the military allowed the Peronists to legally participate in the electoral process. Lanusse's confidence proved unfounded; Peron's hand-picked candidate Hector Campora gained 49.6 percent of the popular vote in the March 1973 elections. Overall, 80 percent of the vote had gone to anti-Lanusse parties. Peron, still in exile in Spain, awaited the call. The military's defeat stemmed from the fact that many segments of Argentine society concluded that Peron, his dictatorial tendencies soften by years of exile in Europe, could represent a force for national reconciliation. Both capitalists and big-time labor feared the increasing radicalization of society and felt a legitimized Peronists movement could be the key to stability. The military, recognizing the dangers of negating the public's choice, returned to the barracks. Campora and the vicepresident then resigned after a brief stay in office, paving the way for the new elections which brought Peron back to power. The optimism which greeted the return of Peron was short-lived. Groups form both the left and the right increasingly turned to urban terror as a political tool. During Peron's years of exile the movement which bore his name had evolved into a variety of factions each willing to do battle for their vision of the true faith. The Argentine economy, highly integrated into the global division of labor and wealth, was not capable of sustaining the distributive measures necessary for the social

Withdrawal in Disgrace


reconciliation vital to Peron's vtston of "integrated democracy." The capitalists remained divided between agricultural, industrial, and internationalist sectors. Peron, in failing health, was unable to contain his movement or unite a society lacking any sort of consensus on basic goals or legitimate political activity. Violence from the left and the right was reportedly claiming a victim every eight hours. 14 With Peron's death on July 1, 1974, the military began plotting its return to government.

1976-1983: The Military's Final Offensive Peron was succeeded by the vice-president, his widow Maria Estela Martinez de Peron (Isabel). During her two-year rule political violence continued unabated. Severe economic problems including falling production, speculation, and hyperinflation were exacerbated by efforts at destabilization by military and private sector opponents. Mrs. Peron's problems were complicated by her reliance on the highly controversial minister of social welfare, Jose Lopez Rega. Charging the president and other officials with corruption, the military deposed the government on March 24, 1976. The 1976 coup was, in many respects, a logical outgrowth of the process began with Ongania's "Argentine Revolution" in 1966. Clearly seeing its role as rulers exercising a veto over all state policy, the military, with support of capitalist and middle class sectors, set two basic goals: a logic or reaction, containment and counter-revolution and (2) a foundational logic positing the establishment of a "New Order." The first characteristic was primarily a short-term response to the pre-coup situation of profound political crisis, marked by rapid popular mobilization, ideological polarization and democratic expansion. . . . The second aspect, the perception of the need for a radical rupture with the past [in] response to perceived crisis in the normal functioning of the capitalist political economy and as a corollary the need for a coherent project seeking a more dynamic reinsertion into the emerging transnational order. 15 (1)

A Bureaucratic-Authoritarian State

In positing these goals the military was determined to achieve what it had only partially fulfilled in 1966-the creation of a "bureaucraticauthoritarian state." The bureaucratic-authoritarian state as described by Guillermo O'Donnell and others, is a response to late, dependent capitalism and the enduring problem of popular participation. 16 Politically the bureaucratic authoritarian state, as seen in Chile (1973 coup) and Brazil (1964 coup) as well as Argentina, is post-populist, highly exclusionary, and anti-politics. "Central actors in the dominant coalition,"


Dennis R. Gordon

according to David Collier, "include high-level technocrats-military and civilian, within and outside the state-working in close association with foreign capital. This new elite eliminates electoral competition and severely controls the political participation of the popular sector." 17 Economically such a regime seeks further integration into the global trading system, hoping to invigorate and modernize the industrial sector which has exhausted the market potential inherent in protectionist, import-substitution policies. Such regimes, working closely with foreign capital and international financial organizations (International Monetary Fund), espouse liberal trade policies, harsh stabilization programs, and monetarist solutions to inflation and trade deficits. Although the Argentine military regime of 1976 differed in detail from the textbook model, it was consistent with the general outline of bureaucratic-authoritarianism. Power was held by a junta of the commanders-in-chief, with General Jorge Rafael Videla selected to serve as president through March 1981. Factional differences, however, gradually intensified and the officer ranks, while united in their desire to create a bureaucratic authoritarian state, remained divided on many specific issues. Along with traditional inter-service rivalries, factionalism was enhanced by ideological differences, personal ambition, and practical issues of presidential succession, foreign affairs, and economic policy. Factionalism eventually produced a break in what was supposed to be a smooth succession of power when General Leopolda Galtieri deposed Roberto Viola nine moths after he had assumed the presidency in 1981. But these problems emerged gradually, and the military initially enjoyed a relatively high level of popular support for its so-called National Reorganization (or Proceso), especially from the middle class which welcomed efforts to end labor unrest and political violence.

The Dirty War By 1976 political violence in Argentina transcended any specific movement, ideology, or cause: The violence enveloping the country erupted on all fronts. . . . Coexisting in Argentina were: rural and urban Trotskyite guerrillas; right-wing Peronist death squads; armed terrorist groups of the large labor unions . . . paramilitary army groups, dedicated to avenging the murder of their men; para-police groups of both the left and the right vying for supremacy with the organization of federal and provincial police forces; and terrorist groups of Catholic rightists. 18

The major terrorist organizations operating at one time or another included the Montoneros, who while claiming to be Peronists professed

Withdrawal in Disgrace


a curious mixture of Catholicism, Marxism, and populism, the TrotskyiteMaoist People's Revolutionary Army, and the ultra-Right, Argentine AntiCommunist Alliance, which drew heavy support from police and other government para-military forces. Still other groups engaged in terror and kidnap for economic gain, and some, according to Jacobo Timerman, were drawn by the "eroticism of violence." The public, therefore, welcomed the military's promise to eradicate political violence. This support, however, was short lived as the military's anti-terror terror known as the "Dirty War" became concurrently selective in singling out certain groups for repression and indiscriminate by raining violence on anyone deemed either subversive or a good candidate for extortion. One army commander was reported to have said "while Videla governs, I kill [and] We are going to have to kill50,000: 25,000 subversives, 20,000 sympathizers, and we will make 5,000 mistakes." 19 The Dirty War, with the official approval of the military's highest echelons, was pursued with vigor. By mid-1978 the guerrilla and other violent groups (as well as countless other individuals) had literally been made to disappear. A government commission reported in 1984 that 8,961 persons had disappeared between 1976 and 1980. It also reported that 340 secret prisons were set up during the same period and named 1,200 police and military officials involved in murder, torture, and kidnap. 20 While the sadists certainly had their day during the Dirty War, repression was a logical aspect of the military's drive to reorganize society. The goal was to build authoritarian state power and de-politicize the public. Through fear the public was expected to practice selfcensorship and "voluntarily" shun even the most mundane political activities. The indiscriminate use of violence, however, destroyed the original support for the war on subversion. For many Argentinians it was soon clear that the military, rather than providing a solution, had become part of the problem. The public's disgust at the conduct of the Dirty War was a major factor in growing disrespect for the military and its ultimate withdrawal from power.

Economic Reorganization The military's prescription for the critically ill economy was orthodox liberal free trade doctrine. What separated this so-called "new political economy" of Economic Minister Jose Martinez de Hoz was its commitment to apply drastic stabilization regardless of their social or political cost. The problem with earlier liberal reforms, such as those attempted during the Ongania regime, according to Martinez de Hoz, was a willingness to allow certain protectionist measures and maintain a high degree of


Dennis R. Gordon

government intervention in the economy. Previous government economic policy, in this view, protected inefficient industries, permitted artificially high wages, and allowed wasteful public expenditures on subsidies and social programs. The cure was to open the economy to foreign competition, lower wages by as much as 50 percent, cut government spending, liberalize financial and exchange markets, and emphasize agriculture and other sectors enjoying a comparative advantage. Not surprisingly, these measures were readily accepted by the International Monetary Fund and other important public and private international financial organizations. The "New Political Economy," though experiencing some short term successes, was in the long run a major disaster. Removal of tariffs on industry produced fierce foreign competition in some sectors. Concurrently, rigidly controlled wages reduced the consumer's pur.chasing power thus shrinking market size. Seventy-five percent of government incentives for industry were concentrated in three sectors; steel, petrochemicals, and wood pulp products. 21 The result was "deindustrialization" of the Argentine economy. Employment in industry, for instance, declined by 26 percent between 1975 and 1980 and total industrial production dropped by 17 percent between 1975 and 1981. Liberalization of financial markets and foreign exchange controls also produced unanticipated negative impacts. Freeing of controls and interest rates attracted local and foreign capital. Approval of a US$ 290 million loan from the IMF in September 1976 signalled Argentina's creditworthyness and foreign public and private loans flowed in. Several large new financial firms (financieras) sprang up and this sector of the economy grew by 45 percent between 1976 and 1980.22 The infusion of capital, while benefiting some productive sectors, also contributed significantly to speculation, corruption, inflation, and increased foreign participation. Indeed, some critics saw the military's financial reforms as primarily serving the interests of foreign capital. Be that as it may, the relatively easy, though costly, money soon produced a debt burden for many firms. Argentina's total external debt grew from US$ 8.2 billion in 1977 to US$ 24.5 billion in 1980. Shrinking internal markets and deindustrialization led firms to default on their debts and the ultimately the collapse of the big financieras. The financial reforms which lay at the heart of the military's economic reorganization were lost on the shoals of stagnation and hyperinflation. Agriculture, an area with obvious export potential, was also a key part of the military's economic program. An emphasis on agriculture, of course, was also intended to insure the support of the traditional rural elite. As with industry, the agrarian sector was to benefit by foreign participation and further integration into the global trading system.

Withdrawal in Disgrace


Elimination of taxes and other restrictive measures initially favored the agricultural sector. Agricultural prices, however, did not keep pace with overall inflation while the cost of capital soared. Currency devaluation, the cornerstone of the military's stabilization program, moreover, reduced foreign exchange earnings on agricultural exports. Local consumption also declined. By 1980, both large and small farmers joined the protests against the policies of Martinez de Hoz and his military backers. Four years after taking power, many components of the military's economic strategy were being called into question. Though the giant grain conglomerates and some sectors of banking and industry gained, the overall effect of the strategy had been to alienate the petty bourgeois and workers who had originally welcomed the coup in 1976. Exposing the economy to heightened foreign penetration and reducing the state sector, also contributed to discord within the military household. Nationalists within the military were uncomfortable with the introduction of foreign investments into formally sacred sectors such as petroleum. 23 Others feared that foreign entry into certain basic industries would compromise autonomy and national security. The denationalization of the armaments industry, long under the control of the military, was also controversial. Though military budgets certainly did not suffer (military spending tripled between 1975 and 1981), some officers disagreed with the curtailment of the civil service. As we shall see, factionalism within the military over economic policies ultimately contributed to its ultimate withdrawal from power.

Foreign Policy: Relations with Neighbors Edward Milenky has identified two general tendencies in Argentine foreign policy, "classic liberal" and "statist-nationalist." Classic liberals, (including previous military regimes), favored free trade, strong ties with the United States and Western Europe, and anti-communist rhetoric. Statist-nationalists (including Peronists and Radicals), valued a more non-aligned stance, protection of local industry, and a degree of regional solidarity. 24 The military's foreign policy was, with important exceptions, consistent with the classic liberal viewpoint. The military's regional policies reflected traditional geopolitical concerns more than any specific ideology. Relations with long-time rival Brazil were characterized by both competition and cooperation. Cognizant of Brazil's dramatic increase in economic, technological, demographic, and military power, the Argentine military attempted to maintain good relations with its Latin neighbors, especially Paraguay, and the military governments in Bolivia, Uruguay and Peru. Many officers also harbored an unfounded fear of a U.S.-Brazilian alliance, and sought to promote Argentina's "natural" role as the leader of the Southern Cone.


Dennis R. Gordon

In spite of these areas of competition, there were also important avenues of cooperation. In 1980, the two nations exchanged presidential visits and signed a variety of agreements on trade and technical projects. Ironically, as a result of Argentine trade liberalization, Brazilian exports to Argentina grew from US$ 331 million in 1976 to US$ 1.0 billion in 1980. For a variety of reasons, including the military's preoccupation with its internal programs, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Argentina lost significant ground to Brazil between 1976 and 1983. The military's most dramatic regional foreign policy problem concerned Chile. Possessing one of the world's longest common borders, relations between the two nations historically combined territorial and ideological disputes with important trade and economic interaction. Although the staunch anti-communism of the Argentine generals was certainly compatible with the ideology of the Pinochet regime, there was a degree of uneasiness over Chile's strong ties to Brazil. The key problem between the two neighbors, however, was the long-standing border dispute over three small islands in the Beagle Channel at the tip of the continent. Though the disputed territory had been occupied by Chile since the late 1800s, Argentina continued to push its claim. The military, stepped in a strong geopolitical orientation, feared creation of a 200-mile maritime zone in the area would give Chile status as an Atlantic nation, threaten

access to resources, and compromise passage in time of crisis or war. Argentina's rejection of British arbitration which awarded the territory to Chile in 1978 led to an arms race and a threat of war. The matter eventually came under Papal arbitration and direct military conflict was avoided.

Foreign Policy: Relations with the Major Powers With important exceptions, the military's relations with the major developed nations did not depart radically from previous governments. Like other Latin American states, Argentina was caught in the familiar bind of wanting to appear simultaneously independent while enjoying favorable relations with the United States. Although Videla and the junta were anxious to improve relations with the U.S., their human rights abuses led to a virtual halt in military aid. The military's immediate foreign policy priorities after taking power were to maintain and improve trade and financial relations with the major powers. Traditionally about 40 percent of Argentine exports went to the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. The developed capitalist nations, in tum, supplied 70 percent of Argentine imports. The U.S. (providing 25 percent of imports) and Great Britain historically were the major sources of foreign investment, loans, and technology transfer. This dependence

Withdrawal in Disgrace


grew with the liberalization of trade and capital flows after 1976. As seen, failure of the military's economic reorganization furthered balance of payments deficits (current accounts balance was a negative US$ 4.7 billion in 1980 and US$ 3.9 billion in 1981). 25 In order to balance the economic asymmetries with the capitalist developed states, the military expanded trade with the Soviet Union. Obviously not restrained by their violent anti-communism, the military continued the trend began in the mid-1970s and completed numerous trade and diplomatic agreements with the Soviet Union. The Soviets, for their part, avoided direct criticism of the military's human rights policies and occasionally supported Argentina in international forums. Although the military instructed its representatives to condemn the invasion of Afghanistan in the United Nations, it refused to join the U.S.-sponsored grain embargo. Already Argentina's single largest market for com, the Soviet Union imported US$ 3.4 billion in grain and beef in 1981. Overall, Argentina enjoyed a massive trade surplus with the Soviet Union; while exporting billions of dollars in goods between 1966 and 1980, Argentina imported only US$ 18 million. 26 Trade expansion with the Soviet Union represented one of the few clear foreign policy achievements of the military government. The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 led many in the military to believe that relations with the U.S. could finally be improved. High level contacts between the Argentine government and Reagan's transition team began shortly after the election. Citing geopolitical necessities in the Southern Cone and the alleged improvement of the human rights situation, the Reagan administration upgraded relations with the junta. The military government responded by offering support for U.S. peace-keeping forces in the Sinai, and backing U.S. policy in El Salvador. in 1981.27 The succession to the presidency of the strongly anti-Communist and pro-U.S. General Leopolda Galtieri in December 1981 furthered the trend toward improved relations. The perception that Argentina was gradually emerging as a surrogate of sorts for the United States was prevalent in both Buenos Aires and Washington. U.S. dissatisfaction with the Sandinista dominated government in Nicaraguan provided the Argentine military another opportunity to woo the Reagan administration. Initially divided over the revolution in Nicaragua (Argentina voted in favor of the Organization of American States condemnation of Somoza in 1979), the military became increasingly hostile to the Sandinista government after 1980. In February 1982, the Nicaraguan government claimed that Argentina had supplied U.S. $50,000 to opposition groups. Argentina was also reported to have sent twenty to thirty military advisors to El Salvador. 28


Dennis R. Gordon

Galtieri's honeymoon with the U.S., like the other aspects of the military's grand scheme for national reorganization, however, was doomed. Just as the Dirty War had alienated large segments of the Argentine public, and the economic policy impoverished them, Galtieri's decision to reclaim by force the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, destroyed the remnants of military unity and friendly relations with Washington.

The Falkland/Malvinas War The origins of the dispute over the islands in the South Atlantic reached back to Spain's formal claim of the islands in 1774 and their subsequent occupation by the British in 1833. The dispute became a near constant theme in Argentine foreign relations. In spite of sporadic negotiations between the two nations and various United Nations resolutions, a diplomatic solution seemed remote to the Argentine military. After months of fairly blatant preparations, Argentina invaded the islands on April 2, 1982. The decision to invade reflected a variety of factors. 29 The military had long viewed the islands as an important strategic prize, perhaps possessing rich petroleum reserves, and presenting a gateway to the Antarctic. This aspect was especially significant to the navy which reportedly supported Galtieri's assumption of the presidency on the grounds that the Malvinas issue be settled. 30 A more immediate motivation for the attack, according to many observers, was the belief that victory could restore cohesion to a nation beset by political and economic cleavages. Success in the South Atlantic, would also serve Galtieri's own considerable political ambitions. The military, of course, seriously miscalculated the response of the British, the United States, and most of the global community. Confident that Britain would not fight, the generals sent poorly trained conscripts to occupy the islands. The high command, moreover, lacked a comprehensive battle plan to cope with the land, air, and sea battles that ultimately resulted from the invasion. Apparently unaware that such a crisis may actually offer the beleaguered Thatcher government an opportunity to build its own popularity, Galtieri and the junta counted on a diplomatic solution after their "symbolic" occupation on April 2. Central to this scenario was the role of the U.S. Encouraged by improving ties with the Reagan administration, Galtieri concluded that his new friends in Washington would remain neutral in the conflict and midwife a favorable diplomatic solution. In the view of David Lewis Feldman, this misperception was based both on poor intelligence gathering and conflicting information provided by various U.S. offi.cials. 31 Be that as it may, the U.S. did not remain neutral, the British forces sailed, and in

Withdrawal in Disgrace


battles characterized by confused Argentine leadership (and heroism on all sides), Argentina suffered 1,366 casualties and millions of dollars in destroyed weapons, lost trade, and other economic sanctions. A struggle to restore national support for the military's celebrated Proceso only hastened their return to the barracks.

Withdrawal in Disgrace As should be evident, defeat in the Falkland/Malvinas war, was but one of many causes of the military's withdrawal from government. Behind the costly defeat lay failed economic and political policies exacerbated by the military's own serious lack of unity. Economically the liberalization of the Processo failed to halt triple digit inflation and, as seen, seriously damaged other vital sectors: Billions of dollars left the country (representing a permanent loss to the economy, and involving not a few corruption scandals) and the peso was heavily devalued. Inflation began to increase from a 'low' of 80 per cent per annum, living standards were really squeezed. By the end of 1981, therefore, economic policy had achieved none of its objectives . . . . Austerity measures which might have been forgiven in the immediate aftermath of a military coup, now had to be applied to a restive and resentful populace. 32

By 1980 many officers had developed serious doubts about the economic program, and to make matters worse, shared no common vision on the question of political reforms. The uncharacteristic unity during Videla's term in office disintegrated in the face of the military's failed policies. Factionalism initially resurfaced during the negotiations to select Videla's successor in 1980. Videla was committed above all to a precedent setting smooth transition-for the regime to be truly "institutional" the new president would have to be selected by mutual agreement of the junta and not a palace coup. Disagreement among the military centered on both the traditional political cleavage of hard versus soft line regarding popular participation and also over the specifics of the Videla-Martinez de Hoz liberal economic policy. The navy was a firm supporter of the neo-classic liberal program while the army was more concerned about the danger of repoliticization of society. Ideological differences were temporarily put aside in 1980 in favor of the military's institutional interest. A moderate compromise of sorts was reached with the selection of army General Roberto Viola to succeed to the presidency. The announcement of Viola's selection was delayed for a week, however, revealing the in-fighting among the branches


Dennis R. Gordon

over the question of succession. It would soon be clear that the new president's mandate was less than unanimous. In his inaugural address in March 1981 General Viola, recognizing the public's dissatisfaction with the government's economic and political policies, promised to consider restoring some rights to unions and political parties. Viola also held out the vague possibility of establishing a national dialogue with the civilian opposition, and, in the long run, some form of electoral participation. Revealing the depth of the military's disunity, Viola's rival and ultimate successor Leopoldo Galtieri responded publicly that elections were out of the question. Political reform or apertura, according to Galtieri, would be a long, slow process. The civilian opposition, sensing opportunity in the military's conflicting messages, began to organize. In July 1981, the major political parties formed a coalition, the Multipartidaria, to push cautiously for a democratic opening and economic revitalization. Amidst repeated caution that the military's Proceso must continue, Viola and Galtieri opportunistically sought to co-opt the political opposition. Viola subtlety courted the Multipartidaria, perhaps hoping to eventually use civilian support as a lever against Galtieri's hardliners. Galtieri's faction, however, perceived that Viola's overtures threatened the basic principles of the regime. The decision to act in 1976 was rooted

in the military's common belief that civilian control had led to economic and political chaos. The majority of officers, though divided, had not lost sight of this basic goal. The Galtieri hardliners were thus able to solidify their position and force Viola from office on December 11, 1981. While Galtieri and the neo-liberals in his faction hoped to return to the original economic policies of the Proceso, their immediate concern was to quiet public criticism and restore a sense of unity to the armed forces. In hopes of restoring the military's public image (and raising his own political stock) Galtieri laid the blame on Viola: By personalizing the difficulties the regime was facing, Galtieri could assume power and "clear the name" of the armed forces, as well as his own. Instead, his machinations inadvertently precipitated a deterioration in regime performance. . . . Neither Galtieri nor the armed forces could disassociate themselves from Viola's legacy; it was also their own. 33

As this contradiction became clear, Galtieri and his supporters turned to the age-old ploy of foreign adventure to build unity in the military and society at large. The invasion of the Falkland/Malvinas islands initially did restore a degree of national unity. Still, just as Galtieri had misinterpreted the British and U.S. reaction, he also did not fully appreciate the Argentine

Withdrawal in Disgrace


public's response; though hundreds of thousands gathered to shout their approval of the invasion, they also called for an end to the junta. Union and political leaders made it clear that they expected economic and political reforms at the war's end. The military's blatant lies about the conduct of the war only made matters worse. When the public, which had been fed a steady diet of optimistic reports, learned of the surrender at Port Stanley on June 14, the military's image sunk to depths previously unknown in Argentine history. After murdering so many of its own citizens, and pursuing economic policies which alienated both local and foreign capital, the military indeed had few allies. Recriminations within the military over the conduct of the war combined with the public's outrage, and the handwriting was on the wall: Following military defeat, then, the military government was about as discredited as it is possible for any government to be. Subsequently the military did in fact move with some political sophistication and the departure from power was comparatively well managed, but the damage, perhaps irreversible, to the reputation of the military had already been done. 34

The Successor Regime First to go in the aftermath of the war was Commander-in-Chief and President Leopoldo Galtieri. He was replaced by a retired army general, Renaldo Bignone. The military, mindful of its tenuous position, wanted a caretaker regime which would protect its corporate interest during the now inevitable return to civilian government. Elections were initially set for January 1984 and then pushed up to October 1983. In the interim, the military used its control of the budget to undertake a rearmament program, restore discipline and organizational integrity in its ranks, and above all, to preempt civilian prosecution of those responsible for the Dirty War. Although they were deep fissures over conduct of the Falkland/ Malvinas war, the military recognized a certain collective guilt for the terror of the Dirty War and united in self-defense. Under Bignone's direction, the military took three basic steps to evade public accountability. First, Bignone released a "Final Document on the War Against Subversion and Terrorism," essentially admitting that excesses may have occurred, but that such is to be expected in war. The dead and missing were casualties of combat, nothing more. Second, the government issued a "Law of National Pacification" granting amnesty to both alleged terrorists and members of the state security forces accused of committing excesses.


Dennis R. Gordon

Third, Bignone apparently ordered the destruction of all documents relating to the Dirty War.3s Needless to say, the military's efforts to avoid what the public considered their obvious guilt, led to massive protests. The prosecution of military officials became a central theme of the October election. The election was contested by the Radical Party, led by Raul Alfonsin, and the Peronist candidate ltalo Luder. Though the Peronists enjoyed a numerical advantage over the Radicals, Alfonsin was able to wear away their lead by continuing to remind the public of the economic mistakes and political violence which occurred during Peronist rule between 1973 and 1976. The Peronists, moreover, were seriously divided over the nature and goals of their party. To a large extent Peron was the party and, lacking his charismatic appeal, the party carrying his name seemed lackluster. Alfonsin, on the other hand, emerged from the era of military rule with clean hands. He had openly opposed the military's political terror and spoke out against the Falkland/Malvinas War. Though his Radical Party itself was seen as a stodgy and conservative representative of the middle class, Alfonsin was able to convince the minority parties and independents that he could defeat the Peronists. Gaining 52 percent of the vote to the Peronists 42 percent, Alfonsin was inaugurated president in December 1983.

The new government faced three immediate problems; prosecution of those responsible for the Dirty War, preservation of democratic institutions, and revitalization of the economy. First and foremost, the legitimacy of the new government depended on successfully bringing to justice those responsible for the officially sanctioned terror of the Dirty War. Pragmatism, however, suggested that Alfonsin not totally alienate the military. Describing his dilemma as one of choosing between "blood and time," Alfonsin, lacking a trustworthy state security apparatus, chose time. 36 This caution was evident in Alfonsin's refusal to prosecute Reynaldo Bignone, who though himself accused of excesses in the Dirty War, presided over the restoration of civilian government. Another gesture toward the military was Alfonsin's promise to prosecute the surviving leadership of the Montoneros, the People's Revolutionary Army, and the other groups associated with terrorist acts. The military for its part was confident that, other than a few sacrificial lambs, the vast majority of its ranks would be spared. Alfonsin seemed to validate the military's confidence when he took the controversial, but pragmatic, step of granting original jurisdictions for the investigation to its own tribunal, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. In offering the military the opportunity to clear its name, however, the government made it clear that if it failed to act, the cases would be subject to automatic review by the civilian Federal Court of Appeals.

Withdrawal in Disgrace


After repeated delays, the Supreme Council announced in September 1984 that the nine high officers accused of conducting the Dirty War had not acted improperly. The government, committed to redefining the military's role in society, then made good its promised to tum the cases over to civilian courts. The trial, which began in April 1985, charged former Presidents Videla, Viola, and Galtieri (and six other commanders) with homicide, torture, illegal deprivation of liberty, robbery, illegal entry, and forgery of documents. The officers, not surprisingly, maintained that they had acted in accordance with their duty to defend the nation. Videla, for instance, contended that his actions were justifiable in defense of "Western, Christian values" against terrorism. 37 The prosecution presented over 700 specific cases of human rights abuses ordered by the accused. On December 9, 1985 the Federal Court delivered the verdict: former President Videla and Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera life sentences, former President Viola received a 17 year term, and two other officers received lesser sentences. Galtieri and three others were acquitted. Galtieri (and two other officers), nonetheless, remained under confinement pending the military's own trial for their conduct of the Falkland/Malvinas war. In obtaining the conviction of former junta members, the civilian government had managed what to many seemed the impossible. The government, nonetheless, still faced the problem of 300 lower-ranking officers also accused of crimes in the Dirty War. While convictions were obtained in prominent cases involving former head of the Buenos Aires police General Ramon Camps and navy Lieutenant Alfredo Astiz in December 1986, Alfonsin sought and won approval for a statute of limitations on new prosecutions. The so-called punto final, passed by the congress as 1986 came to an end, established a 60-day deadline for new enquiries about officers accused of human rights violations during the Dirty War. Existing investigations and indictments were not effected by the legislation and the public was free to bring new charges during the 60-day period. 38 This legislation, passed without major public dissent, offered a "light at the end of the tunnel" for the military while not granting a blanket amnesty. Unrest among junior officers continued in spite of the punto final. In April 1987 Major Emesto Guillermo Barreiro's refusal to answer a federal court summons plunged the Alfonsin government into crisis. Troops loyal to Barreiro rebelled at a base near Cordoba, and sympathetic officers seized facilities at the Campo de Mayo based near Buenos Aires. The army high command, while declaring its intention to suppress the revolt, avoided a direct confrontation with the rebels. The rebels, for their part, contended that they did not wish to challenge the authority of the President, and were acting only to demonstrate their opposition


Dennis R. Gordon

to the Dirty War trials. After several tense days, the rebellion ended peacefully after a massive outpouring of public support for the government and a strong show of unity by opposition political parties and labor unions. Although Alfonsin was able to declare that "the house is in order, and there is no bloodshed," the military had made its point; prosecution of lower-ranking officers must come to an end. The President, ever the realist and not totally unsympathetic to the junior officers, proposed the obediencia debida (due obedience) legislation aimed at exempting from prosecution those officers who were compelled to follow orders during the Dirty War. The obediencia debida, which would amnesty most junior officers accused of illegal acts, angered many human rights groups. Once again, Alfonsin and the civilian leaders were caught between the public's demand for justice, and the still considerable power of the military. Alfonsin, acknowledging that he had made some mistakes in dealing with the military (like cutting its budget), made it clear that he still intended to go forward with a major revision and de-politicization of the armed forces. For some the obediencia debida marked Alfonsin's surrender to the military; for others it was a necessary step on the path to national reconciliation and institutionalization of civilian rule. Insuring democracy was the second major task facing the Alfonsin government. As argued above, a major impediment to lasting civilian government in Argentina was the common fear of popular participation held by the traditional elite and the military. In the aftermath of the military's failed Proceso, many observers concluded that Argentina enjoyed a unique opportunity to start afresh. Both the military's traditional allies in the economic elite and their traditional adversaries in the working class had suffered during the Processo. With the death of Peron, moreover, another potential source of conflict was partially neutralized. The Peronists, reeling from the loss of their leader, faced many problems including the damage done during the brief rule of his widow, the loss to Alfonsin and the Radicals, and serious fractionalization within the party. With the establishment of elected governments in Brazil, Uruguay, and Peru, and the United States seeming to prefer civilian to military government in South America, the international environment also appeared favorable for democracy in Argentina. Whether Alfonsin would be able to translate these opportunities into lasting, stable civilian rule remains to be seen. There were isolated acts of violence allegedly committed by ultra right groups in 1984 and 1985, and intrigues within the military and national security forces surfaced occasionally. In October 1985 Alfonsin was forced to order a brief state of siege in order to detain former military officers accused of conspiring to wage a campaign of violence. Some Argentine commentators argued

Withdrawal in Disgrace


that the political culture rendered democracy an impossible dream. 39 Be that as it may, neither the state of siege nor the violence prevented legislative elections from being held in November 1985. Alfonsin's Union Civica Radical in winning 20 of the 24 electoral districts being contested, gaining 43 percent of the vote to the divided Peronists 34 percent. The ultimate success of civilian government, of course, depended on solving more than just the nation's political problems. Revitalization of the economy posed the most demanding long-term challenge for Argentina. Alfonsin inherited an economy characterized by an enormous foreign debt I:>urden, high inflation, and stagnant industry. Drawing upon the broad support for his new government, Alfonsin attempted to conclude a "social pact" with labor, industry, and other sectors to stem inflation which exceeded 1000 percent a year. He also renegotiated many loans and sought other concessions from the IMF and major foreign banks. After a year of gradually attempting to stem the tide of inflation, the government in June 1985 turned to the "shock treatment" of the so called Plan Austral. Key components of the Plan Austral included rigid controls on prices and wages, and far-reaching currency reforms. By June 1986 inflation had dropped from 1,130 percent to 50 percent while the economy grew at a highly encouraging annual rate of 5 percent. The government's ability to reduce inflation while maintaining growth cannot be dismissed lightly. Success of the plan, of course, depended greatly on labor and the traditional economic elite, sectors with a history of intransigence. Still, as the 1985 legislative election results revealed, Alfonsin enjoyed significant public support, and many Argentinians recognized that their economic difficulties were rooted in global trade and financial relations. Besides, with the military's economic policies thoroughly discredited and the populist alternative of Peronism in disarray, there were few opinions. The public, nonetheless, fondly recalled the relatively high standard of living which Argentina's bountifully factor endowment could provide. Thus restoration of economic prosperity remained imperative for those wishing to build a lasting traditional of civilian rule. Conclusion

The Argentine military, in its gradual evolution from "Moderators" of civilian political life to "Rulers" of their self-proclaimed societal reorganization, abandoned those traits which define a professional military organization. As Abrahamsson argues, military professionalism is generally characterized by theory, ethics, and corporateness. As discussed above, in replacing a externally oriented traditional purpose of national defense with a highly ideological internal "national security" focus, the

Dennis R. Gordon


military waged a Dirty War against its own population. The military's establishment of a theoretical basis for professional autonomy and prestige thus became political rather than military in orientation. Its officers, more skilled in politics and murdering unarmed civilians lacked the technical skills to conduct a traditional military campaign in the Falkland/ Malvinas war. Lack of a clear professional mission also undermined the ethical basis of the Argentine military. Rather than using the state's monopoly of military power to protect the citizenry, the officers exploited their position in defense of narrow interest. Finally, Ideological factionalism, fueled in part by personal ambition, destroyed the military's corporate identity. One may only speculate whether the Argentine military will ever establish a true professional orientation and return to a position of respect at home and abroad. The Alfonsin government is seeking to literally redefine the role of the military in Argentine society and establish a permanent civilian-dominated regime. This task is complicated by a regional environment in South America relatively free of international conflict (other than those imagined by bored officers) and civilian factions which historically have seen the military as a potential recruit in political and economic competition. Given the history of military intervention, government in Argentina (as well as most of South America) is always a variation of civilian-military or military-civilian coalition. Today, local and international conditions (especially Washington's support for elected governments), favors the civilian components of the power equation. Whether or not this will be true tomorrow is anyone's guess. Though one may wish President Alfonsin and his colleagues well in their effort to build civilian institutions, it would be naive and a-historical to disregard the potential for the resurgence of a politically ambitious military in Argentina.

Notes 1. Jorge Rafael Videla, "A Time for Fundamental Reorganization of the Nation," a speech reprinted in Brian Loveman and Thomas M. Davies, Jr., eds., The Politics of Antipolitics: The Military in Latin America (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978), p. 178. 2. The labels moderators, guardians, and rulers are a typology developed by Nordlinger. See: Eric A. Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Governments (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977), pp. 21-28. Also see Jose Nun, The Hegemonic Crisis and the Military Coup (Institute of International Studies, University of California, 1969). 3. According to Abrahamsson, military professionalism is usually characterized by a specific theory of the military's national security role, a clear-cut code of

Withdrawal in Disgrace


ethics establishing the military's subordinate role vis-a-vis the civilian government, and a corporate identity which reinforces unity and respect for the institution and its mission. Bengt Abraharnsson, Military Professionalism and Political Power (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1972), p. 69. 4. Peter G. Snow, Political Forces in Argentina, Revised Edition (New York: Praeger, 1979), p. 53. 5. Robert A. Potash, "The Military and Argentine Politics," Brian Loveman and Thomas M. Davies, Jr., eds., The Politics of Antipolitics (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978), p. 93. 6. See Jose Luis de Imaz, los que mandan (Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, 1964). 7. Guillermo Makin, "Argentina: The Authoritarian Impasse," Christopher Clapham and George Philip, eds., The Dilemmas of Military Regimes (London: Croom Helm, 1985), p. 152. 8. William C. Smith, "Reflections on the political economy of authoritarian rule and capitalist reorganization in contemporary Argentina", Philip O'Brien and Paul Cammack, eds., Generals in Retreat (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985), p. 39. 9. Potash, "The Military and Argentine Politics," p.103-104. 10. Ronaldo Munck, "The 'Modem' Military Dictatorship in Latin America: The Case of Argentina (1976-1982)," Latin American Perspectives, 12:4 (Fall1985), p. 51. 11. Snow, Political Forces in Argentina, p. 14. 12. Makin, "Argentina: The Authoritarian Impasse," p. 155. 13. Makin, "Argentina: The Authoritarian Impasse," p. 157. 14. Snow, Political Forces in Argentina, p. 145. 15. Smith, "Reflections on the Political Economy of Authoritarian rule and Capitalist Reorganization in Contemporary Argentina," p. 48. 16. See Guillermo O'Donnell, Modernization and Bureaucratic Authoritarianism: Studies in South American Politics (Berkeley: Institute of International Studies, 1973), and David Collier, ed. The New Authoritarianism in Latin America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979). 17. David Collier, ed. The New Authoritarianism in Latin America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979), p. 24. 18. Jacobo Timerman, Prisoner Without A Name, Cell Without a Number (New York: vintage, 1981), p. 49. 19. Smith, "Reflection on the Political Economy of Authoritarian Rule," p. 49. 20. Robert Cox, "The Souring of the Argentine Dream," Harpers (May 1985), p. 50. 21. Smith, "Reflections on the Political Economy of Authoritarian Rule," p. 67. 22. Munck, "The 'Modem' Military Dictatorship in Latin America." p. 59. 23. Though the state oil monopoly remained dominant, foreign concessions for exploration were granted. 24. Edward S. Milenky, Argentina's Foreign Policies (Boulder: Westview Press, 1978), p. 5. For a brief review see: Dennis R. Gordon, "Argentina's Foreign


Dennis R. Gordon

Policies in the Post-Malvinas Era," Jennie K. Uncoln and Elizabeth G. Ferris, eds. The Dynamics of Latin American Foreign Policies (Boulder: Westview, 1984), pp. 85-100. 25. World Bank, World Development Report 1983 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983). 26. Latin America Weekly report (November 20, 1981), p. 4. 27. David Lewis Feldman, "The United States Role in the Malvinas Crisis, 1982: Misguidance and Misperception in Argentina's Decision to Go to War," Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs, 28:2 (Summer 1985), p. 2. 28. Gordon, "Argentina's Foreign Policies," p. 93. 29. For a general review see: Raphael Perl, The Falkland Islands Dispute in International Law and Politics (London: Oceana Publications, 1983) and Dennis R. Gordon, "The Paralysis of Multilateral Peacekeeping: International Organizations and the Falkland/Malvinas War," Peace and Change (Winter 1987). 30. David Pion-Berlin, "The Fall of Military Rule in Argentina: 1976-1983," Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, 27:2 (Spring 1985), p. 70. 31. Feldman, "The United States Role in the Malvinas Crisis," p. 7. 32. George Philip, "The Fall of the Argentine Military," Third World Quarterly, 6:3 (July 1984), p. 630. 33. Pion-Berlin, "The Fall of Military Rule in Argentina: 1976-1983," p. 67. 34. Philip, "The Fall of the Argentine Military," p. 630. 35. Jose Zalaquett, "From Dictatorship to Democracy," The New Republic (December 16, 1985), p. 20. 36. Cox, "The Souring of the Argentine Dream," p. 57. 37. "Argentina: The Commanders Appear in Court," Latin America Weekly Report (September 20, 1985), p. 2. 38. "Argentina: Peaceful ending to the punto final," Latin America Weekly Report (January 8, 1987), p.8. 39. Cox, "The Souring of the Argentine Dream," p. 57.

10 Beating a Hasty Retreat: The Greek Military Withdraws from Power Constantine P. Danopoulos In the early morning of April 21, 1967 the Greek people were awakened to the tune of martial music to be told that the nation's armed forces had taken power to save the country from the near abyss to which it had been dragged by the unscrupulous and demagogic politicians. Some seven years later, on July 23, 1974, Athens radio interrupted the same martial rhythm it had been beaming for days, due to the crisis over Cyprus, to announce that the armed forces had decided to tum over the governing of the country to the same civilians the military had overthrown and had denounced as corrupt and unprincipled. This anticlimactic statement signaled the withdrawal of the Greek military from the levers of political authority as abruptly as it had usurped power over seven years earlier. The Greek people celebrated jubilantly the dictatorship's fall and extended a hero's welcome to former Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis, recalled by the military from his self-imposed exile in Paris to head the new national-unity civilian government. This essay 1 will analyze the Greek military's decision to relinquish power, the process of transition, and the nature of civil-military relations from the post-withdrawal period up to the present. 2 However, to understand better the reasons which prompted the withdrawal in 1974 after more than seven years in power (eptaetia), as well as the politics of transition and the nature of the ensuing civil-military relations, a brief survey of the armed forces' role in modem Greek history is relevant.

Civil-Military Relations: An Overview Students of civil-military relations see military professionalism3 as an important corollary affecting the behavior of modem soldiery. However, 225


Constantine P. Danopoulos

there is considerable disagreement as to the nature of professionalism's impact regarding intervention. Two distinct but opposing views have emerged: one sees professionalism as a factor inhibiting intervention; the other, as a stimulant to praetorianism. The first thesis, advanced by Samuel Huntington, stipulates that a professionalized army concentrates all its efforts to perfect its fighting ability and ". . . stands ready to carry out the wishes of any civilian government...." Professionalism, therefore, renders the military into "politically sterile and neutral" servants of the state. 4 The other view advances the theory that professionalism makes the military group-conscious, instilling the ability and the will to intervene, if necessary, in order to protect its corporate interests. These interests include: adequate budgetary support, institutional autonomy, protection against encroachments from rival institutions, and survival and viability of the military as an institution. 5 Interference with corporate interests, in Nordlinger's terms, constitute " ... the most important interventionist motive."6 The history of civil-military relations in Greece seems to bear out the latter position. Since the late 1820s when Greece became a "sovereign" nation, the country has witnessed numerous military coups, both direct and indirect. The intervention of April 21, 1967 was by far the most protracted in terms of time and the most independent in terms of initiative and goals. The 1967 coup and the ensuing seven-year rule stand out as praetorianism undertaken by the newly professionalized and highly autonomous military institution seeking to protect its corporate interests. 7 Past military interventions (with the possible exception of the 1909 coup which resulted in a new elite coming to power) were nothing more than putsches-direct, indirect, or abortive-launched by the military acting as surrogate for a political party andfor the monarchy. From the late 1820s until World War II, professionalization in the Hellenic army, although improved, remained at relatively low levels. The Greek military was characterized by lack of corporate spirit, expertise, and responsibility, all reflecting the country's weak agricultural economy, parochial political culture, and unorganized institutions and social groups. One should also add the role of the Great Powers that managed to penetrate and even dominate Greek politics. Although the Greek military sought and obtained professional advice, training, weapons, and supplies from French, British, and (to a lesser extent) Italian counterparts, these inducements were neither persistent nor massive enough to professionalize and autonomize the services. Thus, while the armed forces intervened on numerous occasions, such coups do not seem to have been stimulated by professional concerns on the military's part. Instead, they reflected the cleavages and ambitions

Beating a Hasty Retreat


of political elites and the corresponding clientalization and weakness of the Greek military. The advent of World War II ushered Greece into a new period: the country was occupied by the Germans; King George II, accompanied by his government and the remnants of the Greek army, fled to the Middle East. While there, the more reactionary elements formed an organization called ENA (Union of Young Officers). They labeled themselves as ethnikophrones (nationally minded) and set out to eliminate their republican counterparts from the armed forces, branding them communists or fellow travelers. The civil war that followed provided IDEA (formerly ENA) the opportunity to dominate the Greek services. So pervasive was this penetration that Brigadier Patakos, one of the leaders of the 1967 coup, asserted that "[IDEA] ... encompassed every officer with the exception of those burdened by incidents of improper execution of their duties." The Greek military became a homogeneous, diehard, right-wing organization no longer " ... reflecting the contradictions of the political society."8 The massive and long continuing American military and economic aid that flowed in through the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan had a decisive impact on the civil war and subsequent developments. Viewing Greece as "merely one aspect of a considerably more elaborate picture involving the future of the Near and Middle East,"9 U.S. policymakers proceeded to provide the right-wing military with sophisticated training, equipment, and support-transforming it into "an independent political force within the country." 10 The professionalization of the Greek military, at long last, became a reality. Even though American aid eventually tapered off, the Greek army continued to enjoy considerable autonomy, and a hefty slice of the country's budget went for defense. This was made possible because the Greek economy was undergoing considerable (albeit dependent) development, marked by investment increases, a rise in per capita output, and significant improvements in production techniques and rates. The armed forces used this newly acquired muscle to maintain right-wing governments, from 1952 on, by engaging in electoral fraud, intimidation, and violence. Unlike previous periods, the armed forces were independent and did not hesitate to conspire against the very government they had helped reelect when they perceived its actions as harmful to their own interests. Civil-military relations in Greece in the post-World War II period fell in the "praetorian guardians" category; the military intervened in order to preserve the status quo. 11 From the early 1950s to 1963, Greece was governed by a parliamentary dictatorship. Behind the ruling political forces of the right stood the palace and particularly the military establishment. But in the early 1960s,


Constantine P. Danopoulos

the ruling coalition came under attack from the rising middle class, those who had not benefited from the economic activity of the past decade, and workers, most of whom lived in the large metropolitan centers of Athens and Salonika. The severely restricted left could only lend its support to the centrist political forces, led by George Papandreou and his son Andreas, who seemed willing to challenge the repressive regime. They demanded democratization of the country's political life, participation in the decision-making process, and a more equitable distribution of wealth. Realizing that these demands would be doomed without a parallel "democratization" in the armed forces, the Papandreous stated their intention to bring the army under the control of the elected civilian authorities. This would mean purging officers belonging to cliques such as IDEA, dismantling paramilitary clans closely aligned with the military, and breaking the armed forces' exclusiveness as a right-wing watertight compartment beyond the bounds of legal state authority. Naturally, the ruling establishment objected and in the ensuing political conflict the fragile political system suffered severe legitimacy deflation. The military perceived this and the strong possibility of a centrist electoral victory in the scheduled May 1967 elections as a direct threat to their institution's supremacy and corporate interests, including diminishing appropriations for defense, and autonomy to manage its internal

affairs. They also saw alleged conspiracies within the military supported by forces loyal to Andreas Papandreou to break the institution's internal unity. All these plus a sluggish economy, social unrest, political instability, and concern about Greece's future role in NATO prompted a band of junior officers to stage a coup, thus sealing Greece's experiment with parliamentary democracy.

A Brief Interlude or a Long Stay? As is common among praetorians, the Greek coup-makers announced at first that their mission was to clean up the mess and return the country to normalcy (presumably civilian rule) at the earliest possible opportunity. But it soon became apparent that the Colonels, as the Greek military rulers became known, prepared for a long stay and sought to strengthen their position as well as their hold on the armed forces. Upon taking over, they immediately imposed martial law, suspended key sections of the constitution, detained scores of suspected citizens, froze all political activity, and took steps to purge the armed forces of officers suspected of insubordination and disloyalty. To this end, the new rulers forced the retirement of some 400 of their senior colleagues, enlarged the army officer corps by adding 800 new slots, and promoted fellow officers closely aligned with the new regime.

Beating a Hasty Retreat


The air force underwent an even greater purge, for it was considered to have the largest number of "centrists" and most educated officers. For example, of the 32 squadron commanders, 29 were forced into early retirement. The same ratio was followed in other ranks. The purification knife also touched the navy, regarded as the most royalist of the three services, as well as the police and the security corps. These personnel changes not only freed the Colonels of undesirable elements within the armed forces, but also opened the gates of promotion and advancement to middle and lower echelon officers who had been complaining about the promotional bottleneck. The military rulers moved in other fronts as well to solidify their rule, and prepare the ground for a sustained military presence in the political affairs of the country. In fact, the junta, as the regime became known, made it plain that they had no intention to disengage before a socio-political structure was in place capable to safeguard the long-range interests of the military institution. To realize this objective, the praetorian rulers befriended many well know shipping tycoons such as Niarchos and Onassis, and sought to gain the support of the conservative business community and the farmers by making available low-interest loans, grants, and other perquisites. In short, an effort was made to institutionalize the role of the military as the key political force in the country's future. Central to a protracted stay in power is the ability of a regime to gain legitimacy, meaning "the capacity ... to develop and maintain a general belief that the existing social order and its main solutions are generally appropriate." 12 Cloaking a regime with a mantle of legitimacy depends on its performance record. Performance denotes the attainment of "those goals and exhibit operating features that are much desired by the population themselves and seen as intrinsically desirable to outside observers." 13 Performance failure leads to "deflation of governmental legitimacy," 14 and an illegitimate or nonlegitimate government "based on brute force alone is not long for this world." 15 Military regimes are no exception to this rule. In their effort to legitimize their rule, the Colonels complemented the measures outlined above with additional ones as well. At the institutional level, such steps included a constitutional framework (1968) with provisions for political parties, an elected parliament, freedom of speech and press, and other civil liberties. However, parts of the constitution pertaining to democratic processes were not to be implemented until the "patient," as the Greek people were regarded, fully recovered. Beneath this facade, the praetorian rulers sought a permanent and pervasive role for the armed forces in the future of the Greek polity. Law No. 58 designed to complement articles 129-132 of the 1968 constitution,


Constantine P. Danopoulos

pertaining to the organization and administration of the armed forces, stated that the military would be administered and led by the commander of the armed forces. Although the government would appoint the commander it lacked the power to dismiss him. The law gave the armed forces chief control over the administrative bureaucracy of the Supreme Council of National Defense and, under special but not clearly delineated circumstances, jurisdiction over bureaus and agencies related to the nation's defense. Finally, the chief of the armed forces would have a decisive voice in matters of budgetary allocations and the power to establish special schools to train personnel for the needs of the defense establishment. These legal arrangements were conceived to elevate the military to the top of the state apparatus and transform the armed forces into the country's "guiding political organization." 16 At social and economic levels, the regime sought to: link its presence with ancient Hellenic values and Christian commands; portray the leader of the regime, Colonel George Papadopoulos, simultaneously as a dynamic visionary, a merciless smasher of the nation's enemies (internal and external), and a compassionate statesman striving to tum Greece into a modem, democratic but disciplined society; and, finally, lay the foundations for progress and prosperity, by bringing about economic development, bureaucratic modernization, educational reform, social harmony, and a "healthy" political life. The regime dubbed these as its modernization objectives. An examination of the regime's capacity to obtain these goals left a lot to be desired. A constitutional framework and appeal to Christian and ancient Hellenic values flew in the face of martial law, torture, arbitrary arrests, and censorship associated with the Colonels' rule. Widespread corruption, greed, and nepotism marked the regime's tenure in office. Suffice to say that the government issued a decree granting couples automatic divorce on grounds of incompatibility which gave Papadopoulos sufficient time to divorce "legally" his estranged wife and to marry his new sweetheart. The decree was rescinded 24 hours later and only the caudillo took advantage of it. For the inexperienced Colonels, bureaucratic modernization meant bureaucratic terror. They installed military officers in each government bureau or agency who acted as watchdogs and as informants rendering the massive and hydrocephalic Greek civil service into an impotent and passive follower. Hierarchical lines were warped, the flow of information severely disrupted, and communications between superordinates and subordinates suffered. Interviews with civil servants confirmed the climate of fear, nepotism, and inertia which prevailed in the country's notoriously mandarin bureaucratic apparatus during the years of military rule. The regime's promise to streamline and reform the civil service did not

Beating a Hasty Retreat


materialize and instead the bureaucracy grew in size and inefficiency. 17 A similar situation prevailed in the nation's educational system where the regime's frequent curriculum changes, dismissal of university professors on political grounds, and failure to provide adequate funding contributed to the undistinguished reputation of Greece's education. In the crucial areas of economic development and social reform, the regime's performance was also less than noteworthy. For example, there was a market slow-down in agricultural production while industrial output fell below the projected levels. The rate of growth of investment in manufacturing declined, agricultural exports fell, the public deficit increased significantly as did tax exemptions for some of the country's more affluent groups. In 1973, the wholesale price index shot up by 48.3 percent, while wages went up by only 16.4 percent. The inflation rate rose from 4.2 percent in 1972 to 15.5 in 1973 and a whopping 26.9 percent in 1974. 18 From 1967 to 1974, the average annual deficit went up from 3.6 of the gross domestic product to 7.4 percent, a figure the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) called "very high by historical standards." 19 Finally, Greece's Agreement of Association with the EEC was frozen until democratic rule was restored. Professor John Pesmatzoglou, a Western trained economist who served as minister of finance in Karamanlis' national-unity government, gave the following account regarding Greece's economy under the junta: The budget presented [by the junta] in November 1973 was a lie. . . . Revenue and expenses were recorded as different than had in reality been calculated. Nine and one half billion drachmas (317 million U.S. dollars) in expenses were not shown in the budget. . . . And these hidden expenses had reached 780 million dollars by the time the junta fell-expenses not shown in the budget. In other words, 30 percent of the total expenditures had not been shown in the budget. There were great deficits in the accounts of the government with the Bank of Greece. . . . The public debt tripled ... [and] debt in foreign currency (money owed abroad) quadrupled in the seven years of the junta's rule. 2o

A more neutral economist summed up the Colonels' economic performance saying that Given the authoritarian nature of the regime and the incompetence of its chief ministers it is not surprising that the period of its rule is replete with "knee-jerk" reactions to economic events, financial scandals and conspicuous public consumption projects. The latter included the collection of public subscription of a large sum of money in order to fulfill, belatedly, an official promise made to God (!) during the Greek Revolution of 1821


Constantine P. Danopoulos

against the Turks to build a huge cathedral if Greece was delivered from its ancient enemy and oppressor. 21 In spite of the pomposity, the "promise" was never fulfilled. Even though the international economic crisis of the early 1970s contributed to these difficulties, the lion's share of the blame lay with the Colonels' inexperience, their arbitrary and heavy-handed decisionmaking style, their lack of flexibility, political sophistication, clear-cut goals, and efficacious policies, and their failure to convince the populace that their regime was worthy of support. Such performance failures rendered the praetorian regime illegitimate in the eyes of the Greek people. The praetorian rulers seemed cognizant of their difficulties. The bankruptcy of these efforts accentuated existing "tendencies" within the highest decision-making organ-the "revolutionary council"-eventually factionalizit\g the once homogenous military establishment. As time went by, these tendencies evolved into three distinct groups who differed regarding the future course of the "revolution," as the 1967 intervention was referred to by the praetorian leaders. The first group, represented by retired Colonel Dimitrios Stamatelopoulos, advocated that the military return to the barracks, leaving politics to the civilians as soon as order was restored and a constitutional framework in place. Although officers subscribing to this view felt that the intervention was necessary to prevent a possible Communist takeover, they believed that the armed forces' role should be limited: a prolonged stay in power would damage the military's foremost mission, the protection of the state. This group was known as "parenthesis closers." The second faction was led by Papadopoulos himself, self-proclaimed "leader of the revolution." While at first advocating a protracted rule, group members gradually favored partial civilianization and the creation of a civilian-military system based on the 1968 constitution. By civilians, of course, they referred to political parties and personalities considered "safe" and likely to support the regime's objectives. Like the first group, they too regarded the "revolution" as a historical necessity, but-unlike the former-perceived the armed forces' role in much broader terms and of a more permanent nature. The third group was by far the most diverse. It was led by such hard-liners as Lieutenant Colonel (later promoted to brigadier) Dimitrios Joannidis and Colonel Ioannis Ladas. In spite of their differences, officers belonging to this group all believed in the indefinite continuation of military rule. Joannidis, leader of the group's largest splinter faction, viewed the "revolution as incomplete," believing that only the political arena had been cleansed while the economic and social structures

Beating a Hasty Retreat


remained intact. Since some of their objectives and rhetoric resembled Gaddafi's (Ubya's strong man), this group became known as the Kadafides. Of the three groups, the first appeared the smallest and was effectively neutralized rather early. The resignation of Colonel Stamatelopoulos from the revolutionary council in 1968 contributed to the demise of its influence. The second and third groups joined forces and dominated the council as long as the former subscribed to the idea of maintaining the regime's military composition-though the hard-liners objected to Papadopoulos' initial and very limited contacts with the "political world" (meaning the politicians) that he initiated in 1970. The strongman sought to neutralize the Kadafides land even the other two members of the triumvirate. He gradually reduced Council meetings, threatened his colleagues with resignation, and eventually elevated both Brigadier Patakos and Colonel Makarezos to the honorific but powerless posts of vice premier. In so doing, Papadopoulos went a long way toward transforming the regime from "corporatist" to "personalistic," as is often the case in military dominated governments. 22 At the same time, Papadopoulos and his supporters became increasingly convinced that legitimation efforts led nowhere. They came to accept that the only way to "save the revolution"-and with it their position and the long-range corporate interests of the military institution-would be to create a civil-military system. Aside from the Kadafides' opposition, another stumbling block loomed in the position of King Constantine. From exile in Rome, in an effort to improve his badly tarnished image resulting from covert political machinations, the monarch insisted that he would not return to his throne, as the 1968 constitution provided, until full political freedoms were restored. Given the unpopularity of the regime, such a move would have been suicidal and the praetorian rulers were not about to take chances. An abortive countercoup, undertaken by a portion of the navy in May 1973 with the king's blessing, rectified the second dilemma. Charging the monarch with conspiracy against the country's "lawful government" and the "revolution," Papadopoulos and his supporters moved to amend the constitution, scrapping the monarchy in favor of a republic. Papadopoulos became president and three months later had himself "elected" to the same post for a six-year term in a contest in which he was the sole candidate. Shortly following his "election," Papadopoulos relaxed martial law, released the majority of political prisoners, and appointed Spyros Markezinis-leader of the pre-1967 tiny Progressive Partyprime minister and charged him responsible for holding parliamentary elections within a year. In this seemingly contradictory arrangement Papadopoulos, as president, remained the all too-powerful figure exercising " ... direct executive


Constantine P. Danopoulos

control over National Defense and Security, Foreign Policy and Public Order. " 23 This signified that the military intended to continue playing a prominent role in Greek political affairs in the years to come. Professor John Pesmatzoglou denounced the new constitution as "not even a step toward democracy and in some ways a step back."24 It was the subordinate role to which civilians would have been relegated that led the overwhelming majority of political leaders to refuse to deal with the Markezinis cabinet. George Mavros, tacitly recognized as the leader of the banned Center Union party, sneered at Markezinis telling a reporter: "If you see Mr. Markezinis, ask him why he does not promise free elections in Pakistan or Chile. He has as much authority there as he does here." 25 As such, the civilian leaders stated their intention to take no part in the promised "electoral contest." For example, Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, head of the last parliamentary cabinet and leader of one of the two major pre-coup parties-the conservative National Radical Unioninformed Markezinis that he "had no intention to alter his negative position toward the regime." Mavros stated that the promised elections ". . . have a single purpose: to legitimize the dictatorship, covering it with a castrated parliament which will not have the power to debate, let alone decide, any of the nation's vital matters." 26 Under the circumstances, the tenuous support rendered by the conservative elements began evaporating. Even the hitherto supportive Wall Street Journal conceded on November 8, 1973 that "the Athenian political and economic pot is [now] boiling in a fashion that has not been seen for many years," and openly suggested that Papadopoulos was "on the run." 27 As might be expected, the Kadafides had more reasons to be displeased with Papadopoulos and led the conspiracy aimed at removing him and his supporters. Joannidis, the most prominent member of the group, was instrumental. In his position as chief of the Military Police (ESA), he maintained close contacts with the CIA and had placed officers loyal to him in key positions. The ripe moment came when students, subsequently joined by workers-taking advantage of Papadopoulos' "liberalization''-rose in revolt. Fearing a general uprising, the Kadafides forced Papadopoulos to reimpose martial law and used the tanks to brutally crush the rebellion. 28 The caudillo's pre-eminence proved more apparent than real. The clampdown totally discredited his civilianization experiment and paved the way for his removal. Charging that he had failed to achieve the goals of the "revolution," the hard-liners toppled Papadopoulos and his government in a bloodless coup on November 25, 1973, replacing the president with General Phaedon Gizikis. Markezinis' post went to Adamantios Androutsopoulos, a weak technocrat with questionable training. The two, however, wielded very little authority. Instead, it was

Beating a Hasty Retreat


Brigadier Joannidis who, though holding no government position, exercised power from his ESA post. Declaring that "the 21st of April revolution continues ... ," the new regime postponed plans for "elections," rearrested political opponents, and abolished the few liberalization steps introduced by Papadopoulos. But after seven years in power, the praetorians' regime remained as unpopular as ever. The deterioration of the economy and the police state established by the military rulers hardly convinced Greeks of the regime's ability and good intentions. Returning to a discredited scheme plagued by compounding economic problems proved a losing proposition. As months went by, the new regime's inability to cope became only too apparent. American Congressional circles concurred. A background report submitted to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in February 1974 concluded: ... the present government cannot long endure. Marked by inexperience, its members appear without the requisite talents or skills for extricating the country from its political and economic chaos. The important question is by whom and how this extrication will take place. 29

The report recommended that the U.S. forgo the deployment of aircraft carriers scheduled to homeport in Greece that summer, and the assignment of a new ambassador free of identification with past American policies. . . . A fresh start is needed by a seasoned political observer who can understand the present events in Greece and advise the President on their consequences for the United States. 30

In other words, as both domestic and foreign observers saw it, the junta had reached an "impasse"-a situation described by Clapham and Philip as a point at which the regime has clearly boxed itself into a comer, in which it can neither create new political institutions itself, nor do deals with existing political groupings . . . 3 1

Back to the Barracks: Forced or Voluntary?

Cognizant of the regime's downward slide (and the potentially harmful effects to the armed forces' long-range professional interests), Joannidis and his co-conspirators attempted to precipitate a national crisis; they were banking on the notion that an externally emanating threat would lead the people to close ranks behind the leadership to save the nation.


Constantine P. Danopoulos

The Cyprus problem, a bone of contention between Greece and Turkey, remained unsolved. Given the immense amount of national pride behind it and the agelong animosity between Greeks and Turks, the Cyprus quagmire seemed the most logical crisis candidate. The puritanical Joannidis and his supporters found the Cyprus issue as a good candidate for additional reasons. Having served in Cyprus, the were contemptuous of the Cypriots' life-style and disapproved of the legal status that the Communist party (AKEL) enjoyed. Like its civilian counterpart, the military felt the Cypriots must follow the decisions of the Ethnikon . Kentron (National Center), meaning Athens, regarding questions of national policy. Moreover, the Colonels felt that the Cyprus problem was a "bleeding ulcer" damaging Greece's relationship with NATO. They also believed that liquidating Archbishop Makarios would not meet with American opposition. The Archbishop's removal would pave the way for partition which would have been sold domestically as enosis (union with Greece) with minor adjustments, while Turkey would accept anyone as Makarios' replacement. The new rulers lost very little time. On July 15, 1974 the Cypriot National Guard supported by Greek military officers stationed on the island overthrew the president of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios, and replaced him with Nicos Sampson. Though the coup intended to physically exterminate Makarios, the wily archbishop survived, fled abroad and told the world of the "barbaric" and impotent Colonels. Viewing this as a violation of the Treaty of Guarantee (a 1959-1960 agreement between the two countries and Britain which established the "independent" Cypriot republic), and a good excuse to settle the Cyprus issue once and for all, Turkey invaded the island by force a week later. Suddenly, instead of becoming a "rallying around the flag" movement, as the praetorian leaders had hoped, the overthrow of Makarios precipitated a warlike situation with Turkey. Joannidis and his colleagues responded by mobilizing the reserves and prepared for war. However, the chaotic way in which mobilization was organized, along with unpreparedness to put the reserves into combat; ineptness to prevent Turkish advances on Cyprus; and the diplomatic isolation Greece suffered resulting from the coup against Makarios prompted officers who had maintained a cool but tolerant attitude toward the Joannidis regime to take the initiative. On July 22, 250 officers (ranking from sub-lieutenant to brigadier) serving in the Third Army Corps stationed in Salonika, signed a declaration demanding "the immediate formation of a Council on National Salvation," to consist of military and political leaders including ex-King Constantine and former Prime Minister Karamanlis. This council, the declaration continued, "should elect Mr. Constantine Karamanlis, who commands the support of the public and the military,

Beating a Hasty Retreat


as its president with authority equivalent to a head of state and prime minister" to handle the crisis and ". . . to proceed with the conduct of free elections within six months." 32 Similar rumblings surfaced in other military garrisons as well. The commander of the Third Army Corps, General Joannis Davos, who apparently had never been a warm Joannidis supporter, embraced his lieutenants' stand and communicated this to President General Gizikis; the commander of the armed forces, General Bonanos; and the heads of the three services (army, navy, and air force), who were Joannidis appointees. The generals shared at least some of the concerns of their junior officers. Fearing an internal revolt from within the ranks, feeling the contempt of the general public, and strengthened by the reinstatement of the regular hierarchy of command as a result of the reserves' mobilization, the hitherto docile commanders and President General Gizikis were forced to take steps designed to enable the political leadership to assume control of the nation's affairs. After being informed of the military leaders' decision, Joannidis indicated his disagreement. He gave the impression that the rug had been pulled from under him, but agreed to do nothing to obstruct the transfer of power. Within hours political leaders representing the center and right wings of the Greek political spectrum arrived and were told that the nation's fate was in their hands: they should not leave the room before a new government was sworn in. The political leaders refused a request by President Gizikis to allow the ministries of defense, public order, and internal affairs to remain in the hands of the military. Instead, they sought to determine whether Joannidis approved the military leaders' proposal, and if the commanders exercised full control over the armed forces. The commanders answered in the affirmative, and the formal transfer of power was only hours away. Actually, a civilian cabinet would have been sworn in sooner except for a last-minute decision to invite former Prime Minister Kar- . amanlis to lead the new government. Karamanlis arrived late that night and was sworn in before dawn on July 24, 1974 as head of a national unity cabinet. After more than seven years of praetorian rule, Greece's fate was once again in the hands of the civilians. Was the bad handling of the Cyprus issue the sole factor that brought down the junta? Undoubtedly the Cyprus disaster impacted heavily in that it totally discredited the military regime in the eyes of the public and rendered it open to the charge of failing to protect the national interests and the territorial integrity of the nation. The cataclysmic outcome of the Cyprus affair was the straw that broke the camel's backa camel that was already burdened by an ailing economy, corruption, lack of direction, and failure to solve Greece's political and social problems.


Constantine P. Danopoulos

Cyprus, then, hastened the inevitable by acting as a catalyst on the two forces capable of exerting sufficient pressure on Joannidis and his colleagues to leave the levers of political authority and return to the barracks: the military themselves and the United States.

The Military as a Factor By virtue of their profession, the military are in the most advantageous position to bring down a government, including one manned by fellow officers. A palace coup or countercoup occurs when the military, or a portion of it, conclude that their colleagues in mufti have failed in their mission and no longer enjoy the confidence of the armed forces or a well placed faction within the military establishment. The latter, at least partly, was responsible for the withdrawal of the Greek praetorian regime in July 1974. Direct political authority factionalized the once homogeneous Hellenic armed forces. The fall of Papadopoulos and the rise of the hard-liners did not signify the demise of his faction nor that of the other group, the parenthesis closers. Even if it wanted to, the Joannidis group had neither the time nor the resources to purge the armed forces. Disagreements over the future role of the armed forces in the political affairs of Greece among the three factions were elevated to open hostility after the November 1973 "palace coup." Officers belonging to the Papadopoulos or the more moderate faction became aware that Joannidis' rhetoric to revamp the "revolution" was leading nowhere and that the regime had lost the support of all sectors of the Greek society. In their minds and those of neutral officers, Papadopoulos' unsuccessful civilianization efforts re-established the old civilian leadership, or at least a portion of it, as an alternative to military rule. And as Adam Przeworski argues, a regime does not collapse until there is a real alternative available. 33 Similar but stronger feelings ran through the navy and air force, neither of which had taken active roles in the 1967 intervention and the seven-year rule that followed. Instead, the eptaetia was, almost exclusively, the affair of the army, led by a small band of conspiratorial officers. The other two services tolerated the Colonels' regime, but apparently never harbored any warm feelings toward it. The ill-fated uprising by a portion of the navy in 1973 can be seen in that light. The fiasco over Cyprus strengthened and galvanized these sentiments. To many officers in all three services, the outcome of the Cyprus policy totally discredited the praetorian regime, led to Greece's diplomatic isolation, and exposed the military's inability to carry out its professional mission of protecting the nation's physical and moral integrity, and brought home the possibility that in an ensuing popular uprising they

Beating a Hasty Retreat


could find themselves firing against their own brothers and sisters to preserve a failed regime. Seven years before the military had attacked the politicians for having driven the country to the brink of civil fratricide; this time the blame would lie squarely on the shoulders of the military, and many officers were not quite prepared to accept such culpability. To them, the politicians may not have succeeded in uniting Cyprus to mother Greece, but that was an infinitely smaller sin than seeing a section of the island fall into Turkish hands while they stood by idle and unable to prevent it. It was a bitter pill to swallow and a stimulus that awakened the consciousness of many fellow officers and forced the hand of their superiors to take steps aimed at restoring civilian rule. The Cyprus debacle caused many navy and air force officers to demand the replacement of the Joannidis regime for another reason: the nature of Greece's geographic composition and Cyprus' distance from the mainland meant that a war with Turkey would be fought in the sea, air, and Cypriot soil and these two services, more than the army, would bear the brunt of the fighting. Under such circumstances, tolerating decisions made by the army-dominated regime was no longer acceptable to many air force officers, and their commanders were quite conscious of this. It was no accident that the heads of the air force and the navy took the lead in the fateful July 23 meeting to inform General Joannidis of the armed forces' intention to return the reins of government to the political leadership.34 The general mobilization ordered by the military rulers to prepare for war against Turkey played a part as well. With reserve officers and civilians joining the armed forces-many of whom undoubtedly opposed the regime-resistance to withdrawal on the part of the hard-liners was a risky proposition. Mobilization swelled the ranks of officers who favored withdrawal and the return of the political leadership to save the country from the perils bestowed by the junta's recklessness. Finally, the November 1973 student uprising openly revealed to many officers the unpopularity of the military regime and suggested that the Greek people were capable and perhaps even willing to rise up against it. The possibility of conflict, pitting the armed forces against the civilian population and the immediate as well as long-term implications for the armed forces and the country in general, frightened many officers. One can, therefore, argue that the withdrawal of the Greek military began immediately following the November 1973 palace coup, except disgruntled officers did not have the time and the proper stimulus to bring it to completion. In sum, both professional as well as performance failures forced the Hellenic armed forces to return to the barracks and allow for the return of civilian rule in their country.


Constantine P. Danopoulos

The United States as a Factor The introduction of American military and economic aid transformed the Greek military into the most potent political force in the country, and provided the basis for a sophisticated mechanism that "penetrated the Greek military and political policy-making process," encompassing such areas as trade, shipping, taxation, currency, and budget allocations. 35 Greece became one of the CIA's "most important operations centers" for intelligence gathering in the Mediterranean, with the majority of the agency's operatives housed in the same building used by the Greek armed forces. 36 This rather close link prompted many. observers to conclude that the Colonels' dictatorship was instigated and directed by the United States, with the CIA playing a prominent role. As evidence they cite the fact that Papadopoulos and some of his closest collaborators had been on the CIA's payroll throughout the 1960s and 1970s.37 While such charges can neither be proved nor disproved, since relevant documents are still classified, there is little question that "the regime's main external prop was undoubtedly the United States."38 For America and NATO a friendly government in Athens was seen as vital to the strategic interests of the Western alliance. The rapid build-up of Soviet naval presence in the Mediterranean, coupled with the ongoing ArabIsraeli conflict and America's commitment to protect Israel made the "Pentagon particularly anxious to maintain good relations with Greece so as to continue to enjoy base facilities . . . " there. President Nixon made this plain in January 1972 when he stated that the defense of Israel was a primary concern of the United States and a friendly government in Athens would be of utmost importance toward the fulfillment of this goal.3 9 In addition, a friendly regime in Athens would serve Western needs in other areas as well. It appears that as early as 1963, American policy makers had concluded that an attack against Greece from the north (i.e., Bulgaria and the Soviet Union) was no longer a realistic possibility. Instead, given the differences over Cyprus, a war between Greece and Turkey-both members of NATO-was by far more likely. American security managers deemed such a conflict detrimental to the interest of the Atlantic alliance, and at the same time, considered Turkey strategically more important than Greece. Accordingly, it was decided that, given Greece's limited resources, the country could only serve as a base of operations and an alternative (in case Turkey becomes too recalcitrant), but not a military power capable of playing a major role in and EastWest confrontation in the area. The United States and NATO exerted considerable pressure on both countries, and especially Greece, to solve the Cyprus problem through bilateral negotiations-something the Mak-

Beating a Hasty Retreat


arios government of Cyprus consistently rejected. But to reduce chances of confrontation between the two countries, American policy makers in the early to mid 1960s brought pressure to bear on successive Greek civilian governments to reduce the country's offensive military capabilities. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara sought to allay objections voiced by Greek leaders saying that ". . . the military mission of the Sixth Fleet is to intervene in cases of local war.... The United States is in a position to intervene rapidly with the air force ... [and] the United States has always honored its words." 40 In spite of such categorical assurances, Greek governments were not fully convinced and refused to comply. However, when the Colonels came to power, having no "other place to go except the United States," eventually "agreed to most of the American suggestions." 41 By 1972, a "Home Port" agreement was in place providing permanent anchor facilities for the Sixth Fleet. Referring to this agreement, Christianos Xanthopoulos-Palamas, a career diplomat who served as undersecretary for foreign affairs during much of the junta's rule, wrote in his memoirs that he had objected to the agreement on the grounds that it undermined Greek sovereignty, and that it was drawn up between U.S. representatives and the Greek military and without consultation with professionals in the foreign ministry. Though self-serving, Palamas' statement is quite revealing: The American base at Hellenikon, located at a spot near the heart of Athens, was in substance part of the U.S. territory. Greek sovereignty had fallen into a deep slumber. And at the gate of this facility there was the U. S. military guard and the U.S. flag. But no Greek flag, and no Greek guard. 42

The U.S. rewarded the junta's "good behavior" by providing abundant political support. American officials, including Vice-President Spiro Agnew, streamed to Athens and voiced support and even admiration for the praetorian rulers. Maurice Stans, Commerce secretary in the Nixon administration, on an official visit in 1971 conveyed the President's "warmest love" for the Greek government-a statement the United States Embassy in Athens subsequently "clarified" to "warmth and confidence." When the U.S. Congress voted to suspend military aid to Greece, President Nixon quickly restored it taking advantage of a clause in the law allowing the President to do so if he considered it essential to the strategic interests of the United States. Assistant Secretary of State Rodger Davies, who later on served as U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus during the 1974 crisis, explained the American position toward Greece before a Congressional committee in 1971 saying:


Constantine P. Danopoulos

We disagree with the political system which prevails in Greece and consider return to parliamentary rule essential. . . . At the same time we must preserve our strategic interests in Greece as a valuable geographic area in the critical part of the Eastern Mediterranean region. 43 Many in the U.S. Congress expressed disapproval of this policy. A background report prepared for use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives described American posture toward the Colonels as "faulty" and "unfortunate." Written in 1974, the report stated: The role of the United States in post 1967 Greece is a classic example of the consequences of military predominance in American Foreign policy. . . . When events forced a choice between either ignoring political developments like the illegal seizure of power in 1967 or risking a loss of our military presence, the military side won. 44 In spite of congressional objections and in the face of repeated warnings by certain State Department circles that the Colonels' plans to exterminate Archbishop Makarios would lead to disaster, U.S. policy-makers supported the junta almost to the end. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger quietly hoped that the military rulers would succeed in liquidating the "red priest" and thus pave the way to solve the Cyprus problem which he regarded as "a bleeding ulcer" for the Atlantic alliance that had to be eradicated. 45 Dismissing the concerns of his subordinates, by referring to them as "cry-babies" and "boys crying wolf all the time," Kissinger instructed U.S. Ambassador to Greece Henry Taska "not to meddle in intra-Greek junta affairs." 46 When Joannidis and his co-conspirators moved against Makarios on July 15, 1974 with the avowed purpose of killing the charismatic Cypriot leader, to everyone's dismay the State Department claimed that ". . . there was no outside (Greek mainland) intervention in Cyprus," and appeared ready to recognize the newly installed Sampson "government" in Nicosia.4 7 Hearing that Makarios had escaped unharmed, a high U.S. official remarked: "How inconvenient."48 Viewing the overthrow of Makarios as a violation of the Treaty of Guarantee and, in the words of a Turkish diplomat, an "opportunity to solve our problems once and for all," 49 Turkey charged that the overthrow of Makarios represented a takeover by Greece in violation of the independent status of the island republic. Prime Minister Biilent Ecevit stated that Turkey would " . . . never accept any fait accompli of any kind." 50 Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Sisco was dispatched to the area to diffuse the crisis, but with nothing more than "a virtually empty

Beating a Hasty Retreat


attache case, a smile, and a shoeshine."51 Seeing this as an opportunity to establish Turkey's independence vis-a-vis the U.S., and improve his political fortunes, Ecevit brushed aside Sisco's pleas for restraint telling the American envoy: "We have done it your way for ten years. Now we are going to try it our way." 52 Ecevit's hand was also forced by his country's military leaders. Admiral Karacan reportedly told Ecevit four days after the coup against Makarios: "Mr. Prime Minister, if we tum back from Cyprus as before I won't be able to remain naval commanderin-chief and you won't be able to remain Prime Minister."53 The Turkish forces invaded Cyprus on July 20th, eventually occupying 40 percent of the island. In an effort to manage the crisis, Sisco frantically shuttled between Athens and Ankara, only to find that the Greek government had evaporated. Describing the Joannidis government as "the goddamnest government I have ever had to deal with," 54 Sisco managed to obtain a temporary cessation of hostilities in Cyprus on July 20th, 1974, to be followed by a conference in Geneva. These arrangements were made with Admiral Arapakis who falsely claimed to speak for the Ioannidis regime whose members were nowhere to be found. In the light of these developments, Kissinger and his colleagues decided that the junta had outlived its usefulness. Further support for a government that had lost every inch of credibility was useless, if not outright dangerous. The Greek public was angry, the nation's military uneasy, and anti-Americanism was running high. The Greeks blamed the U.S. for instigating and supporting the dictatorship and held Washington responsible for the melancholy in Cyprus. Whether the U.S. simply dismissed Joannidis, as some have argued, is difficult to ascertain. At a minimum, Washington did not try to rescue the Joannidis regime and, in fact, may have encouraged disgruntled officers to move against the flagging junta. American officials had been privy to the ferment that was taking place within the Greek military following the coup against Makarios, and seemed to have done nothing to neutralize it. Secretary Kissinger himself openly suggested on July 23 that Greece was undergoing a governmental change, even before any announcement was made in Athens. 55 In light of the influence the U.S. exerted on the Greek military it is hard to believe that Washington did not play a role in the decision of the armed forces to withdraw and make room for a civilian government. After all, the U.S. played a role in dismissing Papadopoulos when the latter felt strong enough to refuse American cargo planes to use Greece as a refueling station en route to Israel during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Admiral Arapakis in a report to Prime Minister Karamanlis wrote that a month before the November 25 palace coup, Ioannidis visited him in his office and said

Constantine P. Danopoulos


"that the Americans suggest that I overthrow Papadopoulos."56 The simultaneous collapse of the Joannidis regime and the resignation of Sampson in Nicosia are further evidence suggesting that an outside hand had something to do with these developments. American, Turkish, and Greek sources have confirmed that Secretary Kissinger engaged in high-wire diplomacy in the final days leading to the collapse of the praetorian regime in Athens and the assumption of power by the civilian leadership. In sum, the withdrawal of the Greek military from the levers of authority was caused by its performance failures which prevented them from cloaking its rule with a mantle of legitimacy. Such failures led many officers to conclude that staying in power was neither in the best interests of the country nor the long-range corporate goals of the military institution. At the end, even the U.S. concluded that the regime's operating features were no longer intrinsically desirable to the strategic interests of the Atlantic alliance. Thus, it was a constellation of forces which prevailed upon the majority of the Greek military to relinquish direct political power and not an act of free will on their part. For the hardliners, at least in part, withdrawal may have been seen as a tactical maneuver to pull back temporarily, let the civilians drown in the mass of problems, then charge them with incompetence and corruption, and return to power as saviors of the country absolved of all their past sins. Evidence of this thinking surfaced months later, on August 11; when ordered by the new prime minister to remove all tank units from the Athens region, Generals Bonanos and Galatsanos, both Joannidis appointees, "balked and insisted that these units remain in place for the defense of Athens." 57 They finally agreed when other officers supported the prime minister's position and when Karamanlis threatened to go public. The Transition Interlude

The first and most pressing problem facing the civilian regime was the Cyprus quagmire. The government accepted the cease-fire worked out through British and American efforts and proceeded to dispatch Foreign Minister George Mavros to Geneva for negotiations. Turkey's demands, presented in the form of an ultimatum by its foreign minister during the second round of talks in August, were considered too excessive for the Greek government to accept. Nonetheless, Mavros asked for a 36-hour recess to consult with Athens, which his Turkish counterpart rejected. Phase two of the invasion was underway resulting in the occupation of an even greater part of the island by Turkish forces.

Beating a Hasty Retreat


Militarily weak, the new Greek government could do little to stop the Turkish advance. Aside from normal protests, the Greek government registered its indignation by seceding from the military wing of NATO on grounds that the Alliance was unable to guarantee a member's security when threatened by another member. Anti-NATO and anti-American sentiments ran so high in the period following the restoration of democracy that government members, including the prime minister, were forced to state that the country's withdrawal from the Atlantic alliance should be considered permanent or, at least, until all occupation troops left Cyprus. Unable to evict the Turks by force, the Karamanlis government moved to improve the armed forces' state of preparedness to curb possible Turkish designs for further expansion; it also sought to effect a diplomatic solution to the Cyprus problem, without much success. At this writing these two policies remain in effect. On the domestic front, the Karamanlis government moved swiftly to consolidate its shaky position. Some important moves included: scrapping the 1968 constitution and replacing it on an interim basis with the 1952 one; dismissing the most conspicuous pro-junta civil servants; suspending emergency measures, including restrictions on the press, speech, and other civil liberties; and legalizing the Communist party, outlawed since the civil war. In addition, steps were taken to improve the economy, reinstate citizenship taken away by the military rules, and reinstall university professors fired for their opposition to the junta. Finally, the new government led the country to the polls for the first freely contested election in more than a decade. The electoral contest on November 17, 1974 held less than four months following the transfer of powercoupled with the fact that the great bulk of the Greeks perceived Karamanlis as the country's savior in time of peril-gave the Prime Minister and his conservative New Democracy party (formerly the National Radical Union) a tentative but nonetheless genuine majority: 54.4 percent of the vote. Three weeks later a plebiscite was held to decide the future of the monarchy. The results were devastating for the royal family-in exile since December 1967; Greece was declared a republic-a status formalized by the Gaullist-modeled 1975 constitution rammed through Parliament a few months later. How did the military, and the Joannidis faction in particular, react to these developments? Generally speaking, the bulk of the Greek armed forces accepted disengagement with some degree of satisfaction. Although a number of officers benefited economically during the years of military rule, the professional image of the military was tarnished primarily because of the regime's harsh treatment of dissidents. Military rule became associated with brutality and torture; the international community moved to condemn the Colonels' barbarism. Moreover, corruption, ne-


Constantine P. Danopoulos

potism, and double standards also characterized the regime's tenure. These problems-coupled with the nation's serious economic difficulties from 1971 on, and finally, the Cyprus debacle-stained the military's image even more. Consequently, it is fair to conclude that many officers saw disengagement from politics and a return to the military's main mission-protection of the nation against external dangers-as the only way to preserve the long-range professional interests of the armed forces. The Karamanlis cabinet took steps to reassure the military. Fearful that an outright purge would weaken the armed forces at a time when the country faced a threat from the east (Turkey), andfor produce a backlash from within the services, the government replaced the upper crust of the military leadership, dramatically increased budgetary appropriations for defense, and announced that "the careers of army officers shall be judged by their future behavior, not the past."58 Resisting pressure from political groups and the press to purge the armed forces and the civil service of junta supporters (apohountopiisis) and to prosecute the leaders of the dictatorship, Karamanlis contended that "the question of apohountopiisis in the armed forces and other areas of public life would have to await a government legitimized through elections."59 Even though the government eventually acceded and prosecuted the ringleaders (including Joannidis), "little action was taken against the hard core of officers who had been committed supporters of the dictatorship and who remained on active service."60 In spite of its public pronouncements, however, the government apparently intended eventually to rid the military of the Kadafides and other unyielding supporters of the junta. Pressure regarding this matter reached new heights on February 7, 1975 when 136 deputies from Karamanlis' own party, the New Democracy, ". . . tabled a draft bill for the immediate reinstatement of all officers dismissed by the junta, and restoration of democratic order within the armed forces." 61 Less than a month later, the government responded by introducing a law (unanimously approved by Parliament) designed to " ... speed up the procedures and to order the review of all military officers, regardless of qualifications. "62 In addition to political pressure, the government's decision to alter its previous position and move decisively against the hard-liners at this juncture appears prompted by increased confidence in its standing in the armed forces, and/or urgency created as a result of a plot-uncovered and foiled by the government on February 24, 1975-by officers loyal to Joannidis. It is said that the latter directed the unsuccessful putsch from prison, managing ". . . to pass on instructions to his supporters. " 63 Announcing the foiled conspiracy a few days later, Defense Minister Evangelos Averoff stated: ". . . that the plot involved foolish moves by

Beating a Hasty Retreat


a few unrepenting officers linked with the dictatorial leaders.... " 64 As it turned out, this abortive conspiracy was the fourth such attempt undertaken since the military decided to relinquish power in July 1974. Two theories seem to explain the causes and goals of the conspiracies. The first viewed the aims of the would-be coup makers as limited in scope. As some officers argued, the plotters sought to bring pressure on the government to: grant general amnesty to all officers associated with the seven-year rule, including the top leaders; undertake no recrimination in the form of dismissals and purges against the armed forces; slow down or even reverse liberalization efforts, including legalization of the Communist party; and take steps to assure the prestige and well-being of the officer corps. The second version saw all four abortive plots as a last-ditch effort by the Kadafides to regain power by replacing the civilian regime with ". . . a military government" which would " ... follow a nationalist and anti-communist policy similar to the ideology of Colonel Gaddafi. . . .'' 65 Although it may never be established with any degree of certainty as to which of the two postulations comes closer to the truth, available evidence suggests that the plotters sought to return a praetorian government. Defense Minister Averoff related to C. L. Sulzberger that 500 officers were cashiered and 600 to 800 others were transferred to other posts. 66 These figures indicate that the number of officers involved was considerably higher than the "minimal faction" of less than 100 reported by the government initially. 67 In addition, Prime Minister Karamanlis, attempting to answer opposition criticism that failure to remove these officers earlier had encouraged the plotting, revealed that he had been targeted for assassination. "I want you to know," said Karamanlis, "that of all persons I am the most exposed to the wrath of the junta. And I repeatedly had to face the problems of personal security since I took over.''68 Later he revealed to a correspondent of the London Sunday Times that "for 20 nights I slept in a caique (boat) to avoid assassination. They tried to kill me several times.'' 69 Thus, the extent of the purge and the plotters' aim to physically liquidate Karamanlis-regarded by the military as the most acceptable political figure-lend credence to the thesis that the aborted conspiracies were directed by Joannidis and his fellow Kadafides to reverse the voluntary withdrawal and to seize power again. Unlike the successful April 1967 coup, the later would-be praetorians failed for several reasons. Whereas in 1967 the military either overwhelmingly supported the coup and its objectives (as in the case of army officers) or displayed a willingness to accept it as a fait accomplias seen among air force and navy officers-the post-July 1974 "castrated" officer corps harbored different feelings. As shown earlier, the majority of the military greeted disengagement with a sense of relief; they perceived


Constantine P. Danopoulos

it as the only way to safeguard the future corporate interest of their institution. The bums were still too fresh for a replay of 1967. Besides, the military could no longer blame the country's problems on the political leadership, as in 1967. If anything, the military in the period following disengagement was seen as the villain responsible for the nation's ills. 70 Finally, seven years at the levers of political power factionalized the once monolithic Greek military. IDEA, the medium of communication and unity in the pre-1967 period, became atrophied and ineffective soon after the military controlled the political processes of the Greek state. In sum, these conditions and realities deprived the 1974-75 wouldbe praetorians of the proper environment necessary for a successful comeback. In the Barracks to Stay, or More of the Same? The abortive February plot and the limited purge of the armed forces that followed marked the end of the transition period from military to civilian rule. Since then Greece has acquired a new constitution, has had two presidential successions, gone through three successful parliamentary elections, re-entered NATO, and became a member of the European Economic Community (EEC). The citizenry enjoys freedom of speech, press, assembly, and other civil liberties to a degree without precedent in the history of modem Greece. Political parties, including the two Communist parties, compete vigorously, and organized labor and other interest groups are no longer timid and docile followers as in previous eras. In other words, the military has withdrawn and the nation displays all the necessary elements of a political democracy, i.e., secret balloting, universal adult suffrage, regular elections, partisan competition, associational recognition and access, and executive accountability-referred to by O'Donnell and Schmitter as "procedural minimum." 71 Did the failures of the eptaetia and the re-establishment of civilian rule signify that a new era of civil-military relations has dawned on Greece, characterized by sustained civilian supremacy over the military? Huntington suggests that there are two types of civilian control: subjective and objective. Subjective control exists when the ruling civilian group uses the military to fulfill its aims; and control is accomplished through the use of "instrumental slogans" exulting the supremacy of "particular governmental institutions, particular social classes, and particular constitutional forms." Subjective control then is based on the "identity of thought and outlook between the civilian and military groups." Objective control, on the other hand, denotes depoliticizing or "militarizing" the military. This can be accomplished by a clear delineation between political

Beating a Hasty Retreat


and military roles creating for the military a climate "most conducive" for the development of esprit de corps, and devotion to strictly militaryrelated matters and preparedness, thus "making them the tool of the state." Objective control, Huntington concludes, depends on the degree of authority and influence civilians exert as well as the "compatibility of the professional military ethic with the political ideologies prevailing in society." 72 New Democracy cabinets sought to control the Greek military through subjective means. The pre-1967 ideological identity between the armed forces and the conservative political forces became the basis upon which the KaramanlisfRallis governments based civilian supremacy. Considerable emphasis was attached to Greece's ties with the West and the sanctity of democratic institutions. Evangelos Averoff, who held the defense portfolio throughout the conservatives' stay in office (18741981), boasted: "I brainwashed them (military) extensively on the merit of democracy. I think there is not a single officer in the front of whom I did not speak personally at least three times." 73 At the same time, Karamanlis and his associates punished the military by trying and jailing the ring leaders, but rushed to commute the death sentences of th4e junta leaders recommended by the special tribunal appointed to bring to justice those responsible for the 1967 coup d'etat. Moreover, the new government stopped short of an outright purge, increased defense appropriations, and decided to maintain the special benefits accorded to military officers, such as generous retirement allowances, medical care, and housing. The armed forces were allowed to maintain and operate one of the nation's two television and radio channels and nothing was done to alter the heavily pro-NATO and extremely anti-communist curriculum of the service academies. Unking Greece with the EEC, Karamanlis and his colleagues hoped that the principle of civilian rule, so ingrained among West European officers, would militate against possible interventionist proclivities on the part of the Greek military. Finally, the 1975 constitutional framework, following the 1952 one, also gives the armed forces a niche to play a role in politics by allowing them in emergency situations to assume direct responsibility in policy making, without again concretely defining an "emergency." One can say that the conservatives sought civilian control over the nations' military by maximizing their power over them within the framework of their brand of liberal democracy, but not necessarily admonishing the armed forces to obey the commands of other political groups with ideologies different than New Democracy's. In short, the conservatives managed to exert more control over the military in the post disengagement period than they did in the pre-intervention era because of the humiliating experience of the military as political governors, the changing political


Constantine P. Danopoulos

climate in the country, as well as a new attitude in Washington not to see the armed forces as the only guardian against communist intrusions in Greece. Thus, when the Socialist party (PASOK) of Andreas Papandreou rose to power by winning the October 1981 elections, a significant segment of the Greek public felt uneasy as to the intentions of the armed forces. Papandreou blamed the eptaetia and the loss of Cyprus on the long arm of American capitalism and advocated a far reaching reform program which included democratization of the society and the armed forces, a more equitable distribution of wealth, educational modernization, a more independent foreign policy, expulsion of American bases from Greek soil, and eventual withdrawal from NATO and the EEC. In other words, Papandreou's reform pronouncements seemed to challenge the very framework which supported the Greek military's values, corporate interests, and social standing. Would the military then stand idle and allow Papandreou and his associates to carry out their reform measures, or would they step in again as they had done in 1967? Would the Socialists purge the armed forces in an effort to stave off a backlash by disgruntled officers? Both sides adopted a cautious attitude. Still reeling from the humiliating experiences, the military did nothing to prevent the ascent of the Socialists. Papandreou and his associates, too, displayed their concern and abandoned the more "radical" elements of their program. For example, in spite of some initial statements to the contrary, Greece remained in NATO and the EEC, though with a more pronounced tendency to take an independent line and often disagree with her partners on certain issues such as refusing to support Western sanctions against Poland and Libya, and to condemn the Soviet Union over the downing of a Korean airliner in 1983. Prime Minister Papandreou stated in January 1987 that continuing Greco-Turkish disputes make Greece's withdrawal from NATO strategically disadvantageous. He also declared that quitting the EEC is no longer in the country's economic interests. His government signed an agreement with the U.S. in 1983 allowing American bases on Greek soil to remain in place until December 1988. And in spite of Papandreou's occasional criticism against the United States (mainly for domestic political consumption) the relations between the two countries have steadily improved in the last three years. Foreign Minister Carolos Papoulias officially visited Washington in January 1987 and repeatedly affirmed Papandreou's declaration that U.S.-Greek relations are moving toward "calmer waters"-an observations strongly echoed by Secretary of State George Shultz. There is little doubt that an agreement to extend the presence of the bases will be signed before the present one expires.

Beating a Hasty Retreat


With respect to Greco-Turkish relations, the Papandreou government maintained the major tenets of its predecessor but sharpened the focus by refusing to negotiate with Turkey while the latter continued to make demands that potentially challenged Greece's sovereignty over the Aegean islands, and refused to withdraw her troops from Cyprus. Under Papandreou, Greece adopted a more visible profile in foreign policy and sought to build on the initiatives undertaken by its conservative predecessors designed to improve Greece's ties with China, the Soviet Union, and other Eastern bloc countries. In collaboration with Argentina, Mexico, Tanzania, India, and Sweden the Papandreou government has been vigorously promoting the idea of a nuclear-free world. PASOK has pursued reform at home as well. Civil marriage has been legalized as have equality of the sexes and divorce on the grounds of mutual consent. The role of the resistance was recognized, and Greeks who had fled to Eastern bloc countries following the defeat of the left in 1949 have been allowed to repatriate. The educational system has been reformed, and the PASOK government recently introduced legislation aimed at expropriating vast tracts of land controlled by the Greek Orthodox Church. In its handling of the military, the Papandreou government has maintained most of the subjective control tenets introduced by the KaramanlisfRallis cabinets, though it moved to strip the military's control of the radio and television stations and introduced other cosmetic reforms such as allowing recruits to wear long hair. But the PASOK government has sought to make advances to bring about control through objective means. The government reformed the curriculum of the service academies doing away with the stringent anti-Communist propaganda, promoting instead the values of pluralism and ideological diversity. Advancement criteria now emphasize merit and achievement which have made possible the appointment of two consecutive naval officers and subsequently an air force officer to the sensitive post of chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, a position almost exclusively held by an army general since World War II. Prime Minister Papandreou himself took over the sensitive defense portfolio and vigorously promoted the depoliticization of the armed forces. The charismatic leader of PASOK repeatedly stated that "every Greek citizen has the right to his personal political opinion, but it is dangerous and impermissible for politics to intrude into the armed forces, who have only one mission: the sacred task of defending the nation." 74 The Prime Minister and his government have desperately tried to diversify the nation's sources of arms procurement and to develop a domestic war industry, and continue to praise the armed forces' devotion to pluralism and the democratic process, dubbing the eptaetia as an aberration undertaken by a handful of recalcitrant officers who did not represent the majority of the law-abiding officer corps.


Constantine P. Danopoulos

In spite of initial apprehensions to the contrary, the armed forces have responded favorably to Papandreou's depoliticization measures. Although two known coup attempts have been registered by some disgruntled elements (the first on May 31, 1982 and the second on February 28, 1983), the Greek military appears prepared to obey the commands of the lawful government. In fact, the armed forces did not react at all when Papandreou and his party decided not to support the re-election of Karamanlis for a second term as President of the Republic. Karamanlis, as mentioned, was highly regarded by the military and it was he to whom the military turned to assume the governing of the country in the wake of the Cyprus debacle in 1974. The military also accepted with no protest amendments to the constitution which substantially reduced the authority of the President and correspondingly strengthened the power of the government and Parliament. The withdrawal of the Greek military in 1974 not only led to civilian rule but also brought about, for the first time in Greece's postwar history, governmental control of the military. How did post-junta governments accomplish what had eluded their pre-intervention counterparts? Eric Nordlinger argues that civilian rule in societies that have experienced praetorian rule depends on the lessons both civilians and military elites derived and their future actions. 75 Although agreeing with Nordlinger's basic premise, Claude Welch is generally pessimistic and concludes that the concept of civilian rule depends more on the latter than the former. 76 In the case of Greece both civilians and the military have contributed in maintaining democratic governance. The officer corps seem to have responded to the bitter lessons of eptaetia which along with the weakening of the secret organizations within the armed forces and the ongoing strain in Greco-Turkish relations, have prevailed upon the armed forces to concentrate on morale and military preparedness. To a significant portion of the Greek officers corps, staying in the barracks seems the most logical avenue to protect the immediate and long-range corporate interests of their organization. The conservative New Democracy governments as well as their Socialist successors have also shown considerable sensitivity in their handling of the military. Intrusion in internal military affairs has been kept to a minimum, no wholesale purges have been undertaken, and defense appropriations have reached an all-time high as a result of the continuing disputes with Turkey. Finally, American policy officials seem to have learned their lesson as well. The wholesale failure of U.S. supported Latin American military dictatorships and the Greek Colonels' dismal performance appear to have convinced the U.S. that tolerating tough-talking and independent-minded politicians is infinitely better for the countries concerned as well as the interests of the


Beating a Hasty Retreat


Even though the economy presents a threatening cloud, Greece's experiment with civilian rule and democracy, now in its fourteenth year, is likely to continue. A public opinion survey conducted by Eurobarometer revealed that the Greeks are generally satisfied with the way democracy works in their country. Surprisingly, the approval rate registered in Greece was higher than the corresponding rates in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and even the United I