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Thread: Can Military Governments be a good thing (for a while)?

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  1. #1
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default Can Military Governments be a good thing (for a while)?

    So the Egyptian Military is going to stand by "the people", as one Egyptian put it, and pressure Morsi to step down (maybe).

    My question to the audience is this "Do military coups and temporary military governments get a bad rap?" Does the military, in places like Turkey and Thailand, ensure a less bloody transition than other alternatives. Is this something Westerner's should take another look at (or even tacidly encourage)?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/02/wo...s&src=igw&_r=0
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    The Curmudgeon asked:
    Do military coups and temporary military governments get a bad rap?
    Yes, deservedly so from my West European viewpoint and not being personally subject to such military-led governance, let alone the inevitable coercion, torture, corruption and more so I am very lucky.

    Not to overlook in my adult life two European nations had such rule, Greece (1967-1974), maybe the quasi-military regime in Portugal and Spain (1935-1975). It is rare for the military to voluntarily relinquish its 'rule' and 'right' to intervene - as events in Cairo today indicate. IIRC Nigeria had one such 'return to barracks'.

    Does the military, in places like Turkey and Thailand, ensure a less bloody transition than other alternatives.
    I don't know much about Thailand, but Turkey appears to have voluntarily accepted Ataturk's rule after the defeats in WW1 and more. The military until very recently remained the 'guardian' of his legacy, with coups in May 1960 (till September 1961), 1971 (May 1971-September 1973) & 1980 (September 1980-November 1983). All dates are approximate.

    Yes many countries face a 'bloody transition' when faced by revolution, instability and political competition. Whether it is 'less' than the alternatives is a moot point. Chile, Argentina and Brazil come to mind.

    Is this something Westerner's should take another look at (or even tacidly encourage)?
    No, no. Let the people, Egyptians today, make their own decisions. Has Western involvement, however active or 'mild' helped a transition and the development of what each nation seeks. The USA in particular readily forgets 'self-determination', let alone liberty and freedom.

    Have we not learnt a military follows its own path, no doubt with "spin" and megaphones announcing the emergency action is to preserve 'Western values', fight communism and extremism?

    Just read a Tweet by Majid Nawaz, of Quilliam Foundation, an ex-radical (Hizb-ut-Tahir) who was imprisoned in Eygpt and now a Liberal-Democrat party member here:
    SECULAR military dictator better than hard line Islamist denying democracy
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-01-2013 at 08:00 PM.
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    Default Isn't this the old Jeanne Kirkpatrick argument....

    ....on autocratic governments vs. tyrannical governments?

    Am I getting this wrong?

    Anyway, when did we ever stop supporting military governments if we thought the military was the magical key to stability? (Witness our relationship with Musharraf, who did a number on us).

    This might be entirely too glib, but is Egypt about to "go Pakistan", or is this more like the run up to the Algerian civil war? I hope neither.

    For most of the 1980s, as perhaps Ronald Reagan's most influential foreign-policy adviser, she supported military interventions, covert proxy wars, the coddling of anti-communist dictators and the full-blooded, unapologetic pursuit of America's national interests. Asked 20 years later about Iraq, old age or greater wisdom seemed to have tamed her. George Bush junior was “a bit too interventionist for my taste”. As for moral imperialism, “I don't think there is one scintilla of evidence that such an idea is taken seriously anywhere outside a few places in Washington, DC.”

    Certain sentences from her most famous article, “Dictatorships and Double Standards”—written on her summer holiday in France, published in Commentary magazine in November 1979—now induce a sigh. “No idea holds greater sway in the mind of educated Americans than the belief that it is possible to democratise governments, anytime and anywhere, under any circumstances.” “Decades, if not centuries, are normally required for people to acquire the necessary disciplines and habits. In Britain, the road [to democratic government] took seven centuries to traverse.” “The speed with which armies collapse, bureaucracies abdicate, and social structures dissolve once the autocrat is removed frequently surprises American policymakers.” Yes indeed.
    http://www.economist.com/node/8447241

    Some events are beyond the ability for us to control, guide, etc. We can only watch events play out and keep mind of basic interests. And each event is contingent. And both support for hurried democratization AND support for military coups has come back to haunt us, again and again.
    Last edited by Madhu; 07-03-2013 at 05:27 PM. Reason: Added last sentence

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Watch Egypt!

    The situation in Egypt may be the most current experiment on Military Government, we will have to see how it turns out. IMO it can be a good thing if done in accords with the original concept as was presented in the USMC Small Wars Manual.

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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    I was going to write the same thing. They seem to have decided to keep a relative low profile - if it can be called that way - and avoided the usual arrests.

    We will see.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

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    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    A good thing? No. A necessary thing, maybe, in some very rare circumstances, if the people to be governed accept it.

    Anybody who starts thinking a military government would be a good thing for somebody else needs to be hit hard on the head before he has any chance to put that idea into action.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 07-04-2013 at 02:29 AM.
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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    I was going to write the same thing. They seem to have decided to keep a relative low profile - if it can be called that way - and avoided the usual arrests.

    We will see.
    I was completely right, they only took a great deal of key members into costudy. Morsi is still a free man, so far.

    Egypt's new military rulers have arrested the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme leader, security sources say, and issued warrants for up to 300 other members hours after ousting the elected president, Mohamed Morsi, and taking him and his aides into military custody.

    The day after a momentous night in Cairo has revealed the full extent of the military overthrow, with key support bases of the Muslim Brotherhood, including television stations, closed down or raided.

    Security officials told the Associated Press and Reuters that the Brotherhood's supreme leader, Mohammed Badie, was arrested in a coastal city near the Libyan border on Wednesday and flown to Cairo in a military helicopter.

    The Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said he could not confirm the reports because the group had lost their lines of communication to Badie.
    @jmm99: Cui bono indeed?

    Morsi certainly was elected in a quite democratic fashion but selected to ignore a good deal of that democracy as a sort of fading fashion. Shame on him. Religion alone does in any case not sort out the economy of a country. It is of course impossible to tell how much the last years in government have weakened the brotherhood and how much strenght they can win from this coup.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

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