Explaining civil-military relations in Southeast Asia
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Richard J. Samuels
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Civil-military relations describe the interactions and balance of power between the civilians and the military in a nation state. Due to the organizational apparatus and capacity for forcible coercion that the military possesses, it can be an important determinant on whether a civilian government survives or falls, as well as what policies are formulated and implemented. This thesis analyses Southeast Asian civil-military relations in a comparative perspective. By looking at seven states in the region - Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar - it finds a rich diversity of such relations, ranging from situations of civilian control to civil-military partnerships to military control. The thesis therefore aims to answer the question: why has there been this variance in civil-military relations in the region? The thesis first examines briefly the history of civil-military relations theory as well as the history of the seven states mentioned above, building an analytical framework and proposing three alternative explanations for variance. Firstly, it asserts that pre-independence legacies created path dependencies that structure the shape of civil-military relations in the region. Secondly, the thesis argues that the structure of the political party environment mattered and assesses the case studies through indicators of concordance and discordance. Finally, the thesis looks at the presence of military entrepreneurship, asserting that variance depends on military capacity to engage in external business activities and civilian willingness to allow such activities. The thesis concludes by assessing the explanatory power of the three factors above and concluding that a combination of pre-independence legacies and party structure best explains civil-military relations in the region.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2010.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 119-124).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology