Military Governments Essay

1061 words - 4 pages

Military governments have been around since the days of feudalism. It is the oldest and mostcommon political state. According to Shively, a military government is one in which a group of officersuse their troops to take over the governmental apparatus and run it themselves. Military governmentsare usually weak in appeasing the masses for they are known to be brutal and power hungry and arealso rather fragile, both internally and externally.In its primitive state, existing as feudalism, the high ranking officials/nobility and the militaryitself was composed solely of the elite ruling class. But as society became more complex, the role of theelite was slightly altered as technology progressed and the nobility and kings no longer controlledweapons nor could prevent the disintegration of the feudal society.Modern military governments usually occur after the military stages a coup. A coup is theforceful deposition of a government by all or a portion of the armed forces and installation of a newmilitary government. Coups ordinarily take place when the present government poses a threat to thestate or the status quo. Because the military controls more armed power than anyone in a state, theyhave the ability to take over the government at any given time. In Power and Choice, Shively questionsthe notion of the infrequency of military governments. Yes, they are common, but why aren't they morecommon? The reason being that as societies advance and become more complex, it is necessary for theruling elite to be more knowledgeable of the processes by which a government is operated. This explainsthe recurrence of civilian-run governments. The military may have a few leaders who are skilledpolitically, but the armed forces are not customarily trained to run governments. Recall that the role ofthe military is to protect and serve the state, therefore there is usually a cycle, known as the Barrackscycle, in which the military brings about a coup, but later reestablishes civilian control, and is the newstate threatens governmental stability, the military stages yet another coup, etc. The longer the militarystays in power, the more the political state exists unstably.In Nigeria, for instance, numerous military coups were staged between 1966 to 1978. In 1978,democracy was peacefully reestablished by public consensus, but five years later democracy fell oncemore to a military coup. Military rulers since then have negotiated the possibility of the restoration ofdemocracy in Nigeria, but efforts have been static and democracy still has not been established. Greecewas operated by the military from 1967 through 1973. The military government was maintained for thesix years by austere autocratic measures. In 1974, the military government was dismissed anddemocracy was reinstated. The use of coercion as means of gaining power by the right-wing officerswas a way for them to attempt the establishment of autonomy.The concept of legitimacy in military governments is also...

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