In developing nations military intervention is frequent and military interventions differ
from one nation to the other.
In order to try to explain the different frequencies and nature of military intervention,
political scientists have generally look at two things; the internal characteristic of the
military and the political environment within which the military functions
The ability of armed forced to intervene successfully in the politics of a country highly
depends on the internal organizational cohesion of the armed forces. The more
organizationally cohesive the more likely the army will stage a successful intervention.
In order to explain the motives behind and the goals of staging an interventions one
should look at the officer corps’ (army leadership) education level, social origins and
ideological orientation. Example, Egypt in 1952 coup, Nasser’s Ideology was panArabist
socialism and anticolonialist therefor he and other officer intervened in the country and
ousted the highlyEuropeanInfluenced king Farouk whose system of governance in
Egypt was mostly a neofeudal one.
The more advanced the armed forces the more sophisticated its training is the more
sophisticated the training is and that requires more specialization to manage the different
highly sophisticated components of the army, thus in such case the army is distanced
from the civilian politicians work.
Generally, there are two types of military professionalism, old and new.
Old professionalism is when the army is trained in relevance to an external threat.
Example U.S. army as well as most developed nations’ armies.
New professionalism is when an army is trained with relevance to internal threat of
upheaval against class based or ethnic based insurgency. New military professionalism is
prevalent in the developing world.
The relation that exists between the civil society and the military depends on the extent
external threat and the magnitude of internal threat.
If there is high external threat and low internal threat then civilian control over the
military is likely to be the strongest.
If there is low external threat and high internal threat then civilian control over the
military tends to be the lowest. Military size and firepower has nothing to do with propensity for a military to
successfully intervene in the politics of a country: African countries have small militaries
and have real high frequency of military interventions. Whereas countries like the U.S.
with a large military never witnessed a coup and the slightest sign of any military
intervention in civil public policy the government will act strongly and effectively: a
couple of years ago Obama asked a high ranked US general to resign because of a
comment he made in an interview that politically opposed the civil administration’s
Military propensity of military intervention is less a function of its own capabilities and
more a consequence of weak civilian political institutions.
Most important cause of military intervention in politics is the political and institutional
structure of society.
A civil government is relatively immu