Politics plays an essential role in the military domain. Therefore, a doctrine in military and political science called civilian control of the military was born so that the responsibility for a country’s strategic decision-making is placed in the hands of the civilian political leadership rather than the military officers.
Its opposite, called military dictatorship, is also possible, although now only exists in Hong Kong and Sudan. In the past, however, there used to be a military dictatorship in many countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America & the Caribbean and even some from Europe, like France. In a situation in which the state fails to control the military, this may result in a state within a state. In essence, the political influence over the military is linked to the nature, structure, and rules of the political system in which the military operates.
Nonetheless, to ensure a stable liberal democracy, civilian control is seen as a must. Separation of power prevents it from being abused by authorities. Yet, there are certain measures taken in order to assert such control as leaders cannot impose authority over the military by means of force. Therefore, there is a combination of policies, laws, as well as a certain doctrine that shapes the values in the armed services.
Thus, these methods include the establishment of a civilian (head of state, head of government or another government figure) as the military’s commander-in-chief, a military composed of civilians as well as being aided by technological developments since nowadays it is no longer necessary for leaders to rely on the orders of local commanders.
As the segregation of power is crucial, in the US, with the creation of the Hatch Act, members of the military have certain restrictions regarding political activity which includes non-partisanship by the military on the political process. As such, military members are allowed to register and vote in any elections, and they have the right to express their opinions as citizens on candidates and issues, but they may not do this as a representative of the military nor can they express them through actions that could be perceived as representing the military service. They also have the right to attend political gatherings as long as they are not wearing their uniforms. All of these rules are covered by the Department of Defense (DoD).
However, as taken from the Journal of Military Ethics (Ulrich and Cook, 2006) and US Civil-Military Relations After 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain (Owens, 2011), the military has played a larger role than before in the US politics since the 9/11 terrorist attack. Hence, some experts believe that the involvement and intervention of the military in the political spectrum is increasing following terrorist attacks. In an article from the European Journal of International Relations called “Beyond coups: terrorism and military involvement in politics”, it was said that military actors have their motives to intervene in politics and their ability to do so “depends on the presence of opportunity”(Bove et.al.,2019). This article argued that terror attacks modify such opportunities and increase the involvement of the armed forces in politics.
In essence, there is a strong connection between politics and the military as the change of the political system is consequently affecting the military. Our journal has up-to-date articles that analyze this interdependence with canny observations concerning the issues.