Copper Soldiers forging new roles for the Chilean Military
Flammia, Roberto R.
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Thesis explains why Chile maintains military budgets in excess of its threat levels. Historically, Chile required a well-funded and capable military due to tense regional relations. However, resolution of border conflicts, equipment acquisitions and superior economic performance reduced Chile's threats during the 1990's. Nonetheless, analysts attributed the continued high military budgets to an authoritarian hangover following General Pinochet's reign (1973-1989). Pinochet's 1998 arrest and trial diminished the power of the military, calling into question past explanations. The judiciary purged the state of junta era commanders, younger more flexible leadership came to power and the political parties agreed on constitutional reform. Yet, after sweeping constitutional reforms, budgets remained high. This thesis argues the government maintained defense budgets in order to further the "normalization" of civil-military relations. The military received high budgets and in turn recognized past human right abuses and pledged subordination. With relations stable, both the civilian elite and military agreed to reorient the military's mission towards peacekeeping. Peacekeeping reinforces civil-military relations while benefiting each party individually. The civilian elite receive international prestige furthering their foreign policy goals while the military's mission and budgets are justified. The stable equilibrium guarantees Chile will remain a regional leader in peacekeeping for the future.
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