Civilian-Military Relations in Latin America
Bruneau, Thomas C.
Goetze, Richard B.
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For some time now, there has been debate in academic circles about just how much civilian politicians in Latin America need to know, and do, to control their militaries. David Pion-Berlin, a highly regarded scholar on Latin American civil-military relations, has argued that “civilians do not have to worry about investing the necessary time to understanding defense, strategy, tactics, preparation, budgeting, deployment, doctrine, or training.” 1 Pion-Berlin bases his argument on deductive logic and history, but we believe the situation has changed significantly in the region. Therefore, we respectfully disagree. In our opinion, civilians must know enough to be able to ensure that the armed forces are doing what they are required to do, not only in terms of submitting to civilian control, but also in successfully fulfilling the current very wide spectrum of roles and missions assigned to security forces in Latin America. Unlike Pion-Berlin, we believe that the security threats facing Latin America are now so broad and so critical that civilians have little choice but to engage with them and invest political capital in responding to them.
Article in English, also in Spanish as Civilian-Military Relations in Latin America; searchable in Calhoun.
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