Defying predictions? Chilean civil-military relations since 1990
Gunnels, Lucas B.
Sotomayor Velazquez, Arturo C.
Trinkunas, Harold A.
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Chile is widely regarded to have emerged from its 1990 transition to democracy with the most restrictive rules of the game for its newly elected civilian leaders. Nowhere were these rules more restrictive than with respect to the armed forces. Most scholars were very pessimistic about the future of Chilean civil-military relations, although a few did anticipate that politicians would be able to overcome these restrictions over time. Two decades after the transition, it appears that much success has been achieved. Is it now possible to say that Chile has developed strong civilian control of its armed forces? If so, how did the predictions made in the years after the transition stack up against what has actually happened? This thesis demonstrates that Chile has achieved what Pion-Berlin called "political management" of the military, and that there remain significant vestiges of the conditions left in place by Pinochet. Moreover, this study finds that the optimistic projections, based as they were on rational choices by politicians, provide explanation not just for the advancements in civilian control, but also for the areas where there has been little or no improvement.
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