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Research Report

THE DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF ARMED FORCES

Rudolf Joó
Copyright Date: Feb. 1, 1996
Pages: 51
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep06952
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. None)

    Political control(¹) of armed forces is not a problem that has confronted only liberal democracies of the twentieth century. Even less is it an issue challenging only the democratizing societies of Central and Eastern Europe in the l990s. The crucial dilemma -- that a separate armed body established in order to protect a society might pose a threat to that same society -- goes back to antiquity. The ever-relevant question of who guards the guards was a central issue in Plato’s dialogue The Republic, written about 2,500 years ago. Plato, in presenting what he considered to be the right order...

  2. (pp. None)

    Despite the uniformity of the Communist one-party system, the former Warsaw Pact was composed of a fairly diversified group of countries. Its member-states showed wide variations in size, cultural traditions, levels of development, geostrategic location, ethnic composition and military capabilities. After the monolithic period of the early Cold War, the differences became more noticeable from the 1960s, and have become even more apparent and significant with the profound change that has taken place in the last five years. These changes (a) produced new states, (b) re-nationalized the security and defence policy of old states after the dissolution of the Warsaw...

  3. (pp. None)

    In Hungary, similarly to Poland, democracy came about through a gradual evolution, a progressive rejection of the system by an increasingly emancipated society. The process reached its culminating point in the talks that began in 1989 between the emerging democratic opposition and the ruling Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (HSWP). The ‘National Round-Table’ dialogue prepared the terrain for genuine multiparty elections and led to some major political decisions that directly or indirectly affected the armed forces. Several of the demands of the nascent opposition concerning national defence -- for instance the de-communizing of the armed forces, the disbanding of the Workers’...

  4. (pp. None)

    In the West, adjusting to post-Cold War conditions presents major challenges to society, including the military. The end of the bipolar confrontation has drastically altered the threat environment, and as a consequence the whole security and defence system is now in a process of change: armed forces are being reduced in size and restructured; foreign bases are being closed; military priorities, programmes and commitments are being redefined; Western security structures (WEU and NATO) are seeking new missions in a new world. All this has had a significant impact on civilmilitary relations.

    However, these challenges are scarcely comparable with the problems...