The Department of Government
The Department of Government
The Soldier and the Changing State

The Soldier and the Changing State: Building Democratic Armies in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas

Zoltan Barany is the Frank C. Erwin, Jr., Centennial Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. The Soldier and the Changing State is the first book to systematically explore, on a global scale, civil-military relations in democratizing and changing states. Looking at how armies supportive of democracy are built, Barany argues that the military is the most important institution that states maintain, for without military elites who support democratic governance, democracy cannot be consolidated. Barany also demonstrates that building democratic armies is the quintessential task of newly democratizing regimes. But how do democratic armies come about? What conditions encourage or impede democratic civil-military relations? And how can the state ensure the allegiance of its soldiers?

Barany examines the experiences of developing countries and the armed forces in the context of major political change in six specific settings: in the wake of war and civil war, after military and communist regimes, and following colonialism and unification/apartheid. He evaluates the army-building and democratization experiences of twenty-seven countries and explains which predemocratic settings are most conducive to creating a military that will support democracy. Highlighting important factors and suggesting which reforms can be expected to work and fail in different environments, he offers practical policy recommendations to state-builders and democratizers.

"The Soldier and the Changing State is the single most ambitious and complete analysis on civil-military relations in democratizing states. Barany examines a variety of country case studies, ranging from transition experiences after dictatorships and communist regimes to postwar and postcolonial nations. This is an extremely important contribution to the understanding of the relationship between the role of the military and the government in diverse transition situations." - Narcís Serra, chairman of the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals and former Spanish Minister of Defense

"We know that the fate of political regimes ultimately rests with people who bear arms. But why would the military be willing to respect civilian rule? Barany shows that removing politics from the military presents a problem different from extracting the military from politics. The analysis is incisive and subtle, attentive to historical details, and the wealth of historical material has no equal. This is a book for which I have been waiting a long time." - Adam Przeworski, New York University

"A remarkable book--theoretically circumspect and empirically ambitious, and a very important contribution to the field. Barany applies insights from existing theory to an exceptionally diverse range of post-World War II cases. This will be the new standard reference for anyone interested in how military institutions can be coaxed to fit under democratic rule." - Peter Feaver, Duke University

"Destined to become the standard book on civil-military relations and a key work in democratization studies, The Soldier and the Changing State shows what makes democracy work. Barany takes a bold stance by saying that without solving the civil-military problem in new democracies, it is virtually impossible to solve any other issues. This is the most important book written on this subject in forty years." - Thomas Nichols, United States Naval War College

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