From the Publishers


The role of armies in social processes is unequivocal. Armies can be a force for liberation as in the April Revolution in Portugal and armies can oppress as happened under the Pinochet regime in Chile. It is naive to assume that the army will observe political neutrality when social development reaches a crisis. The military usually come to power when the civilian authorities are unable to cope due to an acute power crisis.

Hundreds of military coups have been carried out on various continents since the beginning of the 20th century. Quite a few more have failed. Even in those countries with stable political systems but at the same time having powerful armed forces, no serious politician can ignore the corporate interests of the military. Many international problems and conflicts in our "civilized times" are examined, if not through the sights of modern arms but paying due regard for military - political realities. Armies should obey the laws of civil society. But the civil society must be mature, stable and democratic to really integrate the armed forces into its own structures.

The twenty-one original articles presented here serve to enlarge the comprehension of a very complicated problem - the armies' role in politics. In a number of articles, at first glance not dealing with the general issue of the book, are analyzed the tendencies of global and regional developments. Without taking them into account it is hardly possible to understand the great potentialities of the army and its undoubted limited political role.

The authors of this volume are scholars from thirteen countries of South and North America, Europe and Asia. Among them are ten leaders of national academic institutes and centers, academicians, as well as members and leaders of international scholarly associations.

All that glistens is not gold. And it is not the brilliancy of scientific degrees and titles of the contributors but the significance of their new ideas, which makes the book a sparkling addition to our knowledge. The authors present a panorama of such complexity and vitality that the history of different countries becomes clearer, more meaningful and more striking than anything the reader has heretofore imagined.

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