Implications for theoretical debates on civil-military relations and global governance
The findings of this book have several implications for advancing theoretical debates in the specialist literature on civil-military relations and global security governance.
First, the book added a theoretical distinction to the theories of civil- military relations and military change (Farrell and Terriff 2002; Bruneau and Matei 2013; Croissant et al. 2013). In insecure, hybrid orders with limited institutional capacity, deficiencies in the performance of transition governments can generate ‘autocratic nostalgia’ (Huntington 1995: 10) linked to increased support for the military. The findings have a contribution for understanding the processes of military adaptation. The processes of adaptation in security and defence institutions are not necessarily linked to winning conflicts or wars, but they might also occur due to endogenous decisions to change in order to maximise the legitimacy basis and perpetuate power. This type of change would correspond to what the literature on institutional change calls ‘normative isomorphism’ (DiMaggio and Powell 1983: 151). ‘Normative isomorphism’, conceptually referring to the military’s voluntary processes of change and transformation, can be argued to be linked to ‘military professionalism’. Under Huntington’s scholarly legacy, military professionalism is quintessential in the theories and approaches of civil- military relations. In hybrid orders, military professionalism in its meaning of a specialised military that would not stage coup d'etats or interfere in politics due to professionalism and military ethic (Huntington 1957) might not be sufficient to explain developments and political dynamics. In insecure, hybrid environments, the processes of military professionalisation are more likely to correspond to Larson’s (1977: 40) definition of professionalisation, understood as establishing a ‘cognitive base’ of legitimation. Prompted by relative and absolute incentives, endogenous or normative change can enable the armed forces to establish a ‘cognitive base’, a “mode of cognition (...) which is taken for granted in the society” (Larson 1977: 41). Embracing a doctrine and strategy that can be to some extent acceptable to the society and the international community, the military is in a better position to maintain a legitimacy basis. Acceptable here refers to acquiescence, below the sanctioning threshold. High internal and external threats require strong defence and military capabilities. In hybrid orders with limited statehood, the security environment can thus pose challenges to achieving civilian oversight. Particularly in states with legacies of military government, inherited power imbalances could be difficult to transform.
Second, the classical literature on military change and transformation argues that due to the military’s ‘institutional resistance’ (1ISS 2001: 24) to change, the “military organizations are intrinsically inflexible, prone to stagnation, and fearful of change” (Grissom 2007: 919). Specifically, the results of this book advance the cultural model of military change (Farrell and Terriff 2002; Grissom 2007). The cultural model of military change claims that ‘senior leaders’ or civilians can adopt the roles of ‘agents of innovation’ (Grissom 2007: 920) and political entrepreneurship, which can factor in change. Other models of military change argue that the decisive factors triggering military transformation are primarily civil-military relations (Posen 2014), interservice politics, i.e. the “relationship between military services” (Grissom 2007: 910-1) or intraservice competition, i.e. the competition between different (domestic) military departments (Rosen 1991). Through bridging the literature on civil-military relations with theories of global governance and multi-agency security, the book demonstrated that the military can voluntarily change and strategically adapt due to changes in the domestic political culture and legitimation potential, as well as ‘redlines’ induced by the international community and civil society actors on the other side. The book also demonstrated that endogenous military change, motivated by the re-establishment or enhancement of legitimacy and thus a power basis, can be due to relative externalities. These were partly generated by the changes in the political and societal culture, triggered via empowerment dynamics sustained by exogenous sources such as foreign funding or support from IOs and donors.
Third, another theoretical distinction added by this book is to the theories of global security governance and multi-agency peace and security (Mac Ginty 2011; Borchert and Thiele 2012; Wittkowsky 2012; Luckham and Kirk 2013: 7; Richmond 2014; Schroeder et al. 2014; Bagayoko el al. 2016; Visoka 2017). The findings indicated that more explicit propositions need to be generated in relation to the mechanism of democratic oversight of the military. The distinction added here pertains to the civilian oversight component of peace and security approaches employed by international actors in their foreign policies and global strategies, such as SSR. The caveat of these models is embracing a vision largely claiming that the way to achieve democratic civilian control is through the professionalisation of armed forces, in Huntington’s ‘objective’ civilian control sense (Brzoska and Heinemann-Griider 2004: 123). In Huntington’s objective control, military professionalism is based on a dichotomist understanding of civil-military relations, i.e. military non-interference in political affairs and vice versa, the argument being that a professional, politically neutral and autonomous military prevents military coups and guarantees civilian oversight. Huntington’s model of civilian control is based on a Clausewitzian understanding of war, according to which ‘war is the continuation of politics by other means’. While Huntington’s approach emerged as a constitutional arrangement in the American domestic post-war context, its propositions might be partly outdated for the contemporary, much more complex and interdependent, international security environment (Baciu 2017). In hybrid orders, an autonomous military might mean a military not under civilian control, and professionalism might not be a sufficient condition of democratic oversight. Comprehensive security mechanisms and global governance approaches by international actors need thus be conceptually reflective of these developments. 1 argue that there is a mismatch between an institutionalist understanding of civil-military relations, promoting two autonomous spheres, the military and the civilian one, and multidimensional operations in a complex, increasingly interdependent domestic and international order. To overcome these shortcomings, I proposed a model of civil-military adaptation and civilian influence (see Figure 9.1) based on the interdependent relations between the military, political institutions and societal actors.
Fourth, the results of this book also advance the literature on civil society organisations’ role in CIMIC (Yalyinkaya 2012) as well as local actors’ impact on peacebuilding (Paffenholz 2010) and democratic security governance (Cawthra and Luckham 2003). Specifically, based on a small sample, the book assessed the impact of civil society organisations such as think tanks, (l)NGO and other local non-state associations on input legitimacy, output legitimacy, diagonal accountability and elite pacting. Significant variation was found regarding organisations’ contribution to these four types of functions, as Chapter 7 demonstrated.