Desirable Civil-Military Relations in the Gulf
Dr. Kim Jinwoog; Korea Research Institute of Military Affairs
The paper examines the prospect of civil-military relations in the Gulf especially with the theoretical background and the empirical experience of South Korea, and further explores the possibilities of desirable options for that area. The paper will introduce theories to approach the research questions that emerged since 1950 such as those of Huntington, Janowitz, Finer and others. It will test if these theories can be applied to the current issues in the Gulf and see how to adapt the theories of civil-military relations with some case study of South Korea for the Gulf. South Korea has participated in many peace keeping operations and multi-national operations recently. It has also executed civil supporting co-operation in various destinations while mainly dispatching engineering, medical groups and civil supporting groups. Dealing with the close observation of myself during the Gulf War, the paper analyzes how we figure out and execute problem solving throughout the civil-military cooperation in the Gulf for which creative models and solutions become thinkable such as constructing the civil-military governance.
The military is a group for managing violence to defend a nation against external and internal threats and is considered one of the indispensable elements for the establishment of a nation. It is inevitable to buildup the military for nation building and at the same time inevitable to be properly prepared for controlling it. If there were not effective ways of controlling over the military, the government of the state is fragile and subject to potential takeover by the military. Civilian control over the military therefore should be considered as one of the core elements of the nation building in the Gulf as well. Civil-military relations duly might be institutionalized if newly democratized polity in that area is to be considered consolidated.
As we have experienced the civil-military relations in South Korea and underdeveloped countries, when the military interests are more internal rather than external, the military becomes a politicized group and a major political threat. Nobody can guarantee that there will not be occurred undesirable situations such as coup d’état in the Gulf as well. The civil-military relations in the Gulf should have the minimized political role of military as much as it possibly can. If the armed forces have more political power than civilian counterparts, justice principles would be undermined and thus result in the emergence of military governing systems with authoritarian, totalitarian regimes.
If the military acts against the principles and practices of democracy such as the violation of the political neutrality of the military, civil-military relations are not going to be democratic at all. The military’s intervention in domestic politics through illegal means leads to typical nondemocratic civil-military relations. Specifically, a coup d’état, an act of political violence attempting to overthrow the existing government, has been the most salient phenomenon of political instability in developing countries. Needless to say, frequent coup d’états undermine political stability and thus severely inhibit reaching a fully-fledged democracy in developing countries.
Why was there not a history of military coups d’état in developed countries such as some European countries or America and why did it frequently occur in under-developed countries such as African or Asian countries? How have the developed countries maintained good civil-military relations? And are there any differences in a way that the developed countries pursued compared to other nations in under-developed world that have failed in the same task? One of many variables in explanations to this question is that the developed countries have succeeded in the peaceful management in the civil-military relations. The promotion of healthy civil-military relations is the most important variables to forefend coups in new developing countries and forming the sound national identity.
There have been many empirical experiences of military buildup and relations between the military and the civil societies in the different countries. When you choose a certain system of military buildup, you should predict what that military will affect the politics and the civil society in the future. Definitely you have to be careful for military dominance toward the people, society or the politics. So, the countermeasure program toward military buildup is inevitable for development of military in the Gulf as well. In case of South Korea, though it choose American way it has to be experienced coups d’état twice on the trajectory of development for democracy and modernization. Without considering whether military coup was effectible process or not, casualties should have not occurred in this way. If it occurred same way in the Gulf, does it make the desirable way in that area or not? We never know it.
The military in the Middle East is facing some new risks in the light of the interaction between emerging democratization processes, a new regional security environment, and the U.S. commitment to regional change. The risks are affecting the regimes, the militaries and the civil societies. Firstly, it may be referred to increase civilian control over the military and the defense policy thereby disengage the military from the symbiotic relationship with authoritarian regimes, and to change the military’s role into being able to protect the citizens. Secondly to focus even less on external defense and redirect efforts to counter terrorism, engage in state-building efforts, and provide troops to engage in regional peace-makings operations and lastly to reduce the officers’ previous privileges and high salaries, and instead to envisage the rising costs in relation to conscripts and professionals.
This paper examines the prospect of civil-military relations in the Gulf especially with the theoretical background and the empirical experience of South Korea, and further explores the possibilities of desirable options for that area. The paper will introduce theories to approach the research questions that emerged since 1950 such as those of Huntington, Janowitz, Finer and others. It will test if these theories can be applied to the current issues in the Gulf and see how to adapt the theories of civil-military relations with some case study of South Korea for the Gulf. South Korea has participated in many peace keeping operations and multi-national operations recently. It has also executed civil supporting co-operation in various destinations while mainly dispatching engineering, medical groups and civil supporting groups. Dealing with the close observation of myself during the Gulf War, the paper analyzes how we figure out and execute problem solving throughout the civil-military cooperation in the Gulf for which creative models and solutions become thinkable such as constructing the civil-military governance.
While recently the US has retreated from Iraq and Iran has continued its development of new nuclear weapon, the concern of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the military affairs has been increasing. The civil dominance in the civil-military relations is obtaining more significance to avoid internal threat as well as external threats effectively. Therefore there is a strong need for study of civil-military relations in the process of military buildup. The Model of civil-military relationship in the Gulf should be better than other underdeveloped countries. The paper will firstly focus on some facts and data in the Gulf, secondly understanding the theoretical and empirical development and thirdly finding out the desirable measures to the situation in the Gulf. It will pursue the case of South Korea in chapter 3, the theoretical study in chapter 2 and the study of desirable option in Gulf in chapter 4.
2. Security situations in the Gulf
The term ‘military establishment’ may not be referring, in the context of the Arab experience, to the same traditional meaning that the term has in the experience of other countries. Sometimes some military leaders protest to the use of this term, because in many cases there are no clear lines separating what is military and what is civilian in the Arab countries. The military is not an establishment completely separated from the civil life; there are no independent military towns or many military schools or completely special hospitals. Large portions of the military units are staffed by conscripts. There are no huge military institutions comprising armies, veterans, defense industries and large academies. Despite the presence of huge armies in the Arab countries and sometime defining lines between what is civil and what is military, these lines are not clearly separating the two sides in a way that would form a military society and a civil society.
Middle East Asia has been considered historically to be the overlapping area of interests between occidental and oriental countries. There also will be the presence of competence among the major powers in the future. Countries in Middle East is now facing on one hand a new era of citizen democracy, capitalism, and industrialization and on the other hand the internal-external various security threats. It could be analyzed that the security resources in the Gulf is currently dominated by five major groups of military forces: the Southern Gulf states – Iran and Iraq, outside power - the United States, non-state actors like the various elements of ISIL, Al Qaida, the Mahdi militia, and various tribal forces. These forces have evolved in many ways for last decades. Iran presents a major threat for GCC countries in terms of asymmetric and proxy warfare, as well as a growing missile and nuclear threat. At the same time the political unrest and instability in Iraq is creating new internal security threats. Domestic instability could cause new threats that spread over the Saudi and Omani borders. And the threat of terrorism has been growing in a new way somehow while becoming worse.
Countries in the Gulf have long created the adequate countermeasure for those security threats respectively and collectively. Although less powerful, the GCC has functioned as a Gulf version of security union, with far greater and more effective cooperation than what is present in ASEAN or OSCE . Even if the GCC has not made the plan for security considerations, the council already functions as security union in fact. Indeed, the six nations have made far greater development in coordinating their safety activities than they have in the broad range of non-military areas specifically stated in the charter. The GCC has a practical Defense Planning Council and its armed forces and has made tremendous progress in integrating their doctrine, communications, intelligence, and even equipment. A formal alliance in which all of the states of the GCC openly pledge to defend one another could send a powerful signal to Iran or other predatory neighboring states, potentially including a backsliding Iraq.
The most significant concern in terms of regional security is not states but non state actors, especially such terrorist groups as ISIL or Al Qaeda. And there are other groups that challenge authority through extralegal means or could use violence to forestall the emergence of a viable security structure. Asymmetric warfare, as practiced by insurgent or terrorist groups, is literally critical because of the appeal to hearts and minds through either positive or negative tactics. The use of relatively low-cost instruments for tactical gains against relatively high-cost instruments or classic military tactics and the effort to cause political change on the part of the government under attack or to affect the politics and the policies of external states that are supporting the government.
Asymmetric warfare is relevant to a new security structure in the Gulf in several ways. First is the question whether all participants will foreswear asymmetric warfare. Iran is the key focus of this question in terms of states, but Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan, and some individuals and groups in Saudi Arabia are also primary concerns. Second, there needs to be an agreement, including a formal antiterrorism compact to oppose any use of asymmetric warfare. Third, efforts by local states to oppose asymmetric warfare are needed if they expect the sustained involvement of external states, especially the United States and European countries. Local governments cannot turn a blind eye to asymmetric warfare in their midst and expect the United States and others to be engaged in promoting security and stability.
Actually the Gulf States face a critical dilemma related to the US: on the one hand, they desperately want to rely on the US to defend them against all external threats particularly a nuclear armed Iran, on the other hand their dependence on the US is resented in important circles of the Gulf, particularly among various communities in Saudi Arabia thereby creating tensions in the relationship and the deployment of American forces in the region. Any viable security structure also has to take account of tensions, crises, and the possibility of conflict, including destabilization, between its members. There have been tensions in Qatari-Saudi relations; indeed, such tensions may help to explain why Qatar welcomes the US military presence in that country. Also, relations between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have not always been cordial, and neither have those between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. There are also occasional stresses in relations between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Iraqi government keeps a wary lookout for potential interference from various directions, including some of its Arab neighbors. Relations among GCC members could also deteriorate for one or another reason.
GCC has started their security countermeasure in several ways. Since 1981, GCC has proven to be an effective and enduring security structure for the states of the Persian Gulf littoral. They have formed Peninsula Shield Force which is the most important factor for union. GCC had decided to create a joint military force of 10,000 soldiers divided into two brigades, called the Peninsula Shield Force, based in Saudi Arabia near the Kuwaiti and Iraqi borders. Security cooperation must be their critical concern above all other cooperation for the success of the Counsel. Now they have to talk about the cooperation for controlling over the military itself collectively. They have to study the relations between the military and the politics and the substantial collaboration on that affair across the countries. From the very beginning of the cooperation, the role of the civilian elite should be interacted closely with the military elite so as to ensure a new and higher standard of professional military culture. The maintenance of civilian control over military effectiveness in that area should be guaranteed. There could be many ways of civil control such as legislative oversight, involvement in professional education and civilian control into lower levels of military organizations and so on.
3. Theoretical development for civil-military relations
The classical literature on civil-military relations in the Middle East region deals with the problem of the seizure of political power by the military in the 1960’s and 1970’s. In this regard the Middle East related literature is very much in line with the general interest of the civil-military relations literature. Meanwhile, a growing body of literature is also concerned with the problem of military influence or military role in the general process of state or nation building. Equally important, beginning with the pioneering work of Morris Janowitz, scholars have focused on the proliferation of paramilitary coercive institutions in Middle East, such as national police, various intelligence organizations and militias.
Though scholars have argued certain variables, some explanatory variables are functioning quite differently depending on the countries and context at times. For examples many argue military disciplines prevents the military coup d’état but in some countries it certainly creates the military coup d’état. We often differentiate the countries from Warsaw pact and those from NATO. Both groups have established different commanding systems, weapon systems throughout the Cold War era and observed systematically different relationships between the military and the politics. Party-controlled military in communist countries and civil-dominant military in capitalist countries are totally different in respect of maintaining relationships with their politics.
The civil-military relations rely on the principle that civilian and civil society control over the military. The main dilemma to observe is how this principle is recognized and maintained. There has been much development in the theoretical approach of the civil-military relations since Huntington’s book The Soldier and The State was published. Civil-military relations is the topic for research and discussion of a diverse range of issues such as civilian control of the military, military professionalism, war, civil-military operations, military institutions. Civil-military relations attract discussion and research globally, and the theoretical discussion can include non-state actors as well as traditional nation-states. Other research involves discerning the details of military political attitudes, voting behavior, and the potential impact on and interaction with democratic society as well as military families. The theoretical lessons from historical studies surely are helpful to build the synthetic relationship between military and political communities in the Gulf.
The history of civil-military relations can be traced to the writings of Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz, both of whom argued that military organizations were primarily the servants of the state. Concerns about a growing militarism in society, largely coming from the experiences of the first half of the twentieth century, engendered an examination into the impact of military organizations within society. Samuel Huntington and Morris Janowitz published the seminal books on the subject which effectively brought civil-military relations into academia, particularly in political science and sociology. And Samuel Finer, in his book ‘The Man on Horseback’, countered some of Huntington's arguments and assumptions, and offered a look into the civil-military relationships in the under-developed world. Finer observed that many governments do not have the administrative skills to efficiently govern which may open opportunities for military intervention—opportunities that are not as likely in more developed countries.
Huntington attempts to resolve the contradictory relationship between civilian control of the military and military effectiveness by suggesting two main themes. These themes are about military professionalism and subjective versus objective civilian control. Military professionalism has three key characteristics such as expertise, responsibility and corporations that distinguish it from other vocations. Subjective civilian control is the maximization of civilian power as opposed to objective civilian control that distributes political power between military and civilian groups. The core element of objective civilian control is the recognition of autonomous military professionalism that creates subordination of the military to civilian leaders, whereas minimizing autonomous military professionalism is the essence of subjective civilian control. For Huntington, maximizing military professionalism and objective civilian control is the best way to keep a stable relationship between civilians and militaries. Acknowledging independent military professionalism by separating the military from the political arena is to consolidate civilian control of the military without jeopardizing military effectiveness. This Huntingtonian approach has been recognized as the standard principle in civil-military relations for several decades.
Unlike the Huntington, Janowitz argues that limiting isolation between society and military is the central issue in civil-military relations. He highlights main themes in civil-military relations for modern democratic societies:
“the increased convergence of military and civilian institutions and the greater interpretation of the military and the civilian sectors of society, changing organizational authority from rigid authority to manipulation, persuasion, and group consensus, a narrowing skill differential between military and civilian elites, a shift in officer recruitment from a narrow social status to a broader, more representative of the population, changing career patterns toward the professional elite focusing on political skills, and trends in political indoctrination.”
Janowitz attempts to bridge military and society sectors through many routes including academic world in order to promote civil-military relations.
After Huntington and Janowitz’s monumental studies, the field has split into two schools of thought: Huntingtonian politically-oriented versus Janowitzean sociologically-oriented analyses. Both groups have similar focus on the officer corps and professionalism; however, their theoretical approaches are grounded on different premises. To Huntingtonian-oriented researchers, institutional civilian control via preservation for independent military and autonomous military professionalism is the key in civil-military relations. By contrast, the integration rather than separation of civil and military institutions is the heart of analysis to the Janowitzean school. In the Huntingtonian tradition, scholars have made special efforts to find some conditions that affect the level and nature of the armed forces’ direct role in politics. In fact, it is difficult to precisely define military intervention in and disengagement from politics. For this reason, a study points out four problems in deciding the nature, scope, analysis, and causality of military disengagement from politics by stressing the aspect of military interest in determining military intervention and disengagement.
Some scholars have suggested examining levels of military participation in politics. Samuel Finer notes that military intervention in politics consists of ‘the armed forces’ constrained substitution of their own policies and/or their persons, for those of the recognized civilian authorities’ and then lays out four levels of military intervention in politics (influence, pressures or blackmail, displacement, and supplantment) in accordance with four levels of political culture (mature, developed, low, and minimal political cultures). The level of influence contends that the military can influence politics in terms of the constitutional and legitimate bases. This level can be founded in the mature political culture in which the legitimacy for political power is paramount and unobtainable by military. Therefore, the military’s intervention in politics is considered as a ‘wholly unwarrantable intrusion.’ In the level of pressure or blackmail, military power is exercised through implied verbal or real threat. These levels can be found in the advanced political culture in which the legitimacy of political power is important but it is in dispute. The third level, displacement, includes actions such as substitution of a cabinet or ruler by direct action of the armed forces; national leaders are in effect puppets or projection of military leaders. The last level, supplantment, is the most comprehensive level of military intervention in politics. In this case, the military not only builds government in its favor but also constitutes the government, either on its own or more likely with allies. He argues that these two types of military intervention normally occur in the low or minimal political culture.
Scholars in the field have recently begun to reconsider Huntington’s classical thesis and have attempted to produce new theoretical frameworks to explore civil-military relations. Feaver criticizes both the underdevelopment of general civil-military relations theories and the Huntingtonian-oriented analysis by contending that it is time for the field to transcend the concept of professionalization to explain civilian control. He develops a principal-agent theory in which a game of strategic interaction between civilian leaders and military agents takes place based on their own preferences for outcomes. This theory views that contractual incentives using various oversight mechanisms and punishments are the centerpiece of civilian control of the military.
Rebecca Schiff introduced ‘a theory of concordance’ that challenges the Huntingtonian general consensus about the separation of the military from politics maximizing military professionalism by proposing ‘the military, the political leadership, and the citizenry as partners.’ She further predicts that ‘when they agree about the role of the armed forces by achieving a mutual accommodation, domestic military intervention is less likely to occur in a particular state.’ Her main contribution to the study of civil-military relations is the attempt to overcome the American standard of analysis using military professionalism and the role of institution through considering the significant effect of political culture. However, her study has been criticized for its lack of clarity concerned with measuring variables.
Questioning the optimal civilian control over the military, Douglas Bland also presents ‘a theory of shared responsibility.’ The interrelationship between civilians and the military and its impact on civilian control of the military are the focus of his theory. This theory contends that ‘civil control of the military is managed and maintained through the sharing of responsibility control between civilian leaders and military leaders and the relationship and arrangement of responsibilities are conditioned by a nationally evolved regime of principles, norms, rules and decision making procedures around which actor expectations converge.’ In particular, civilian leaders are responsible for macro policies that determine overall national objectives, defense resources, and the use of force, while military leaders have ‘vested authority’ over micro policies such as military doctrine, training, operations, organization that are confined to military subjects only.
Michael Desch suggests a structural model for relationship between intensity of internal and external threat and civil-military relation. His basic assumption lies in the notion: ‘the structural threat environment should affect the character of the civilian leadership, the nature of the military institution, the cohesiveness of state institutions, the method of civilian control, and the convergence or divergence of civilian and military ideas and cultures.’ He argues that a high external threat and low internal threat may best insure civilian supremacy over the military, while a low external threat and a high internal threat may result in poor civilian control of the military. He claims, ‘Externally oriented military doctrines are necessary conditions for civilian control of the military.’
In the sociological strand, Charles Moskos views the military as an occupation and insists that the military is shifting from an institution model to an occupation. While the military as an institution is anchored in traditional military norms and values (e.g., self-sacrifice, honor, duty), the military as an occupation is based on the principle of marketplace (e.g., self-interest and monetary reward), caused by changes in military structure and system including the introduction of an all-volunteer force. This thesis assumes that ‘a military organization highly divergent from civilian society to one highly convergent with civilian structure’ which is very consistent to the Janowitzean central argument. Since the end of the Cold War, military sociologists have paid sufficient attention to the impact of international system change on the military establishment. Moskos suggests the ‘warless society’ thesis that argues ‘war—at least between superpowers and major European powers—is no longer the principal, much less inevitable mode of conflict resolution.’
In the same theoretical context, a new outlook called the postmodern military thesis is placed on the table of debate. This thesis suggested by Moskos, Williams, and Segal in 2000 aims at explaining the transformation of the military and its relations to society in the post-Cold War era in terms of sociological point of view. This thesis seems to accept a convergence argument that the military’s structure and values converge with changes in social values for keeping legitimacy in society. The postmodern military thesis is based on a theoretical argument: the impact of international system change on military organization and societal-military relationships. The shift of international structure from bipolar to unipolar has changed states’ perception of threats. In the post-Cold War era, Western states do not have the same level of concern of the threat of invasion or a large scale nuclear war. Instead, they are facing a new type of threat such as terrorism occurring within states or across national boundaries. The scale and intensity of global nuclear threat has been dramatically decreased. Under this international change, traditional social values such as citizens’ loyalty to the nation-state that bonded states’ ties with society and citizens no longer buttress the armed forces’ leading role in society.
The MWS model suggested by Moskos, Williams and Segal pinpoints five major characteristics of military’s organizational changes since the end of the Cold War in Western countries: (1) the increasing interpenetrability of civilian and military spheres, both structurally and culturally; (2) the diminution of differences within the armed services based on branch of service, rank, and combat versus support role; (3) the change in the military purpose from fighting wars to missions that would not be considered military in the traditional sense; (4) the military forces are used more in international missions authorized (or at least legitimated) by entities beyond the nation state; (5) the internationalization of military forces themselves. Twenty countries have been examined by applying the MWS model, testing whether or not these countries followed the expected trends in the model.
The MWS model does not fully explain the role of political change in shaping postmodern aspects within the military and societal-military relationship. This limited attention to political variables means that the MWS model must be used with caution when analyzing young democratic states where democratic consolidation and postmodernization of social values are happening simultaneously. The role of threat perception, democratization, and social value, therefore, should be considered together in explaining the postmodern military. Accordingly, it is difficult to directly apply the MWS model which attempted to generalize analysis based on an American case to other democratizing non-Western countries.
4. Experience of civil-military relations in South Korea
a. Military buildup in South Korea
After the World War II Korean peninsula has separated into two Koreas and two governments in South and North Korea, supported by US and Soviet Union respectively. South Korea established the capitalist government and developed sufficient military buildup competent with internal and external threats. US military government set up its laws on November 13, 1945 and under the provision of the Bamboo plan , the US military government disorganized the group to absorb members into the defense force by establishing a military corps of 25,000 soldiers. As the official Republic of Korea government and its National Armed Force were established on August 15, 1948, all the civil military forces were integrated into the National Armed Forces. Many experienced military seniors from the ROK Independence Force, Japanese Force, Manchurian Force and civilians from North and South Korea joined the ROK National Armed Force.
During the initial stages of Republic of Korea Army (ROKA), many communists infiltrated into the forces to plant communism and raise riots using various propaganda and schemes. Starting with an incident in Je-ju Island in 1948, these communists led riots in several places. ROKA made efforts to stamp out communists spread over the country. As a result, ROKA arrested 1,300 communists through four iterations of self-inspection process from October, 1948, to the outbreak of the Korean War. The Korean War began in the morning of June 25, 1950 when 200,000 soldiers from North Korea led by Russian tanks crossed the border line and invaded South Korea. At the beginning of the war, ROKA had only 8 Divisions. At the time of the Korean War Armistice in 1953, its size had expanded to 3 Corps, 18 Divisions, and 600,000 soldiers. After the Armistice, ROKA rearranged scattered forces and organized itself into 5 Corps and 20 Divisions. For more effectiveness within the command system, ROKA established 1st Field Army, 2nd Field Army & Training HQs to divide itself into 3 functions: Operations, Logistics and Training. In the process of modernization, ROKA worked on organization, unification and division of forces followed by the acquisition of new equipment.
After 1961 military coup, ROKA paid attention to developing and enhancing military strength while experiencing Vietnam War and overcoming North Korean threats. In September 1964, when the situation in Vietnam became worse, ROKA dispatched a medical force and a Taekwon-do (Korean traditional martial arts) instruction force to Vietnam. In February 1965, engineers and transportation forces were sent to Vietnam. ROKA also established ROK Military Support Group in Saigon. In October, 1965, ROKA dispatched Capital Division to Vietnam as a combat unit and in September 1966, the 9th Division was also dispatched. A total of 50,000 ROKA soldiers were sent to Vietnam during this period. On January 21, 1968, North Korea sent a group of Special Warfare Force to assault the Presidential mansion; Blue House. In April, ROK Homeland Reserves were founded as North Korean soldiers sneaked into South Korea more often. The Reserve Command was established within ROKA HQs. The East Sea Security Command and the 1st & 2nd Ranger Brigades were established in 1969. Further, North Korea made underground tunnels to invade South Korea. South Korea found the first tunnel in 1974 followed by another three tunnels in '75, '78 and '90. This shocked the ROK and its people. To make it even worse, on August 18, 1976, North Koreans initiated an incident called "Bloody Axe Murder at PanMoonJum" and this almost led to another Korean War.
From 1974 to 1981, ROKA set up the plan to build up self-reliant, national defense capability through innovative developments such as enhancing rear area divisions' force power, rearranging four company systems of divisions near the Armistice Line, upgrading personal weapons, organizing additional artillery forces and increasing Army aviation ability. Along with these developments, ROKA was able to produce not only light personal weapons but also various crew-served weapons, large caliber artilleries and upgraded armored vehicles and tanks. In 1978, ROKA first produced mid and long-range guidance missiles and multiple rocket launchers. In 1976, ROK-US Army started 'Team Spirit' exercises and expanded the exercise size every year. In November, 1978, ROK-US Combined Forces Command was established to strengthen security relationship between the two nations. Meanwhile ROKA endured several tragedies at the hand of North Korea, such as "Bombing Terror in Miyanmar" in 1983 and "Korean Airline Explosion incident" in November, 1987. Though North Korea repeatedly provoked South Korea, ROKA kept safety and development at the forefront as it executed its duties. As a result, Korea successfully hosted the Asian Games in 1986 and the 24th Olympics Games in Seoul, 1988.
Along with the developments in force power, defensive ability was advanced as well. After ROK Air Force introduced KF-16 Fighters in 1982, ROKA domesticated 500MD helicopters equipped with TOW missiles. And it produced K-1 tanks and mid-range surface-to-surface missiles and finished actual fielding of them on the battlefields in 1985. Building upon its overseas deployment experience in the Vietnam War, ROKA dispatched a medical support group to the Gulf War as a member of Multinational and also Engineers and medical support groups were sent to Somalia, Angola and to Western Sahara respectively after 1993. These deployments proved that ROKA is a responsible member of the international community. In 1999, ROKA's Evergreen Unit was deployed in East Timor as a member of the Multinational Force and 8,000 member sized “Zaytun” infantry division was dispatched to Iraq War from 2004 to 2008, carried out peacekeeping and other reconstruction-related tasks during the War.
Over the last six decades, the ROK Defense Forces has achieved phenomenal success. It started with only 50,000 troops with outdated rifles in 1948, but has grown to a strong 687,000 troops (the 5th largest standing army in the world) with 4.5 million reserve forces (the 3rd largest in the world), equipped with the most advanced high-tech weapons systems. ROK Forces once used to be a large recipient of military assistance from the U.S. until the 1970s, now it spends more than $26.5 billion annually for defense as of 2014. To some extent, it also contributed to modernization and economic development in the Republic of Korea.
However, Korean military has delayed democratization in South Korea by being deeply involved in domestic politics. Two authoritarian military governments were established as the consequences of the two military coup d’état in 1961 and in 1979 and three former military generals became Presidents of South Korea consecutively. The military intervention in politics not only damaged the image and confidence of the military, but also weakened democratic civil-military relations.
b. Experience of Civil - Military Relations in South Korea
One of the most noticeable benefits that the U.S. military government introduced to South Korea was the implementation of universal suffrage. Universal suffrage was given to all adult Koreans in 1948, which was not so late compared to other Western countries. However South Korea was not ready to accept universal suffrage and those western styles of democracy. South Korean people and government had never experienced the democratic rule of game and institutions in its history. Although universal suffrage brought about the expansion of political participation, it did not lead to the development of party politics. The democratic political system introduced by the U.S. military government ultimately resulted in a ‘premature democracy.’
The first President Rhee’s corruption scandals coupled with continuous economic downfall ignited a massive student uprising against the Rhee regime in April 1960, called the April 19 Revolution. This protest led to President Rhee’s retreat from the presidential Blue House and his party also disappeared as with his political demise. Under the Rhee regime, the South Korean Defense Forces was suffering from conflict and corruption within the top brass caused by Rhee’s personal domination over the military. President Rhee personally used the military for political purposes. Specifically, the Joint Military Provost Marshal (JMPM) and Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) were used as political tools to watch and punish political opponents in the National Assembly as well as politically uncooperative high-ranking officers in the military. In 1952, President Rhee declared martial law to handle the objection of the opposition parties in the National Assembly with respect to the constitutional amendment for direct presidential election and the bicameral system. The military police played an active role in the process of passing the amendment. President Rhee replaced key persons in the military with high-ranking officers politically loyal to him. And Rhee and his party utilized the military as a main source for political funding because the military was using a large percentage of government budget and military aid from the U.S. at that time.
Given these circumstances, the armed forces were associated with many political or governmental activities. This subjective control of the military by political leaders resulted in reducing or even eliminating soldiers’ professionalism and producing a group of the politicized high ranking officers within the armed forces. They ignored the principle of political neutrality of the military for promotion to upper levels or for keeping their privileges. As a result, conflict and friction between the depoliticized officer and the politicized officer as well as between the junior and senior officers were unavoidable. The following Chang Myon government (1960-1961) after the first government was very short lived. To prevent the abuse of president’s power, the Second Republic adopted the parliamentary system that reflected the people’s democratic desire. However, the new political system did not work. Chang’s cabinet was unable to cope effectively with internal turmoil originated in separation in the ruling party caused by power struggle, students’ radical movement for reunification of two Koreas and the gap between expectations of the people and reality in politics. These problems paved the way for the May 16, 1961, military coup d’état by General Park.
Even though General Park has been criticized owing to his leadership, he was elected to be President by general suffrage by the people and had done successful work to make the national wealth and stability in the politics. During his tenure ROK Defense Forces has grown up to be competent against North Korean army. After being assassinated by his intelligence staff, two star-general Chun who has worked closely under him has got the power again by the military coup. Under the authoritarian regime of General Chun Doo-hwan (1980-88), government and military alike had been dominated by members of military officers consisting mainly of graduates of the Korea Military Academy's eleventh class of 1955. Democratically elected President Roh Tae-woo (1988-93), himself same graduate of former President Chun began to promote loyal officers to high command posts, which refrained the civil-military relations from reform. While this approach consolidated his personal authority over the military and shielded him from possible military adventurism, it did nothing to strengthen civilian control.
Only after Kim Young-sam (1993-98) was elected as the first civilian president, substantial civil control over military was initiated. Relying on a network of loyal military supporters who mainly came from his native Pusan and South Kyongsang region, Kim capitalized on existing regional sentiments in the armed forces to neutralize military opposition and strengthen his own position. Defense policy remained a near exclusive domain of active and retired military officers until President Kim Young-sam’s strong-handed policies enforced the reduction of military autonomy. For example, in 1993 his administration investigated a series of large-sum procurement scandals as well as corruption cases involving a number of high ranking officers. This not only put military issues under heightened public scrutiny, but also set the precedent for more transparency and improved civilian oversight. President Kim also restructured the defense bureaucracy and strengthened the defense ministry vis-à-vis the general staff.
Building on these achievements, the next President Kim Dae-jung took another important step in expanding civilian control of external defense affairs when he installed the civilian-dominated National Security Council (NSC) as a presidential advisory body regarding security policy-making and coordination. During the next President Roh Moo-hyun’s term (2003-08), the NSC ultimately became the primary defense decision-making agency with the effect of minimizing the role of the military and even the civilian defense bureaucracy to one of ‘bystanders when it comes to real influence in defense policy-making’. After transition to democracy, elected civilian governments in South Korea quickly took steps to demilitarize the internal security apparatus and separated civilian and military intelligence. Successful institutionalization of civilian control of the military is a necessary condition for the consolidation of democracy. This is particularly relevant for Republic of Korea, where the military used to be a key player in the previous authoritarian regimes. She has civilians succeeded in curtailing military influence in politics.
South Korean politics were dominated by authoritarian and military regimes for nearly four decades since the beginning of the First Republic in 1948. During that period, violations of the rules and illegal political activities to prolong or seize political power were prevalent. Two military coups even toppled civilian governments. Although civil governments were not effective in handling sudden political, economic, social changes, the coups cannot be legitimized. The military not only played a major role in domestic politics, but also overweighed civilian counterparts in terms of political power. On the other hand, South Korea experienced unprecedented economic success during the same period which shaped a favorable environment for democratic development. In accordance with this economic development, rampant civil movements led by the intelligentsia and students aimed at bringing political progress precipitated the democratic opening in 1987.
5. Desirable Civil-Military Relations in the Gulf
Political scientists have studied the frequency and probability of military coups in the Middle East region for decades. Samuel Finer’s systematic study of the military’s ‘disposition to intervene’, ‘levels of intervention’ and ‘results of intervention’ provided the necessary theoretical tools to analyze military coups. Building upon Finer, Eric Nordlinger developed a tripartite model for the levels of military intervention. More provocatively, the renowned Princeton political scientist, Manfred Halpern emphasized the possibility that the military professionals in the newly independent states of the Middle East would be a vanguard of modernization. The officer corps constituted, Halpern claimed, a key component of the ‘New Middle Class’, which might serve as a vanguard in the modernization of the new states. Halpern’s claims were followed by J.C. Hurewitz’ thesis on ‘Armies as agencies of social change’ raising a heated debate on the developmental role of the military in modernizing countries. As one of modernizing countries, the cases of South Korean coup in 1961 and 1980 have happened on account of disappointment among people at the corruption in the then government, though criticism is still unavoidable because the military lacked legitimacy. You never say that those occasions will not happen in the Gulf, so it is necessary to ponder on the desirable way of civil control over the military before military buildup in the region.
Firstly, you have to differentiate the concept of civil-military relations in the dictatorial regime from that in the free democratic regime. For example, the concept of civil-military relations in communist countries is totally different from free capitalist countries. It is hard to describe North Korean civil-military relations as democratic, even though it establishes a solid civilian control of the military. The concept of civilian control does not necessarily mean democratic control. Democratic control of the military should be preferred in the Gulf than authoritarian control of the military. Not only is civilian supremacy over the military necessary to preserve democratic order, but the military’s voluntary acceptance and adherence to the norms and practices are essential to ensure democratic control of the military. One of the crucial tasks for deepening democracy is to establish democratic civil-military relations through a solid democratic control of the military. Civil-military relations are a good indicator to evaluate how much democratization has progressed in young democracies. Civilian control refers to the control of the military by civilian authorities. All decisions of a state in regards to national security affairs should be made and approved by the civilian officials. Civilian control of the military just equals with civilian supremacy over the military in political power. The concept of civil-control of the military contains institutional as well as ethical aspects. In this sense, democratic control of the military can be defined as ‘a process of institutional and ethical integration of the military into a democratic society.’
Secondly, it is desirable to control the gab of difference between the military and the civil society through frequent interaction. Making a good civil-military relationship depends on how the military and the civil society are trying together effectively diminish the difference between them. Most debate in civil-military relations assumed that a separation between the civilian and military world was inevitable and likely necessary. The argument had been over whether to control the gap between the two (Huntington) or to minimize the gap by enacting certain policies (Janowitz). Following the end of the Cold War in 1989, however, the discussion began to focus on the nature of the apparent gap between civilian and military cultures and, more specifically, whether that gap had reached such proportions as to pose a danger to civilian control of the military.
Part of the debate was based on the cultural differences between the more liberal civilian society and the conservative military society, and on the recognition that such differences had apparently become more pronounced than in past years. Assuming that a problem exists, many have offered suggestions for narrowing the gap and correcting the problems arising from it. It may be desirable to consider those suggestions while beginning military buildup in the Gulf. Number one is that the military must reach out to the civilian world. Given the essentially universal agreement that civilians must control the military, the duty falls upon the military to find ways to talk to civilians, not the other way around. Number two is that civilians must articulate a clear vision of what they expect in terms of the military mission. And the number three suggestion is that the most practical and effective means of bringing about dialogue and understanding is to be bilateral education, in which both military and civilian elites would jointly attend specialized schools. Such schooling would emphasize military-strategic thinking, Arabic history and political philosophy, military ethics, and the proper relationship between civil and military authority.
Thirdly, when formulating the national security policy, civilian and military leaders should together engage in constructive collaboration. Expectations and misperceptions pull the civilian and military participants away from one another and impede their ability to cooperate in the same dimension. External forces such as social, political, cultural, and moral-ethical pressures constrain the relationship in both parties. Constructive collaboration overcomes these negative effects and creates conditions that support sound policy formulation and implementation. While constructive collaboration does not preordain success, it does ensure that policy formulation is inclusive rather than exclusive. It is observed a distinct role reversal in advocacy for the use of force in the political-military relationship.
This interesting phenomenon derives from the military's adoption of a broader viewing lens for national security matters while civilian leadership has clung to a consistent, but dated view. The civilian view tends to be wedded to perspectives of the past that tend to create the potential for imbalance in the relationship favoring military influence. Clearly both civilian and military leaders must have a broad view that encompasses all elements of national power. Constructive collaboration of ideas is needed to keep up with the demands of an ever-changing, and increasingly complex, national security environment. The primary issue at play in the dynamic and sometimes volatile political-military interface is one of influence, not control. Influence comes from the roles of the participants themselves and their ability to contribute constructively to the policy formulation process.
Fourthly, you should enhance the relationship between the military and the politics in the way of integrated way over the countries in the Gulf. In this respect, the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) could provide for a useful model of what the Gulf States might adopt to create peaceful, stable civil-military relations as well. Leaders of military and politics would be allowed to lay out their threats they see, and how they would like to see those threats reduced. For particularly complex issues, military or security subcommittees would try to negotiate solutions whenever possible. Eventually, the process would move on to devise confidence-building measures that could be taken by all participants, symmetrically or asymmetrically. Over time, states could use the meetings/ organization to resolve disputes, allay fears and manage conflicts and crises. Ultimately, once sufficient trust has been established among the military and political leaders, the mechanism could be used to devise arms building agreements that would substantively contribute to the security and reliability in the region. An approach modeled after the CSCE could entail creating a standing organization, or just a process, with set meetings and the ability to schedule additional sessions or subcommittees to address specific disagreements or proposals in greater depth.
Fifthly, you may consider new challenges which affect civil-military relations in the environment of postmodern society. The states in the Middle East are mainly developed in an authoritarian system where central authority has been keen to keep civil society at a distance. However the recent developments in the region has challenged this trajectory by putting post-conflict management and democratization on the agenda and thereby activated the interest in the roles of both military and civil society in eventual future operations.
The study of civil-military relations lately is approaching the study of that in postmodern society. The end of the Cold War has brought about momentous changes within the armed forces in Western societies. The Postmodern Military examines these changes by presenting a general theoretical model of national military transformation. The postmodern military, by contrast, loosens the ties with the nation-state, becomes multipurpose in mission, and moves toward a smaller volunteer force. It is increasingly androgynous in makeup and ethos and has greater permeability with civilian society. The shift of social values in a society is one of the foremost factors to affect military-societal relations. The change of social values from modern to postmodern is now occurring in many countries.
Most Western advanced industrial societies have already entered the era of postmodernity and this phenomenon is becoming more prevalent in other developing societies as well. Although it is not easy to grasp the concept of postmodernism at a time, there is some consensus on what constitutes the attributes of the postmodernism. The central elements of postmodernism are ambiguity, metanarratives, diversity, permeability, flexibility, relativism, and deconstruction. Major components of modern values such as authority, hierarchy, rationality, efficiency, determinacy, absolutism, etc. are giving way to the increasing prevalence of postmodern perspectives. What we observe in postmodern societies are the decline of nation-state, citizenship, nationalism, and traditional social and sexual norms.
Lastly, in order to keep the condition of civil control, the government has to inform the military information to the people as much as required. That is the way how people can control and participate the decision making in the security area and the government can gather people’s desire. The state can keep transparency in budgets and prevent the corruption effectively through this way. Followings are the examples of US DoD being executed as the Principles of Information underlying public affairs philosophy. It is the DoD’s policy that makes accurate information available timely so that the public, the Congress, and the news media are open to assess and understand the facts about national security and defense strategy. Requests for information from organizations and private citizens are answered in timely manner under this policy. The Freedom of Information Act supports this. A free flow of general and military information shall be made available, without censorship or propaganda, to Armed Forces and their dependents. Information will not be classified or otherwise withheld to protect the Government from criticism or embarrassment. Information shall be withheld when disclosure would adversely affect national security as well. The Department of Defense's obligation to provide the public with information on DoD major programs may require detailed Public Affairs (PA) planning and coordination in the Department of Defense and with the other Government Agencies.
There is a critical factor which could guarantee a good civil-military relations and to dominate the military assuredly. Political leaders always ask themselves whether they are making decisions for the people or not. The relations between the politics and the military desirable depend on how the politics are desirable for nation building. Two prerequisite ethical questions should be considered for the political leaders to buildup the military. The first question is: ‘Is it effectively beneficial for the interest of the people?’ The second: ‘Is it fully efficient for the development of the state?’ If these questions are not answered in a process of military buildup, justice and effectiveness would collapse and civil-military relations would be aggravated. Military leaders are always trying to find legitimacy for their soldiers and weapons. There will be continuous power competitions in Gulf region in the process of nation building of each country. If any political leaders in countries of the Gulf are not righteous and wise, Gulf countries might face same tragedies which under-developed countries have been suffered for the last 60 or 70 years.
Throughout the historical experience we have witnessed numerous cases of military dominance over the politics frequently in many countries. So it is natural to worry about what will happen while strengthening the military forces in the Gulf. Having a desirable civil-military relations in the Gulf is prerequisite to prevent the possible military coup d’état in the region. That could be the main purpose of studying civil-military relations in the region, which provides significance to this study. Since World War II, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, military coups brought about a growing interest in academia. Political upheaval in Africa resulted in military take-overs in Dahomey, Togo, Congo, and Uganda, to mention just a few. Political unrest in South America, which involved military coups in Bolivia (189 military coups in its first 169 years of existence), Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay, was largely a consequence of military forces attempting to restrain an increasing influence of the left-wing.
The study of civil military relations is about how we have the military not getting involved in the politics and how much the military could be controlled by the civil authority while maintaining its effectiveness. In other words, how we could succeed in civil-military cooperation and how we professionalize the military as the explanatory variables which political scientists argue in that sense. The military apparatus is one of the most prominent of the governmental institutions in building the normal state. So the cooperation between the military leaders and civilian leaders and the relative efficacy of developing national identity through the establishment of a security force should be clear in the process of military development in the Gulf. The theoretical development and the empirical case study of South Korea on the civil-military relations suggested a possible way of civil-military cooperation in the Gulf.
Most of the Gulf countries are in a transition period from Kingdom to the republic government. Korea also experienced a Kingdom before World War II. It had started from the society of Kingdom to become civil government and industrialized state. Historically, Korean people were against the imperialist and colonialist from big powers. International political struggles were occurred outside of Korea, however, they affected Korean Peninsula a lot and it finally created the Korean War in 1950. There was Kim Il Sung in North Korea maneuvered by the Soviet Union, and there was Rhee Syngman in South Korea embraced by the United States. There was another political leader Kim Gu, who opposed the division of Korean peninsula before the establishment of two governments. Korea was supposed to receive the trusteeship by Super Powers. Despite of Kim Gu’s desperate effort, Korea was divided and then he argued to accept the trusteeship. Initially, Kim Gu strongly objected the terms of the trusteeship, however, he changed his mind. What was his rationale? It was just the security interest of the people. Decision makers in Gulf countries might be located in similar trouble. The interest of people in the region should be put in the first place and leaders carefully follow the way to keep their people’s security and interest. I argue if this moral code is considered, the civilian control over the military should be guaranteed.
The military in the developing country easily could be related with the big power out of the region. Therefore how to relate to the external power should be considered as well. It is the fact that US, China and other major countries are very much interested in military buildup in the Gulf. How can countries in the Gulf manage these factors? It may be natural that the US should be a member, just as it has been a member of the CSCE/OSCE, because it is the principal military ally of the GCC states and the principal threat to Iran. Without the United States, conversations among the members would be artificial and divorced from reality. US participation in a Gulf security process could have other powers outside induce to the scheme of security status in the region. China and India both have great and growing interests in the Gulf, as well as the potential to play roles similar to that of US, they would be good candidates for inclusion as well. On the process of the inclusion, you should be guaranteed from big powers bullying the countries in the Gulf, in that sense Korean experience would be very helpful for them.
Civil-military relation is the problem of how a civilian government can control and remain safe from the military institution that it created for its own protection. A military force that is strong enough to do what is asked of it must not also pose a danger to the controlling government. This poses the paradox that "because we fear others we create an institution of violence to protect us, but then we fear the very institution we created for protection". A consolidated democracy establishes a solid democratic civilian control of the military in which civilian supremacy and parliamentary control is consolidated. The institutional interests, roles and activities of the military should be subject to civilian and parliamentary control and oversight. The decisions of defense budget and security policy should be affected by political leadership that represents the public’s opinion. Armed forces, as a part of social entity, should be keenly aware of people’s demand in order to obtain and protect its legitimacy and vital interests.
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