Regional Security Cooperation Against Hegemonic Threats: Theory And Evidence From France And West Germany (1945���65)

Academic research on civil-military relations often assumes that dangers for democracy and civilian control mainly emanate from the military's predisposition of ‘pushing’ its way into politics. Yet, civilian control frequently is a precondition for governments’ moves of ‘pulling’ the military into roles that may potentially be problematic. These can include the military's involvement in political disputes or internal public security missions. Notwithstanding its empirical relevance, little academic work has been devoted to understanding how ‘pulling’ works. In this article, we aim to provide a first, exploratory framework of ‘pulling’ that captures the dynamics of the military's reactions and indirect consequences for civil-military relations. We identify three analytically distinct phases in which pulling occurs. First, politicians initiate either operational or political pulling moves. Second, we situate the military's reaction on a spectrum that ranges from refusal to non-conditional compliance. This reaction is driven by the military's role conceptions about appropriate missions and their relation to politics. In a third phase, the military may slowly start shifting its role conceptions to adapt to its new roles. We illustrate our argument with case studies of two different instances of pulling: operational pulling in the case of France (2015–19) and operational – then-turned-political – pulling in the case of Brazil (2010–20).

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