Political Science 159s

The Armed Forces and Politics

David Pion-Berlin

Winter Quarter, 2013

Tues-TR 11:10am-12:30pm

Sproul 1102

Office: 2215 Watkins

Tel: 827-4606

e-mail: david.pion@ucr.edu

faculty home page: http://politicalscience.ucr.edu/people/faculty/pion-berlin/index.html

Course Description

The military has been a part of political life as long as nation states have existed. This course is an introduction to the origins, nature, and behavior of the military within political systems. In developed democracies such as ours, military compliance with civilian elites is taken for granted. But elsewhere, civilian control is a goal not yet realized. We will examine why it is that some militaries faithfully serve civilian governments while others revolt against them.

The course begin by briefly tracing the evolution of the armed forces, from their inception as an elite mercenary force to their transformation into a conscripted national force. It relates the evolution of the military to the development of states, comparing Europe to Latin America. Then we turn to more modern day developments, examining how some armies become more politically inclined than others. The most politicized armies are those who overthrow governments. Discussions will follow on the reasons for military intervention into politics, including military coups. This is followed by a detailed study of how governments attempt to bring their armed forces under control. We review several strategies of civilian control here.

Then the course turns to the relation between civil-military relations and democratization, comparing processes in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Latin America. Then we will examine civil-military relations in the United States in peace time and wartime, devoting attention to the Iraqi War in particular. We end with discussions on military missions in the world, including what role there may be for the U.S. military inside its borders, and peacekeeping missions abroad.


All readings will be available at E-Reserve, Rivera Library. Go to the Rivera Library webpage, look under Services at top, then Course reserves, and find items on reserve. Type in my last name, followed by first initial “Pion-Berlin, D.’ The password is “civmil”. Occasionally, I will ask you to consult websites for additional information. You are expected to keep up with all the assigned reading on the syllabus. While the lectures are extremely important, it will be difficult to gain an adequate understanding or to do well on the exams without paying attention to the readings.


There will be three exams comprised of multiple choice and essays. The first and second exams count for 20 % of your grade each, and the final 30%. The final is cumulative. The remaining portion of your grade is based on your performance in the discussion section (see below).

Discussion Section

The discussion section constitutes 30% of your overall grade. Your participation is key to having a successful experience. The Teaching Assistant will prepare a separate syllabus detailing your responsibilities.

Web-based Learning

This course utilizes the web-based instruction and learning tool “ilearn.” Go to the URL: http://ilearn.ucr.edu, and login. Each of you should have a username, and if you don't know it, inquire at helpdesk@student.ucr.edu.

At this website, you will find important announcements, the syllabus, perhaps occasional practice quizzes, and other items that I find useful to post. Pay attention to the announcements, as these will remind you of upcoming exam dates, reviews, etc. Remember, use of the website is never a substitute for attending class lecture or discussion. You will not realize your full potential in this course unless you attend all sessions. Lecture notes may be posted at this site to help prepare for exams. I say maybe because it depends on attendance in class. If attendance drops off, I will not post the notes. Remember, having lecture notes posted on the website is a privilege not a right.

Other Important Information

Academic Dishonesty

Cheating is a serious offense. Should students be caught looking at other students’ exam answers, or consulting their own hidden notes, they will fail the exam. Repeated offenses will result in the receipt of a failing grade for the course. For information on procedures concerning charges of dishonesty, see: http://senate.ucr.edu/bylaws/PDF%20Files/P3%20Ch6.pdf.


Class attendance is expected. If for some reason you cannot attend because of medical or family reasons, please inform me of that fact upon your return. You are expected to be there for all exams. If for a medical or family reason you miss an exam, contact me immediately to schedule a make-up.


You are expected to do all the assigned reading on the syllabus, unless otherwise notified. While the lectures are extremely important, it will be difficult to gain an adequate understanding or to do well on the exams without paying attention to the readings.


Office hours are regularly maintained and posted. If for some reason you cannot see me at the designated hours, please come up after class and I will gladly arrange an alternative time at your convenience and mine.


Weeks One


What is the military?

Machiavelli, “The Prince,” Chapters 12-14; S. Huntington, “Officership as a Profession,” 7-18 .

Week Two

Origins of the Military Profession

S. Huntington, “Rise of the Military Profession”

Military and State Development in Europe

Gordon Craig, “The Army and the State: 1640-1807”

Week Three

Military and State Development in Latin America

F. Lopez-Alves, “The Transatlantic Bridge: Mirrors, Charles Tilly and State Formation in the River Plate”

Clausewitz, War, and The Military

The Praetorian Military

A. Perlmutter and V. Bennett, “The Praetorian Army and the Praetorian State”199-208; E. Nordlinger, “The Study of Praetorianism,” 2-10


Week Four

Sources of insubordination

How does the military intervene?

S.E. Finer, “The Modes of Intervention,”127-148.

Why and when does the military intervene?

E. Nordlinger, “The Coup D’Etat,”63-99; A. Stepan, “The New Professionalism of Internal Warfare and Military Role Expansion”

Weeks Five

Sources of insubordination, cont’d

The nature of the military coup

E. Nordlinger, “The Coup D’Etat” 99-107

Mark Ruhl, “Honduras Unravels” Journal of Democracy, 21 (April 2010)

Sources of subordination

Methods of Civilian Control

S. Huntington, “Power, Professionalism and Ideology” 80-97; Claude Welch, “Civilian Control of the Military: Myth and Reality.”

Institutions and Civilian Control

D. Pion-Berlin, “Defense Organization and Civil-Military Relations in Latin America”

Week Six

Sources of subordination, cont’d

Strategies and Civilian Control

H. Trinkunas, “Democracy and Civilian Control;” Peter Feaver, “The Informal Agency Theory”

Values and Civilian Control

J. Samuel Fitch, “Military Attitudes Toward Democracy in Latin America”

Week Seven


Democratization and Civil-Military Relations

Eastern Europe and Russia

Mary Yaniszewski, “Post-Communist Civil-Military Reform in Poland and Hungary,” Armed Forces & Society 28,3 (Spring 2002): 385-402

D. Betz, “No Place for a Civilian? Russian Defense Management from Yeltsin to Putin” Armed Forces & Society, 28,3 (Spring 2002): 481-504

Week Eight

Democratization and Civil-Military Relations

Latin America

Pion-Berlin, “Civil-Military Relations and Post-Transitional Democracies in Latin America” (Report for the OAS)

Week Nine

U.S: Civil-Military Relations, Peacetime and War

Is there a problem?

P. Feaver and R. Kohn, “Conclusion: The Gap and what it Means for American National Security”; Col. M. T. Moon, “On Politics: The Militarization of American Policy”

Civil-Military Relations and the war in Iraq

M. Desch, “Bush and the Generals.” Foreign affairs 86, 3 (May-June 2007)

Week Ten

An Internal Role for the military?

Col. D. Geiger, “Posse Comitatus, the Army and Homeland Security: What is the Proper Balance?”

Peacekeeping and humanitarian causes

L. Miller, “Do Soldiers Hate Peacekeeping?,” Armed Forces and Society 23 (Spring 1997): 415-449; Katherine Worboys, “The Traumatic Journey: Peacekeeping Operations and Civil-Mil Relations in Argentina,” Armed Forces & Society 33,2 (January 2007)

FINAL EXAM – final exam week

March 18, 8am-11am.