Military and Democracy

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Baber Ali
The basic idea of democracy is self-governance. Democracy believes in rule of the people, and the power lies only with people who transfer it to their representatives. To achieve democracy, there should be electoral democracy. The democratic system includes constitutional structures, frameworks, and fair elections. Institutions like parliament, judiciary, and media play a vital role in democracy. Institutional policies would entertain freedom and autonomy from any external influence. Democratic policies must be friendly to people. Democratic control should always be a two-way process between the armed forces and society. In a democracy, firm constitutional guarantees should protect the state – including the armed forces – from two types of potential dangers: from politicians, who have military ambitions, and from military with political ambitions. If a democratic system fails, then it does not justifies the failure of democracy because the problem lies in the practice of democracy but not in the concept of democracy. The strength of a democratic system lies in policies, and if the policies observe democratic norms and benefit people, then they strengthen democracy. Democracy is as much a social phenomenon as a political one. It is not surprising that military occupation is not the royal road to democracy and the rule of law. Government by unelected foreigners who have acceded to power by force is the reverse of democracy. The use of force to impose order, involving detention without trial and other abnormal, though often necessary, measures are the reverse of the rule of law. The most benevolent occupier, therefore finds that they are obliged to operate on the principle of ”Do as I say and not as I do”, which is usually the least convincing way to convert people. The military is one of the most important institutions in a democracy — a great and honorable profession. In our day and age, not all countries possess military establishments. Examples include Liechtenstein, Andorra, Dominica, Grenada, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu. Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin once dismissively asked, “How many divisions does the Pope have?” Of course, the Vatican has none. And I doubt if it needs any Historically, Military intervention always leads to the failure of democracy. Military rule overthrows people’s governance and enforces the authoritarian rule. Democracy is considered the rule of the people, for the people, and by the people. But in a military dictatorship, the case is different because military dictatorship harms the very institutions and structures of democracy. It destabilizes the parliament and judiciary system, which are the fundamentals of democracy The principle of political control of armed forces as we know it today is rooted in the concept of representative democracy. It refers to the supremacy of civilian institutions, based on popular sovereignty, over the defense and security policy-making apparatus, including the military leadership. There is no common model of how to establish armed forces in a democratic society and how to exercise control over the military. There are, however, several shared principles. They include indispensable prerequisites to organize and guarantee proper civilian direction and control of armed forces. These are essentially the existence of a clear legal and constitutional framework, defining the basic relationship between the state and the armed forces

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