We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Military Engagement

Influencing Armed Forces Worldwide to Support Democratic Transitions

Dennis C. Blair

Publication Year: 2013

The response of an autocratic nation's armed forces is crucial to the outcome of democratization movements throughout the world. But how can military officers and defense officials in democratic nations persuade their counterparts in autocratic regimes to favor democratic transitions? Here, Admiral Dennis Blair confronts this hard-edged challenge with a primer on the factors that affect military behavior during democratic transitions.

Military Engagement makes the strong case for why the armed forces of any country should favor democracy and why, contrary to conventional wisdom, many military leaders have supported democratic transitions in different regions of the world. Further, it explains why military support, active or tacit, is essential to the success of any demo cratic transition. Blair provides incisive commentary on civil-military relations and outlines the foundational elements of armed forces in a democratic country. He presents sound advice to defense officials and military leaders in established democracies that can be put into practice when interacting with colleagues in both autocratic regimes and those that have made the break with dictatorship.

This succinct handbook analyzes democratic transitions in five major regions and surveys the internal power dynamics in countries such as Iran and North Korea, dictatorships that are hostile toward and fearful of democratic influences. Blair juxtaposes the roles, values, and objectives of military leaders in autocratic nations with those in democracies. In turn, Military Engagement highlights how crossnetworking with international military delegations can put external pressure on autocratic countries and persuade them that democracies are best not only for the country itself, but also for the armed forces. Volume one of this two-volume project provides the educational foundation necessary so that military officers from established democracies can raise their game in achieving effective dialogue on democratic development.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Front Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (165.2 KB)
pp. 1-3

Title Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (180.3 KB)
p. 4-4

Copyright Information

pdf iconDownload PDF (166.5 KB)
pp. 5-7

Table of Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (124.1 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (132.2 KB)
pp. ix-x

Indonesia today is recognized as the world’s third largest democracy after India and the United States, and one of the most successful transformational stories of the early 21st century. We have come a long way from independence in 1945 to be where we are today: a stable and peaceful democracy; a coherent multi-ethnic nation; ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (140.1 KB)
pp. xi-xii

This handbook, and its companion volume, draws its inspiration from late Ambassador Mark Palmer (1941–2013). Ambassador Palmer came up with the original idea for a practical guide for using military engagement to assist democratic development, and he was a constant source of support and advice from the inception of the project two years ago. ...

read more

1. Introduction: Influencing Dictatorships to Become Democracies

pdf iconDownload PDF (377.7 KB)
pp. 1-14

This handbook is about the role of armed forces in the support and spread of democracy. Its purpose is to inspire and instruct the ministries of defense and armed forces of the established democracies to make the support of democracy a priority mission. ...

read more

2. What the Armed Forces Look Like in a Democracy

pdf iconDownload PDF (370.3 KB)
pp. 15-28

Officers who serve in the armed forces of long-established democracies generally take for granted the laws and customs that govern their actions within their countries. They would never think of participating in political activity in uniform or questioning the authority of the legislature to cut their budgets. ...

read more

3. Regional Transitions to Democracy

pdf iconDownload PDF (343.1 KB)
pp. 29-42

Political scientists write of three waves of global democratization, with the Arab Awakening possibly constituting the start of a fourth. The first wave, which began in the early nineteenth century, crested and retreated with only twelve democracies remaining in 1942. ...

read more

4. Developing Democracy: The Crucial Role of the Armed Forces

pdf iconDownload PDF (300.7 KB)
pp. 43-54

Military forces have played decisive roles in most major political changes in countries worldwide. Many countries won their independence through armed struggle, civil wars have determined the course of a country’s history, and international wars resulted in the gain or loss of territory and the preservation or loss of sovereignty. ...

read more

5. Outside Influences on Democratic Development

pdf iconDownload PDF (634.0 KB)
pp. 55-82

Several factors are important to the success of defense officials and military officers in democracies when trying to persuade their counterparts in autocratic countries of the advantages of a democratic system. First, their own democratic governments need to adopt a clear policy goal of supporting peaceful democratic transformation ...

read more

6. Military-Military Relations during Violent Insurrections and Campaigns of Civil Resistance

pdf iconDownload PDF (351.2 KB)
pp. 83-94

As described in chapters 3 and 4, the long-term trend in world governance is toward more democracy. Dictators and one-party governments can hold onto power for a time—often a long time—but without the consent of their people and the capacity for renewal, they eventually crack and fall. ...

read more

7. Hard Cases

pdf iconDownload PDF (401.7 KB)
pp. 95-110

This chapter addresses military relations with several important autocratic countries that are difficult to move toward democracy: North Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and China. Conventional wisdom has been pessimistic that any of them can change. However, in the past, dictators who have seemed solidly in control of their countries, supported slavishly by armed forces ...

read more

8. The Challenge Ahead

pdf iconDownload PDF (212.7 KB)
pp. 111-116

As summarized in chapter 3 of this volume and detailed in volume 2, this handbook describes the successive waves of democratic transitions across the world, the crucial role that armed forces have played in those transitions, and the role of foreign military influences. each democratic transition is unique. ...

Appendix A. Essential elements of Intelligence Information Needed before Meeting with Counterparts in Authoritarian Countries

pdf iconDownload PDF (150.5 KB)
pp. 117-118

Appendix B. The role of the Armed Forces in a Democratic System: Template for a War College or regional Center Seminar

pdf iconDownload PDF (191.1 KB)
pp. 119-122

Appendix C. Field Trip Itineraries for Military Students from Autocratic and Transitional Countries

pdf iconDownload PDF (150.6 KB)
pp. 123-124

Appendix D. Exercise Checklist for the legal and Democratic Use of Force

pdf iconDownload PDF (169.5 KB)
pp. 125-126


pdf iconDownload PDF (147.5 KB)
pp. 127-130

Further Reading

pdf iconDownload PDF (149.1 KB)
pp. 131-134


pdf iconDownload PDF (236.8 KB)
pp. 135-144

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (60.0 KB)
p. 158-158

E-ISBN-13: 9780815724490
E-ISBN-10: 0815724497
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815725053

Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2013