Impediments to the accurate conceptualization of civil–military relations

Authored by: Thomas C. Bruneau

The Routledge Handbook of Civil–Military Relations

Print publication date:  September  2012
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415782739
eBook ISBN: 9780203105276
Adobe ISBN: 9781136253218


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In retrospect, the catalyst that led me to write this chapter was an epiphany I had while participating in a Center for Civil–Military Relations (CCMR) workshop in Katmandu, Nepal, in May 2007. Nepal was in the midst of yet another turbulent political upheaval, characterized by general strikes and street violence incited by Communist youth groups. The conservative, self-immolating monarchy was at its end; a tentative peace process had put the Maoist insurgent forces, which had been waging a nine-year civil war against the government, into UN-supervised cantonments; and the Royal Nepal Army was confined to barracks. The parliament was deeply divided among extremely heterogeneous and antagonistic political parties that were attempting to reach agreement on a date for general elections, with the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist playing the spoiler. In short, Nepal's institutions and traditions were swiftly being relegated to the past, but there was no consensus on the future, and violence was pervasive. 1 The Royal Nepal Army (now the Nepalese Army), for its part, has remained remarkably cohesive throughout these upheavals, and continues to hold a monopoly on the legal means of violence.

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