Get complete information on the meaning and features of military regimes

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A military dictatorship is a form of government wherein the political power resides within the military; it is similar but not identical to a stratocracy, i.e., a state ruled directly by the military.

Like all dictatorships, a military dictatorship may be official or unofficial, and as a result may not actually qualify as stratocratic. Few Communist regimes are military dictatorships, and controlling the military so that it cannot challenge the party has been a persistent concern of these regimes.

Augusto Pinochet (sitting) was an army general who led a military coup in Chile in 1973.

The typical military dictatorship is ruled by a junta (derived from a Spanish word which can be translated as "conference" or "board"), or a committee composed of the military's most senior leadership. Other military dictatorships are entirely in the hands of a single officer, most often the senior army commander. In either case, the chairman of the junta or the single commander may often personally assume office as head of state.

Most military dictatorships are formed after a coup d'etat. In the past, military juntas have justified their rule as a way of bringing political stability for the nation or rescuing it from the threat of dangerous ideologies. Military regimes tend to portray themselves as non-partisan, and a "neutral" party that can provide interim leadership in times of turmoil, and also tend to portray civilian politicians as corrupt and ineffective. In practice, however, military regimes can often be quite brutal, staying in power for long periods of time and committing many human rights abuses.

Latin America and Africa have been common areas for military dictatorships. Much of the reason is that the military often has more cohesion and institutional structure than most of the other institutions of society. Military dictatorships can be contrasted with other forms of dictatorship. In most current and historical communist states, the center of power exists in civilian party officials, and very careful measures such as political officers and frequent rotations are taken to prevent the military from exercising independent authority.

Since the 1990s, military dictatorships have become less common. Reasons for this include the fact that military dictatorships no longer have much international legitimacy, as well as the fact that many militaries having unsuccessfully ruled many nations are now inclined not to become involved in political disputes.

Features:

Broadly speaking, different military regimes can be distinguished by the place the military hold in the decision making structure of the state and or by what they do with the power they wield.

The role played by the military in top decision-making varies. We can broadly distinguish two types here. First, there is the military-junta type in which the supreme policy making organ is a junta or command council of officers representing the three services (army, navy and the air force). The military junta usually appoints a civilian cabinet to administer under its authority. Parties and legislatures are suppressed or else only a single official party is permitted. Often parties and legislatures are nominal and subservient artifact of the military executive. The military, as represented by its senior officers, plays the active and supreme role in policy making in the military junta type of regime. Secondly,

There is the presidential type in which the military play a supportive role rather than a creative or active role. Here the cabinet is formed largely or wholly from civilian rather than military personnel. In Zaire for instance, the army's role is supportive of the president, while the official party is largely nominal. In Iraq and Syria, however, the local Ba'ath parties are true vanguard parties, in a symbiotic relationship with the officer corps. Here the military's role is not limited to being supportive, but extends to play a more active role.

However, the existence of the party enables the president to arbitrate, and so exert independent leadership over both civilian and military sectors. Military regimes can also be distinguished by the way they wield power. Some military governments confine themselves to supervising or 'patrolling' the society.

In Thailand, for instance, the largely military cabinets permit the civil service a wide autonomy in running affairs, and preside over what is on the whole a free wheeling economy. In Ghana and Nigeria, however, the governments go further: they direct a national programme, but they leave the civil service to administer it. Finally, there are those military regimes, such as those in Burma and in Indonesia, in which the armed forces not only exert supreme authority in policy making but also play a large part in actual administration.

Strategies of Ruler ship:

Broadly speaking, different military regimes can be distinguished by the place the military hold in the decision making structure of the state and or by what they do with the power they wield.

The role played by the military in top decision-making varies. We can broadly distinguish two types here. First, there is the military-junta type in which the supreme policy making organ is a junta or command council of officers representing the three services (army, navy and the air force).

The military junta usually appoints a civilian cabinet to administer under its authority. Parties and legislatures are suppressed or else only a single official party is permitted. Secondly, often parties and legislatures are nominal and subservient artifact of the military executive. The military, as represented by its senior officers, plays the active and supreme role in policy making in the military junta type of regime.


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