Emergence of the Middle Class in Southeast Asia by Richard Robison

By Richard Robison

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Both are inversely connected: the farther the distance of a decision-making matter from the military’s core function, the more seriously the democratic principle is undermined if the military has influence over that particular issue area (Pion-Berlin, 1992; Ben-Meir, 1995; Trinkunas, 2005: 7). Decisions on military organization (Area 5) touch upon the military’s institutional core but are rarely decisive for the character of the regime. In contrast, the effective decisionmaking power of the elected officials – and thus the principle of people’s sovereignty – will be greatly limited if military control extends to general public policies that are beyond the military’s core function of defending the state (Area 2).

2 Public policy This area encompasses decision making on and the implementation of all policy matters except the narrowly understood aspects of internal security and defense policy. As the legitimacy of elected rulers also rests on their ability to translate social interests into concrete policies (Newton & van Deth, 2005), this area is central to democratic rule. For this reason, it is imperative that elected civilians alone decide on the contents, scope, and duration of policies and have effective means of controlling and supervising their administrative implementation.

While a certain degree of organizational autonomy is necessary for the military to fulfill its missions and roles, civilian control is dependent on the ability of civilians to define the range and boundaries of this ‘institutional autonomy’ (Pion-Berlin, 1992). Consequently, civilian control is compatible with some degree of military autonomy in its internal affairs if this is freely decided upon by the civilian decision-makers and they are, at least in principle, able to revoke this decision and redraw the boundaries of professional autonomy at any time.

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