Civil-military relations describe the interactions among the people, the institutions, and the military of a state. In the context of a democratic system, a bargain among the people, the civil government, and the military establishment concerning the allocations of prerogatives and resources takes place periodically and shapes the military and its roles. 1 The bargain determines the answers to five questions: Who controls the military instruments? What is the appropriate level of military influence on society? What is the role of the military? What pattern of civil-military relations ensures best military success? And who serves whom?
Although the five questions encompass all issues about civil-military relations, this idea of a periodic renegotiation of the civil-military bargain does not fit in the context of the peripheral countries. 2 Especially in socialist states like North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba, there appears to be a couple of disciplined and organized power groups within the elites system that create bureaucratic rivalry.
TYPOLOGIES OF CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS AND PARTY-MILITARY RELATIONS IN PARTY-STATE SYSTEM
Concentrating on the way in which the military institutions can realize their corporate goals, Finer distinguished four types of civil-military relations. 3 A problem with his typology of influencing, blackmailing, displacing and taking over is its heavy reliance on the degree of military intervention. This encumbers the distinction between the behavioral and structural similarities of the military institutions and regimes in different states, whereas intervention has been pushed to different levels. Nevertheless, the role of the military in society and politics is similar. 4
In an attempt to overcome the limitations of Huntington and Finer’s mono-factor and western polyarchic model, Janowitz makes a significant step by differentiating civil-military relations in Western states from the peripheral ones. 5
Some experts focused positively on the organizing capacity of military officers and their capacity to lead the modernization process including economic developments in peripheral states, since strong leadership backed by organizational structure and by moral authority was seen as a necessary ingredient for the successful management and future planning of these countries. The only group which could display such quality was the military. 6 Other experts like Janowitz, however, pointed out that one should not confuse discipline and organizational capacity. While the officers have been trained to operate efficiently when assigned to specific tasks, their efficiency on the broad economic development of any country would, at best, be minimal due to “limitations inherent in the professions.” 7 Unlike other peripheral regimes’ development processes, communist regimes were supposed to create a strong vanguard party that was separate from the military and rather guided the military, following the Soviet Union’s example. In the communist regimes, a vanguard party was presumed to exist, distinguished from the military in terms of organizational and instructional capacities. In this regard, communist regimes faced a different context where the traditional military’s role as a sole mechanism of modernization in other peripheral regimes was shared between the party and the military. 8 And that’s the reason why party-military relations take a significant spot in these regimes and are regarded as the communist version of civil-military relations.
According to Perlmutter and LeoGrande, 9 who explored civil-military relations in communist countries in an article published in 1982, the party-state system has three features in common: hegemonic party, state ownership and dual-role elites. Hegemonic party is the most important pillar of this socialist party-state system. And it should be complemented by the state planning and state property system of this party-state system. At the micro-level, however, the principal mechanism through which the party maintains its structural position as system integrator or arbiter is the existence of the dual-role elites. 10 “Dual-role elites carry conflicts into the party, making every important conflict an inner-party conflict….The existence of this dual-role elite operating within the confines of a party dominated authority pattern produces a complex structural relationship between the army and the party.” 11 (See Figure 1.)
Perlmutter and LeoGrande categorized three basic ideal types of party-military relationships according to the degree of the political dependence and institutional autonomy which the military enjoyed: coalitional, symbiotic and fused. They categorized the case of the former Soviet Union as a coalitional model, China’s case as a symbiotic model and finally Cuba’s case as a fused model. According to the combination of the professionalization of the military and the control by the party, the military changed its role from dependency to symbiotic and eventually coalitional with its higher degree of professionalization. 12(See Figure 2.)
THE CUBAN CASE
Perlmutter and LeoGrande described Cuba as a special model. In the Cuban case, the winning guerrillas established the party right after the revolution by the top-down method. In the cases of China and the Soviet Union, the legitimate party members who were supported by the population organized the military. However in Cuba the legitimate institution was not the party but the military itself. Right after the revolution took place, the military tried to organize the party and the party-state system. However, the party could not be a vanguard party overwhelming the military sector until the 1980s. So, Perlmutter and LeoGrande referred the Cuba’s military and its system as a Marxist-praetorian and Cuban party-military relations as a fused model.
Learning from the reforms in China beginning in the late 1970s, Cuba prudently sent military officers to attend business schools to familiarize themselves with the teachings of capitalism. As an influential conglomerate, the Union of Military Industries (UIM) of Cuba not only supplied military needs but also took care of the civilian needs in the transitional period. Military officers were granted income and accumulated wealth through this channel. Establishing hierarchic loyalty and equipped with military entrepreneurship, 13 the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) had key corporations and industries in its hands. 14 In short, economic institutions built the basis for military governance and the FAR has grown to a position of power outside of the Castro brothers. 15, 16 While the military’s participation in the economy of China and Vietnam have always been regulated and controlled by the party apparatus, the Cuban military does not abide by this rule. “The party may cease to exist one day or be transformed into something different; the Armed Forces, on the contrary, are very much emblematic of the state and in this sense really, “immortal” as proven in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.” 17
As Amuchastegui rightly analyzed, in early days the FAR overshadowed the PCC. 18 Recent articles have started to analyze the Cuban state and the role of the military through a different lens from the traditional communist state. Concepts such as the Gatekeeper State, 19 Military Oligarchy, 20 Authoritarian Withdrawal regime, 21 and Bureaucratic-Authoritarian Model 22 may mean that the Cuban state and its military officer corps changed their role from the one in the traditional communist state to a new one in the authoritarian or junta system.
“TWO FRONTS LINE” IN NORTH KOREA
The slogan of “Two Fronts Line,” which is the line of developing nuclear arms and the economy simultaneously, means that in North Korea the military and the party have come to an adequate division of labor, like the one in 1962, when the first Two Fronts Line was introduced.
In fact, North Korea’s Two Fronts Line stems from its anxiety and tension with regards to Khrushchev’s softened attitude towards Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. During this time, it is said that Kim Il-sung desperately sensed the inevitability of developing self-defense capabilities when Khrushchev reacted to the U.S. hardline approach in a compromising and conciliatory manner. Supporting Beijing during the early days of the Sino-Soviet split in the early 1960s, Pyongyang had to proclaim the expansion of the national defense capabilities in spite of an economic crisis. On December 10, just two months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Central Committee officially announced “The line of developing Defense and Economy simultaneously.” Perceiving the threat of being abandoned by the Soviet Union, the North Korean regime established a compartmentalized system that embraces the economy and the military simultaneously. Production lines for arms supplies were installed in every production facility, assuring resources for the military. This appeared to expand the military’s role, but the regime of course has firmly brought the military under the party’s control, tightening the dual control on the military.
In March 2013, fifty years after the earlier decision, North Korea’s young leader raised once again the slogan of “Two Fronts” that his grandfather had coined. Despite shifting the aim of national defense to nuclear weapons, the “Two Fronts” has not lost its meaning.
Right after the hereditary power succession was openly proclaimed at the party Conference in 2010, both the internal differences of opinion regarding the new leader’s policy line and the power struggle surrounding the vested rights were unfolding. Ten months after launching the slogan of “Two Fronts”, the North Korean authorities announced a momentous purge, tantamount to the execution of Arnaldo Ochoa in 1989 in Cuba.
This new “Two Fronts” line was proclaimed in March 2013, following the long-range rocket launch in December 2012 and the third nuclear test in February 2013. In this regard, it is natural to interpret the two fronts as part of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Indeed, in 2013, the fact that North Korea stipulated itself as a nuclear-weapons state in the Constitution and has continued with its nuclear development implies that the “Two Fronts” has focused on a defense policy that emphasizes nuclear development. However, under the “Two Fronts” lie the dynamics of bureaucratic politics. That is, it also includes the aspect of allocating roles for the party and the military. Thus, “Two Fronts” signals the end to the policy priority debates and the declaration to coordinate party-military bureaucratic rivalry.
As Figure 3 suggests, North Korea’s production system has developed into a compartmentalized system allocating specific production lines in all factories in perpetuity for the military. These features carry on with a production system that shares and divides the vested production rights between the party and the military. Instead of the military dominating specific industries and the production lines within them, the regime has created a cooperative structure for the military to share a portion of the state-run system, creating a sub-system of the whole production system of the state. This accounts for the furtherance of the “Two Fronts” line by the North Korean regime.
Eventually, the “Two Fronts” line of nuclear and economic development brought to a close the policy debate on resource allocation between the defense industry and economic development. It signifies the sectorial coordination of vested rights between the military and the party. Unlike the Cuban FAR, which has achieved institutional autonomy from the party, the Korean People’s Army (KPA) remains under the traditional North Korean framework of party guidance.
Although the interests of the military sector were intruded by a higher ranking party member during 2010–2013, the Two Fronts Line in 2013 settled all inner conflicts by the new division of labor. Under this Line, the party was able to focus solely on economic development, while the business profits by military economic activities were reinvested into weapons of mass destruction (WMD) development. Simply put, the party focused on the economy as a whole, while the military took responsibility for the national security agenda, developing WMD capability. Obviously, the party controls military in the sense that the party directs but not governs the military. 23This is the genuine reason behind the scene for the establishment of new Two Fronts Line.
Cuba has followed the traits of Chinese reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping in 1978. It sent selected military officials to acquire knowledge of capitalism. Also, during the transitional period, the UIM served both the military and civilian sectors. Hierarchic loyalty was created by UIM activities which enriched the military office corps. The FAR’s military entrepreneurship wing managed key industries and economic institutions which became the foundations for military governance.
In contrast, North Korea’s military sectors have decoupled from civilian economic activities. Despite having their own industries, the profits earned have been exclusively spent on WMD development. The “Two Fronts Line” policy determined the division of labor, where the party focuses on the economic development while the military keeps developing the WMD capability by reinvesting its business profits from military economic activities.
In sum, North Korea’s WPK still controls the KPA in “symbiosis” relations, while the Cuban FAR has overshadowed the PCC after long-time militarism. The so-called principle of “Party in Uniform” is still in effect in North Korea, and the party’s guidance on the military endures. The level of autonomy and professionalism of North Korea’s KPA should be viewed as a symbiosis model, which is under dual control of political commissars and direct control within the military rather than a coalitional model. In contrast, Cuba’s FAR began to be considered within the framework of civil-military relations, moving from the party-military (fused) relations model under the communist regime. This leaves the modelization of the FAR, which serves a dual role of being the safety net of the authoritarian regime and the engine for reforms, as a subject for further study.
- Mackubin Thomas Owens, 2012, “What Military Officers Need to Know About Civil-Military Relations,” Naval War College Review, Spring, vol. 65, issue 2, p. 67. ↩
- Samuel Huntington, 1968, Political Order in Changing Societies, New Haven, Yale University Press, p. 196; A.R. Lucham, 1961, “A Comparative Typology of Civil-Military Relation,” Government and Opposition, Vol. 6, p. 21. ↩
- Samuel Finer, 1962, The Man on Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics, London: Pall Mall. ↩
- Gerassimos Karabelias, 1998, Civil-Military Relations: A Comparative Analysis of the Role of the Military in the Political Transformation of Post War Turkey and Greece: 1980–1995, Final Report to NATO, June, p.10. As we know well, Huntington categorized three types of the relations based on the political objectives of the action taken by the officers. Samuel Huntington, 1962, Changing Patterns of Military Politics, New York, Glencoe, pp. 32–33. ↩
- Janowitz classifies the civil-military relations in western states into three categories: aristocratic, democratic and totalitarian. With respect to peripheral states, he classifies civil-military relations into five categories: authoritarian-personal, authoritarian-mass, democratic-competitive, civil-military coalition and military oligarchy. Morris Janowitz, 1964, The Military in the Political Development of New Nations, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, pp. 2–8. ↩
- Guy Pauker, 1959, “Southeast Asia as a Problem Area in the Next Decade,” World Politics, Vol. 6. p. 343. ↩
- Karabelias, op cit., p. 8. ↩
- The former was at least theoretically more powerful than the latter. ↩
- Amos Perlmutter & W. M. LeoGrande, 1982, “Civil-Military Relations in Communist Political Systems,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 76, pp. 778–789. ↩
- Ibid., p. 779. ↩
- Ibid., pp. 781–782. ↩
- In the Soviet case, originally the military was dependent on the Vanguard party because the revolutionary Leninist party distrusted and controlled the military officers from the Czarist army. But as the military acquired more technical professionalism, the stronger became their position and their autonomy. Thus, during 70–80 years, Soviet party-military relations evolved like the map in Figure 2, from dependence through symbiosis to coalition. The coalition model was considered as one of Huntington’s modernization model by Perlmutter and LeoGrande. ↩
- Armando F Mastrapa, III, 2000, “Soldiers and Businessmen: The FAR During the Special Period,” Cuba in Transition — Volume 10, ASCE, pp. 428–432. ↩
- Michael Aranda, 2010, “The Evolution of the Cuban Military: A Comparative Look at the FAR with the Bureaucratic-Authoritarian Model of South America,” Cuba in Transition — Volume 20, ASCE, p. 200. ↩
- Ibid., p. 205. ↩
- “These new FAR decision makers are characterized as the ‘Raulista’ generals, a shift from the charismatic leadership of Fidel to the primarily military bureaucratic leadership of Raul.”Anthony Maingot, 2007, “The Inevitable Transition From Charismatic To Military-Bureaucratic Authority in Cuba,” Report No. 3, Cuban Research Institute, FIU. ↩
- Domingo Amuchastegui, “Cuba’s Armed Forces: Power and Reforms,” Cuba in Transition — Volume 9, ASCE, p. 110. ↩
- Aranda, op.cit., p. 206. ↩
- Yvon Grenier, 2014, “Cultural Policy, Participation and the Gatekeeper State in Cuba,” Cuba in Transition — Volume 24, ASCE, pp. 456–473. ↩
- Daniel I. Pedreira, 2013, “Cuba’s Prospects for a Military Oligarchy,” Cuba in Transition — Volume 23, ASCE, pp. 243–247. ↩
- Vegard Bye, 2012, “The Politics of Cuban Transformation—What Space for Authoritarian Withdrawal?,” Cuba in Transition — Volume 22, ASCE. ↩
- Aranda, op.cit. ↩
- The highest political apparatus in the military, the General Political Bureau of KPA, is under surveillance by the Organization and Guidance Department (OGD) of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). Therefore, Vice-Directors of the OGD, who are originally civilian party commissars, preside over the military. The longstanding OGD directors who are loyal to Supreme leader Kim preside over the Military. ↩