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Opinion Our toxic civil-military relations

06:30  23 october  2020
06:30  23 october  2020 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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Civil – military relations (Civ-Mil or CMR) describes the relationship between civil society as a whole (and its civil authority) and the military organization or organizations established to protect it.

Civil - military relations have to do with the allocation of responsibilities and prerogatives between the civil government and the military establishment. Civil - military relations can be understood as “Two Hands on the Sword.” The civilian hand determines when the sword is drawn.

Civil-military tensions are nothing new in American history. Indeed, they date from the very founding of the republic. Although there are many examples of unhealthy civil-military relations during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations, the relationship has become dangerously toxic during the Trump presidency.

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President Trump’s critics blame him for current tensions, charging him with upending the “norms” of civil-military relations and undermining the dual pillars of military obedience to civilians and civilian respect for military professionals. They accuse him of demanding loyalty for personal or political reasons.

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Civil – military relations (Civ-Mil or CMR) describes the relationship between civil society as a whole and the military organization or organizations established to protect it. More narrowly, it describes the relationship between the civil authority of a given society and its military authority.

Certainly, his actions have contributed. Yet the military, especially the retired community, has made things worse by forgetting or ignoring the fact that the Constitution authorizes the president to make national policy, whether it approves of that policy or not. The military is obligated to offer its advice to the president. It has no right to demand that its advice be accepted.

Trump entered the White House as an outsider who came under fire from the national security community even before he was elected. Its concern seemed valid. After all, during the 2016 campaign, Trump voiced skepticism about the direction of the foreign and defense policies of his predecessors, arguing against the verities of the post-9/11 “consensus.”

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Civil - Military Relations . RAND research on civil - military relations includes studies of how a military employs civilian contractors, how military bases interact with their neighbors, and how a nation's military affects its politics—and vice versa.

Significant figures in civil - military relations [edit]. The list is preliminary and many do not have entries in Wikipedia. If you are interested in taking on one of those entries Also, if there are other who have or are making significant contributions to the field of civil - military relations , please add them.

There were two versions of this view. One, advanced by the McCain-Romney wing of the Republican Party, held that the United States could remake the world in its own democratic image by military and diplomatic action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another, embraced by President Barack Obama, held that the U.S. could advance peace and prosperity by deferring to the United Nations and other international organizations. In particular, Trump criticized America’s overseas commitments, including the effort in Afghanistan, called into question the value of NATO, and argued the U.S. was being undone by its adherence to free trade.

From the outset, Trump faced not only external but also internal resistance to his national security policies. This resistance was immediate and bipartisan. But originally, his vocal opponents were diplomats, members of the intelligence community, and academics. Largely missing were retired military officers. Indeed, the president brought a number of retired and active generals into his administration.

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Securing Our Future. International Security Program. Civil - Military Relations . This project seeks to characterize changes in the civil - military dynamic, understand how they may affect major areas of national security and foreign policy, and develop recommended courses of action for civilians and

Civil - Military Relations Transformed. Article in Journal of Democracy 23(1):100-108 · January 2012 with 31 Reads. How we measure 'reads'. This article examines how civilian - military relations in Turkey have transformed from a guardianship of the military to civilian control.

What has changed, dangerously so, is that Trump is now under attack by not only anonymous active-duty officers but also retired military officers. The latter is more problematic. It has become routine, unfortunately, for retired officers to line up to endorse candidates. But it is unprecedented, and dangerous, for retired officers to attack a sitting president publicly using contemptuous language that, were they still on active duty, would put them in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

As citizens, retired officers have the right to speak out. But they should also be guided by prudence. As the esteemed military historian Richard Kohn has remarked, retired general and flag officers are akin to the cardinals of the Catholic Church. When they speak, they are perceived to speak for the military in general. Their public attacks on Trump have served to undermine his trust in the military.

For example, retired Adm. William McRaven wrote in a recent op-ed, “If this president doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office — Republican, Democrat or independent — the sooner, the better. The fate of our Republic depends upon it.”

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“ Civil and military cooperation has ceased completely. NATO itself has dropped any positive agenda in relations with Russia. Since 2014, relations between NATO and Moscow have rapidly deteriorated and the military bloc claimed there can be no “business as usual” after Moscow’s reunification with

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McRaven here exacerbates tensions by undermining the mutual trust that lies at the heart of healthy civil-military relations. Such rhetoric encourages insubordination within the military, undermining any president’s expectation that his lawful policy preferences will be vigorously executed.

Officers, of course, swear an oath to the Constitution, not to an individual. But any president should be able to expect the loyalty of the officer corps to support an administration’s policy once a decision has been made; it is the president, not an imaginary “security community,” who has the constitutional authority to make national policy. His critics also misconstrue Trump’s expectation of loyalty: It is not personal or political but acceptance of his perfectly reasonable goal of ending conflicts such as the one in Afghanistan in order to focus on threats such as China.

Trump’s opponents have attempted to drive a wedge between the president and the military. The Atlantic story alleging — anonymously, of course — that he disparaged fallen Americans during a visit to France two years ago is only the most recent example. The attacks by some retired officers on Trump’s response to the riots earlier this year are another.

A far more irresponsible example is the “open letter” from two retired Army officers to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff conjuring up a nightmare scenario, Trump refusing to leave office after losing the election of 2020, in order to call for the chairman to exercise unconstitutional discretion by using the military to remove him. The Washington Examiner's own Byron York, as sober a journalist as there is, has labeled this an example of “coup porn.”

America must leave politics out of the military in this heated election

  America must leave politics out of the military in this heated election The candidates invoke the armed forces when it is convenient.Another foundation of our republic is the role of our armed forces. Under the guidance of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which provides that "congress shall have the power to raise and support armies...to provide and maintain a Navy", with the powers to declare war and dictate the governing rules of the services. Those forces operate on the good faith of the American people, whose taxes fund those forces, under the supreme law of the land.

As York notes, Joe Biden has chimed in on the issue. In response to a question about the possibility of Trump losing and refusing to leave office, Biden answered that he had indeed thought about it: "And I was so damn proud — you have four chiefs of staff coming out and ripping the skin off of Trump. And you have so many rank-and-file military personnel saying, 'Whoa, we're not a military state. That is not who we are.' I promise you, I am absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch."

Calling for the removal of the military from civilian oversight by granting it alone the authority to resolve political disputes smacks of “praetorianism,” something usually associated with countries such as Turkey and Egypt. In these countries, the army is the real power behind the government. Nothing can be more dangerous to healthy civil-military relations than normalizing the view that the military is the protector of republican government. Indeed, in today’s political climate, such a view could contribute to, if not trigger, a constitutional crisis.

The current state of civil-military relations is toxic. The missing element is trust, the mutual respect and understanding between civilian and military leaders. Both the uniformed military and the president bear responsibility for this situation. But the retired officer community has been particularly irresponsible. It has failed to take into account the public consequences of its statements. It has failed to realize how its public statements also undermine trust between the military and the president. In short, it has failed to exercise prudence.

Mackubin Owens is a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and author of U.S. Civil-Military Relations After 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain . He is currently writing a history of U.S. civil-military relations.

Tags: Military, National Security, Donald Trump, Pentagon

Original Author: Mackubin Owens

Original Location: Our toxic civil-military relations

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usr: 7
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