Revolution

Dec 2008
7
Bulgaria
#1
I lived in Turkey about a year ago during the new Presidents election there. The week before the election the military began to show signs of revolution against the candidate by flying armed planes over the city and driving tanks down the main streets. I got me thinking why a common soldier would choose to uproot the current social power. For the US soldier most think that this is the unthinkable. So how did the Americans manage to control their military to prevent such occurances? I mean, looking back through history, revolution is a common theme. How did they get it right?
 
Jun 2008
5
#2
I guess its all down too how happy the soldiers are with the people in charge. For example why would a soldier put his life on the line when he is happy with his lot in life. It is when the populace are angry with the people in charge that they will be willing to risk their lives for a revolution.
 

Nick

Historum Emeritas
Jul 2006
6,111
UK
#3
In that case why wasn't Tony Blair overthrown when he invaded Iraq?
An angry population doesn't guarantee revolution (riots in Greece). It normally happens in disaster situations when the system is seen to have failed (France 1789) and no plausible alternative exists (eg Charles I's failure to adapt to change). To be successful you need a large organised opposition with competent leaders in touch with the people (Lenin, Mao, Cromwell, Washington)
Most Brits are angry with Labour's betrayal and incompetent management of the economic situation but they still have faith in democracy (vote against them at the next election)
 

Lucius

Forum Staff
Jan 2007
16,363
Nebraska
#4
Well, the US is not the only country in which "active participation" by the military in the "election campaign" of a candidate for high office is unknown. As an American, there is the possibility that I "can't see the forest for the trees" in this matter. But since we're just talking here, I won't let ignorance stand in the way.

I can't but think that it has something to do with the fact that the US is a large, rich, and mostly empty country. Add to that the fact that there has always been a lot of inter-marriage between the various "nationalities" which emigrated to the US. Add to that the fact that in America, the "ruling class" is "descended" from a "nobility" of "gentleman farmers," as opposed to some sort of "warrior caste." Add to that the fact that there was never a need for a large army - there was never a "standing threat" along any border.

But even having said all that, the first, and perhaps only, reason why the military does not "intervene" in elections is that there is no party on whose behalf they could meaningfully intervene. There's just not that much difference between the donkeys and the elephants. This is the great virtue of the two-party system - they're always trying to edge each other off the middle of the road and to portray the other side as the extremists.

The one area I can think of where the military establishment impinges directly on politics is the budget. Calculating the defense budget is "tricky," but since the '60s, the respective budgets of the Army, Navy, and Air Force have always been within a few percentage points of being equal. I'm certainly no expert, but can it really be true that this division is always the optimal use of the "defense dollar?" It sure looks like the fix is in.
 
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avon

Forum Staff
May 2008
14,253
#5
Well, the US is not the only country in which "active participation" by the military in the "election campaign" of a candidate for high office is unknown. As an American, there is the possibility that I "can't see the forest for the trees" in this matter. But since we're just talking here, I won't let ignorance stand in the way.

I can't but think that it has something to do with the fact that the US is a large, rich, and mostly empty country. Add to that the fact that there has always been a lot of inter-marriage between the various "nationalities" which emigrated to the US. Add to that the fact that in America, the "ruling class" is "descended" from a "nobility" of "gentleman farmers," as opposed to some sort of "warrior caste." Add to that the fact that there was never a need for a large army - there was never a "standing threat" along any border.

But even having said all that, the first, and perhaps only, reason why the military does not "intervene" in elections is that there is no party on whose behalf they could meaningfully intervene. There's just not that much difference between the donkeys and the elephants. This is the great virtue of the two-party system - they're always trying to edge each other off the middle of the road and to portray the other side as the extremists.

The one area I can think of where the military establishment impinges directly on politics is the budget. Calculating the defense budget is "tricky," but since the '60s, the respective budgets of the Army, Navy, and Air Force have always been within a few percentage points of being equal. I'm certainly no expert, but can it really be true that this division is always the optimal use of the "defense dollar?" It sure looks like the fix is in.
Good post.
 

avon

Forum Staff
May 2008
14,253
#6
In that case why wasn't Tony Blair overthrown when he invaded Iraq?
Because anger and the desire to protest only came about by disagreement of one issue. Other than the Iraq war, the overwhelming proportion of the population were very satisfied with the Labour Government. The General Election results 2001 and 2005 show this.

Most Brits are angry with Labour's betrayal and incompetent management of the economic situation but they still have faith in democracy (vote against them at the next election)
What betrayal are you talking about here??

I assume that by 'most Brits' you are referring to the southern England Tory-stronghold. I think it remains reasonable to suggest that most 'Brits' north of Oxfordshire realise that the present economic situation is not the fault of the present government and not many of them would like to see David Cameron and the (s)Tory Party attempt to 'manage' the situation.
 

Nick

Historum Emeritas
Jul 2006
6,111
UK
#7
Labour and the Tories are as bad as each other. Neither party cares about ordinary people.
Labour betrayed us by attacking Iraq despite the fact almost everyone was against it (just like the Tories under Thatcher who tried to gain popularity by getting involved in foreign wars). Their handling of the recession was terrible: they borrow too much money and failed to protect the workers (people like me are unemployed thanks to them)
 

avon

Forum Staff
May 2008
14,253
#8
Labour and the Tories are as bad as each other. Neither party cares about ordinary people.
Labour betrayed us by attacking Iraq despite the fact almost everyone was against it (just like the Tories under Thatcher who tried to gain popularity by getting involved in foreign wars). Their handling of the recession was terrible: they borrow too much money and failed to protect the workers (people like me are unemployed thanks to them)
But why does borrowing money make for bad economic management?? I'm no economist but would tend to agree that in the face of a 'threatening' recession, the best medicine would be to spend, spend, spend. If you have no money to do this, you need to borrow. Spend now, deal with the problem later when (hopefully) the threat will have dissipated. (As I say, I'm no economist!!)

What I do find quite startling in your post is the assumption that the government seems to be charged with a duty to protect the worker. Surely, the any government's primary responsibility is towards the economy as a whole and not simply to the workers.

As an aside, and I am no position to comment on your personal circumstance, I always tend towards the view that each person is responsible for their own employment. I disagree that it is because of the government that anyone is unemployed.

(I thought you were studying??)

:)
 

Nick

Historum Emeritas
Jul 2006
6,111
UK
#9
But why does borrowing money make for bad economic management?? I'm no economist but would tend to agree that in the face of a 'threatening' recession, the best medicine would be to spend, spend, spend. If you have no money to do this, you need to borrow. Spend now, deal with the problem later when (hopefully) the threat will have dissipated. (As I say, I'm no economist!!)

What I do find quite startling in your post is the assumption that the government seems to be charged with a duty to protect the worker. Surely, the any government's primary responsibility is towards the economy as a whole and not simply to the workers.

As an aside, and I am no position to comment on your personal circumstance, I always tend towards the view that each person is responsible for their own employment. I disagree that it is because of the government that anyone is unemployed.

(I thought you were studying??)

:)
Because we'll have to pay it back later (with interest), losing more than we originally borrowed. They haven't thought about the consequences in the future (taxpayers money repaying debts or wasted on the olympics rather than improving living conditions for the poor). The people, not the government, should be the ones spending (what better time now everything's cheap?).
Preserving capitalism is a neccessary evil (keeps us employed and enables people to provide for their family). However the workers should have priority as they're the ones who are suffering most (i used to do part time work but can't now as everyone's reducing their staff to cut costs). Other people are struggling to survive on benefits and many can't even get those. What's needed are laws protecting the rights of the workers, nationalisation of the most important industries (especially public transport and heavy industry) and higher taxes on imported goods that could be produced domestically.
 

avon

Forum Staff
May 2008
14,253
#10
Because we'll have to pay it back later (with interest), losing more than we originally borrowed. They haven't thought about the consequences in the future (taxpayers money repaying debts or wasted on the olympics rather than improving living conditions for the poor). The people, not the government, should be the ones spending (what better time now everything's cheap?).

Ummm ... you're kidding, right?? I must say that I'm just happy that you're not the Chancellor of the Exchequer.;)

If we borrow now, then we have money to prop-up a straining economic infrastructure. When the situation eases, that infrastructure will be intact and recovery should be quick and easy. As we become stronger more quickly the debt can be serviced (with interest) without too much difficulty. As much as it pains any debtor to service their debts, borrowing is essential in the first instance. If the Government doesn't spend, then the people won't be able to spend. The consequences of that happening is cyclic: the Government cannot raise sufficient revenue through normal means, they cannot spend and must raise loans to meet their basic requirements (defense, education, health etc.). This would also entail further default on existing loans, and the additional penalty of being forced to borrow at a higher rate of interest which means increased borrowing with incrementally increased repayments. So, to say that the people and not the government should be spending is somewhat short-sighted. The people AND the government must spend.

Preserving capitalism is a neccessary evil (keeps us employed and enables people to provide for their family). However the workers should have priority as they're the ones who are suffering most (i used to do part time work but can't now as everyone's reducing their staff to cut costs). Other people are struggling to survive on benefits and many can't even get those. What's needed are laws protecting the rights of the workers, nationalisation of the most important industries (especially public transport and heavy industry) and higher taxes on imported goods that could be produced domestically.
Define 'worker'. Define 'suffering'. Explain WHY and in what ways the 'workers' are 'suffering' more than anyone else. (It seems to me that there are many people who are really suffering and depend on government spending for their very survival.)

IF there were laws protecting the rights of workers - and I'm assuming that you mean protection against unemployment and wage loss etc. - then you would surely end up with an employee driven marketplace. The 'worker' would be able to dictate to an 'over-the-barrel' government/employee almost all economic policy. The result: starvation at worst, stagnation at best - Brezhnevshchina all over again. That might be good enough for you, but not for me!!

i used to do part time work but can't now as everyone's reducing their staff to cut costs.
Sorry to hear that!!