chapter  X
28 Pages

Assessing the Military's Role in Soviet Politics

ByRoman Kolkowicz

Most military establishments have in common a number of characteristics which reflect their natural drive toward autonomy and their inherent professionalism. The emergence of the modern army and of the modem military man has deeply affected the power relationships within most states. The elitism, detachment, discipline, and apolitical tendency of military professionals have bred violent distrust as well as passionate championship of the military institution. Among its strong supporters have been bourgeois civilian writers as Carlyle, Treitschke, Nietzsche, Kipling, Theodore Roosevelt, and Thiers. A generally accepted yardstick for the political power of a party or faction in most political systems is the extent to which it is represented in the decision-making political bodies. Such a statistical approach has many merits: using "hard" rather than the more subjective "soft" variables, it is probably the only one that permits quantifiable assessments, and it therefore lends itself to comparative analyses.