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Democratization and Civil-military Relations in East Asia: Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Evidence


  • Aurel Croissant
  • David Kühn


The recent wave of democratization in East Asia predominantly struck countries in which the armed forces had played a dominant political role under the authoritarian regimes. This article analyzes how and how successful governments in emerging East Asian democracies have crafted civilian control over the military. Starting from theoretical findings of recent research on democratic transition and in military sociology, the authors develop an analytical framework that conceptualizes the institutionalization of civilian control of the military as the result of strategic decisions made by rational actors. The following empirical analysis shows, that most of the emerging democracies in the region still have to cope with considerable constraints on their elected government’s effective power to govern posed by the armed forces. Furthermore, open military intervention and the emergence of new military regimes are still realistic paths in the development of civil-military relations in East Asia.

Suggested Citation

  • Aurel Croissant & David Kühn, 2007. "Democratization and Civil-military Relations in East Asia: Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Evidence," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 26(3), pages 5-54.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:15:y:2007:i:3:p:5-54

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