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«A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University in partial fulfillment of the ...»

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29 a necessary (though not sufficient) condition for devolution, while high levels of external threat compels centralization. The forms of coercive institutions that exist in the world do so because they are effective in defending states from a combination of internal and external adversaries. Those forms that do not work are eliminated through competitive pressure.53 Beyond the functional boundaries which limit institutional success or failure, neo-institutionalism complements organizational theory by focusing on the dynamic material and ideational factors that drive coordinated interactions. Without eschewing effectiveness as a bedrock condition for institutional survival, this approach makes inferences about both mechanisms of institutional change and stability, disaggregating the conditions that generate state institutions at inchoate critical junctures from those conditions responsible for reproduction when patterns of behavior are consolidated.54 A crucial insight is that successful institutions are stable but not static. Rather, institutions become self-sustaining by becoming self-correcting. One important mechanism is organizational inertia. Particularly for militaries, where repeated drilling is key for largescale operations, once procedures are set through incentive structures and normative rules, it becomes progressively harder to replace and easier to duplicate them.55 At the same time, strategically-minded actors within an organization find new applications for 53

Jack Hirshliefer, The Dark Side of the Force: Economic Foundations of Conflict Theory (New York:

Cambridge University Press, 2001).

54 Peter Hall and Rosemary Taylor, “Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms,” Political Studies, 44:5 (1996); André Lecours, “New Institutionalism: Issues and Questions,” in André Lecours, ed., New Institutionalism: Theory and Analysis (Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2005).

55 Bertrand M. Roehner and Tony Syme, Pattern and Repertoire in History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002), 22-3; Paul Pierson, “Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, and the Study of Politics,” American Political Science Review, 94:2 (2000).

30 old institutionalized patterns and manipulate existing organizational norms to redefine the institutional identity and mission. Such bounded innovation involves continually borrowing, imitating, and learning from past experience and from the example of others.56 As Martin Van Creveld argues, “war represents perhaps the most imitative activity known to man,” with LDSs in particular constantly seek out military technology and training from other states in an effort to gain competitive advantage.57 The pressure of competition with other violence wielders can be seen as a catalyst of military institutional innovation whose trajectory depends on the type of security web in which states are ensconced and the threats which they face.58 On one hand, a militarily devolved state facing considerable risk from neighbors possessing a larger, centralized army capable of force projection has two choices: The first is self help, undertaking the difficult process of building a larger, more potent military of its own to deter or defeat its external challenger. The second is to seek the protection of a larger power. Many LDSs became proxies in the Cold War’s bipolar competition and depended heavily on their provision of military, diplomatic, and economic assistance. Some sponsoring states actually recommended that their clients focus exclusively on internal security and adopt 56 Colin Crouch and Henry Farrell, “Breaking the Path of Institutional Development?: Alternatives to the New Determinism,” Rationality & Society 16:1 (2004); Kathleen Thelen, How Institutions Evolve: The Political Economy of Skills in Germany, Britain, the United States, and Japan (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

57 Martin Van Creveld, The Transformation of War (New York: Free Press, 1991), 95; David B. Ralston, Importing the European Army: The Introduction of European Military Techniques and Institutions into the Extra-European World, 1600-1914 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990).

58 Robert M. Rosh, “Third World Militarization: Security Webs and the States They Ensnare,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 32:4 (1988); A.F. Mullins, Jr., Born Arming: Development and Military Power in News States (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987). Even Wendt and Barnett, who emphasize cultural diffusion of military norms, detect an “action-reaction dynamic” among competing states. See Alexander Wendt and Michael Barnett, “Dependent State Formation and Third World Militarization,” Review of International Studies, 19 (1994).

31 military devolution.59 But the guarantees offered by great powers to client states are never absolute. In fact, the goal of the superpower sponsor is always to use the client to its own advantage and thus the imposition of superpower rivalry as often aggravates as ameliorates regional conflict. Ultimately, states facing hostile neighbors risk predation, loss of status, territory, or elimination if they do not borrow or develop centralized military capacity. On the other hand, a state surrounded by relatively innocuous neighbors can afford to have only a loose hold over the use of force internally. Under such conditions, no state has the capability to conduct aggression against the other and thus no reason to adopt military centralization.60 The sensitivity of these pathways to contextual conditions requires examination beyond the periods of institutional consolidation to prior moments of institutional configuration at critical junctures, when powerful and willful political actors seized opportunities to establish norms and construct incentive structures that defined organizational behavior.61 Among LDSs, it is difficult to underestimate the role of colonial and imperial interventions in setting the trajectories of political and social 59 Superpower support is key feature in the maintenance of sultanistic regimes, where there is little beyond the patrimonial control over force. See H.E. Chehabi and Juan J. Linz, “A Theory of Sultanism 1: A Type of Non-Democratic Rule,” in H.E. Chehabi and Juan J. Linz, eds., Sultanistic Regimes (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), 12; For historical discussion of U.S. involvement in setting up militias in Latin America, see Adam Jones, “Parainstitutional Violence in Latin America,” Latin American Politics & Society, 46:4 (2004); On the Soviet’s propagation of peasant or party militias, see Adam Roberts, Nations in Arms: Theory and Practice of Territorial Defense (New York: Praeger, 1976).





60 J. David Singer and Melvin Small, Resort to Arms (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1982); Arie M. Kacowicz,

Zones of Peace in the Third World: South America and West Africa in Comparative Perspective (Albany:

State University of New York Press, 1998), 38-9, 194.

61 Jack Goldstone, “Initial Conditions, General Laws, and Path Dependence in Historical Sociology,” American Journal of Sociology, 104:3 (1998); Giovani Capoccio and R. Daniel Kelemen, “The Study of Critical Junctures: Theory, Narrative, and Counterfactuals in Historical Institutionalism,” World Politics 59:3 (2007).

32 development. For militaries, early combat experiences locked-in organizational structures, procedures, and identities, often with unintended long-term consequences.62 For many LDSs, the inheritance of a conventional, European-style army was part and parcel of the imperialist legacy, either when directly implanted by a European overlord or imported by an indigenous elite aiming to stave-off foreign domination. Even when poorly equipped, under-funded, and distrusted by their colonial masters, these armies were decisively conventional in format, generally imitating the coercive institutions that had emerged through centuries of European war. The colonial military was a dedicated career track, where competence and professionalism, while not always present in fact, were at least valued in theory. Its mission was to prevent the bulk of the population from obtaining the means of violence to use against the ruling elite. The recruitment of soldiers from preferred or loyal ‘martial races,’ typically minorities, insulated the military from the masses.63 The negotiation of decolonization, then, involved a bequeathal of models taken directly from Europe’s unique military development to post-colonial successors.

In contrast, when colonial states broke down in the face of revolutionary insurgency, LDSs inherited very different structures. Anti-colonial struggles activated locally-based networks of coercion and self-defense, producing overlapping networks of opportunists and politically-motivated ideologues, all of whom had reason to resist the 62 Eliot Cohen, “Distant Battles: Modern War in the Third World,” International Security, 10:4 (1986);

Black, “Military Organization and Military Change”.

63 Claude Welch, “Continuity and Discontinuity in African Military Organisations,” Journal of Modern African Studies 13:2 (1975); David Killingray, “Guardians of Empire,” in David Killingray and David

Omissi, eds., Guardians of Empire: The Armed Forces of the Colonial Powers, c. 1700-1964 (New York:

St. Martin’s Press, 1999).

33 imposition of the colonial states. Mingling criminal and political motives, local actors vied to appropriate the revolutionary mantle, claiming a connection between their own cause and that of the national struggle. Revolutionary elites acted as brokers who knit together a fabric of local violence wielders into the revolutionary army and bestowed nationalist legitimacy on essentially parochial interests. Thus, both top-down and bottom-up processes in violent decolonization combined to make the ranks of the new revolutionary army a ready-made militia force, flexible, expansive, and holding an identity and sense of mission distinct from a conventional, professional fighting force.64 Puzzle and Propositions Given the common properties of state sovereignty in the international system and the diffusion of similar models of formal state attributes, the question remains of why some states exercise greater control over violence than others. Are states that collude with non-state actors necessarily doomed to fail, as many who examine the prevalence of militias allege?65 While many states not only accommodate but also encourage militias, 64 Charles King, “The Micropolitics of Social Violence,” World Politics, 56:3 (2004); Doug McAdams, Sidney Tarrow, and Charles Tilly, Dynamics of Contention (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 333.

65 Robert Bates, When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 147-8; Robert Rotberg, “The New Nature of Nation-State Failure,” Washington 34 relatively few succumb to failure. A better way to frame the puzzle, then, is to ask why LDSs organize coercion differently, along the spectrum from centralized to decentralized control.66 Rather than identify violence devolution as a symptom of state dysfunction, the synthesis of organizational and neo-institutional theory provides a more nuanced perspective on the processes that drive military development and locates specific historical episodes of state formation that spur such development. This synthetic theory, then, helps account for both violence devolution and centralization and examines what causes the emergence and durability of each over time. Formally, these hypotheses can

be articulated as follows:

1. The origin of violence devolution depends on different legacies of decolonization, particularly whether decolonization occurred through violence or through negotiation. If guerrillas were active, a new-born state tended to appropriate the networks of local violence wielders, converting them from anti-colonial insurgents into pro-state militias. If, on the other hand, decolonization occurred through negotiation, new states inherited the military organizational patterns of the departing colonial powers, which were generally centralized and bureaucratic

–  –  –

2. The persistence of these differing forms of coercive institutions depends on the permissive conditions of the external environment. If states face strong external Quarterly, 25:3 (2002): 87; John Mueller, The Remnants of War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004);

Martin Van Creveld, The Rise and Decline of the State (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999);

Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars: Organizing Violence in a Global Era (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999 [2007]).

66 Gary King and Langche Zeng, “Improving Forecasts of State Failure,” World Politics, 53:4 (2001).

35 competitors and the threat of war, then they are forced to adopt (or retain) a centralized military format in order to defend against external predation. If, on the other hand, the regional environment is pacific, either because of the ongoing intervention of great powers or the relative impotence of regional rivals, then these states can persist in violence devolution.

The pathway diagram in Figure 2.7 summarizes these arguments schematically.

–  –  –

In pathway N1, a centralized state faces high external threat and thus remains centralized.

This pathway represents a recapitulation of Europe’s trajectory.67 In pathway R1, a revolutionary state is initially reliant on decentralized coercive control but is then forced by external pressure to centralize. This pathway is best described by Theda Skocpol’s work on the impact of international pressure on regime consolidation during and after the French, Russian, and Chinese revolutions, where external threat compelled new elites to

–  –  –

decentralized states face little pressure and thus continue the devolution of violence. In their respective studies of Latin America and Africa, Miguel Centeno and Jeffrey Herbst depict how low initial endowments of military capacity at the time of decolonization stymied efforts to centralize control over force. Shielded from the pressure of interstate competition, though, leaders focused on the enemy within without having to subjugate force to the state’s bureaucratic controls. Limited wars, then, led to limited states.69 Finally, the endpoint of pathway N2 is indeterminant, as states that begin with military centralization but little external pressure can remain centralized or devolve violence with little risk.



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