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Hungary: A Historically Apolitical Military  

Tamás Csiki Varga and András Rácz

In Hungary, the military has traditionally not played a significant political role since the country became independent following World War I. Though various changes of regime and political transitions have taken place, these did not involve the military in any notable role. Even when the historical context offered an opportunity for the military to gain a determining political role (i.e., during the 1956 revolution or possibly the 1989 regime change), apolitical traditions, institutional checks, and civilian control, as well as a lack of will from the armed forces, prevented such outcomes. The main reason why Hungarian armed forces have never interfered in politics is not the historical traditions of civilian control over the armed forces, but actually the lack of them. Before 1989, the armed forces have always been directly subordinated to the actual highest political leadership, which was above everyday party politics. Consequently, the armed forces too have historically stayed out of everyday politics, with the partial exception of the Communist era, when the army was heavily politicized according to the Soviet model. Nevertheless, the periods when the armed forces became politicized or played an active political role have later always been considered as anomalies by the subsequent political systems. After 1989, along with the democratic transition a full-fledged, functional system of civilian control over the armed forces was established. Early-21st-century norms and practices of civilian control over the Hungarian Defense Forces (HDF) are institutionally fully aligned with the practices of any democratic North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or European Union (EU) member state in this regard, prohibiting the possibility of any political participation of the HDF or even its members. Legal and institutional checks, as well as the apolitical socialization of service members support this tradition.

Article

Learning and Crisis  

Edward Deverell

Crises shake societies and organizations to their foundation. Public authorities, private companies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and members of the general public all have a role to play in managing crises. From a public administration perspective, however, responsibility clearly falls on politicians and strategic decision makers in public authorities. The task to manage crises is getting increasingly challenging, with more actors and sectors involved, unclear lines of accountability, and close connections between risks, organizations, networks, and interests. This means that the fundamental opportunity to improve structures for crisis management and preparedness, which requires learning from previous experiences, is increasing in salience. Previous research into the political dimensions of crisis management holds that learning is a key part of crisis management and a fundamental challenge to crisis leadership. The criteria that set crises apart from day-to-day work—that is, core values at stake, time pressure, and substantial uncertainty—also challenge the learning parts of crisis management. Learning in relation to crisis is essential for earnest investigation into what went wrong and why the crisis occurred, and, moreover, to make sure that it does not happen again. As organizations play a key role in crisis management, organizational learning is a useful concept to explore learning in relation to crises. Furthermore, the concept of crisis-induced learning has proven salient in bridging the literatures of crisis management and learning. Crisis-induced learning is understood as purposeful efforts, triggered by a perceived crisis and carried out by members of an organization working within a community of inquiry. These efforts, in turn, lead to new understanding and behavior on the basis of that understanding. The concept of crisis-induced learning can help add clarity to what learning is in relation to crises and who the learning agents are in these processes. Other important theorizing efforts in bridging crisis and learning include categorizing learning into its cognitive and behavioral aspects as well as its temporal aspects including inter- and intra-crisis learning. Finally, relating to issues of methodology, it is useful to distil ways to measure and analyze learning and to explain how crisis-induced learning is distinguished from other types of experiential learning.

Article

Myanmar: Civil–Military Relations in a Tutelary Regime  

Marco Bünte

Myanmar has had one of the longest ruling military regimes in the world. Ruling directly or indirectly for more than five decades, Myanmar’s armed forces have been able to permeate the country’s main political institutions, its economy, and its society. Myanmar is a highly revealing case study for examining the trajectory of civil–military relations over the past seven decades. Myanmar ended direct military rule only in 2011 after the military had become the most powerful institution in society, weakened the political party opposition severely, coopted several ethnic armed groups, and built up a business empire that allowed it to remain financially independent. The new tutelary regime—established in 2011 after proclaiming a roadmap to “discipline flourishing democracy” in 2003, promulgating a new constitution in 2008, and holding (heavily scripted) elections in 2010—allowed a degree of power-sharing between elected civilian politicians and the military for a decade. Although policymaking in economic, financial, and social arenas was transferred to the elected government, the military remained in firm control of external and internal security and continued to be completely autonomous in the management of its own affairs. As a veto power, the military was also able to protect its prerogatives from a position of strength. Despite this dominant position in the government, civil–military relations were hostile and led to a coup in February 2021. The military felt increasingly threatened and humiliated as civilians destroyed the guardrails it had put in place to protect its core interests within the tutelary regime. The military also felt increasingly alienated as the party the military had established repeatedly failed to perform in the elections.

Article

Thailand: Camouflaged Khakistocracy in Civil–Military Relations  

Paul W. Chambers

The history of civil–military relations in Thailand has paralleled the gradual post-1980 primacy of monarchical power over the country. Until 1932, the monarchy ruled absolute across Siam (Thailand). From 1932 until 1980, the military held more clout than the monarchy (though the palace slowly increased its influence after 1957). Since 1980, monarchy and military have dominated the country with the military as junior partner. The two form a khakistocracy: the military’s uniform color of khaki combined with the aristocracy (monarchy). Though there have been brief instances of elected civilian governments, all were overthrown by the military. In fact, Thailand likely holds the record for the highest number of military putsches in the world. Since the death of King Bhumipol Adulyadej in 2016, the clout of the armed forces has become more centralized under his successor and son King Maha Vajiralongkorn. At the same time, post-2019 Prime Minister (and post-2014 junta leader) General Prayuth Chanocha has sought to entrench military power across Thailand. As a result, in 2021, the monarchy and military continue to enhance authoritarian rule as a khakistocracy camouflaged behind the guise of a charade form of democracy. Civil–military relations represent exclusively a partnership between the monarch and the armed forces.

Article

Collaborative Governance  

Joris Voets, Taco Brandsen, Christopher Koliba, and Bram Verschuere

Collaborative governance (CG) refers to a mode of policy and service delivery that shifts away from government- or market-centric settings to a setting in which public, private nonprofit, and private business actors are jointly involved in and accountable for policymaking and service delivery to create public value that could otherwise not be achieved. This mode has arisen as a result of societal issues’ becoming increasingly “wicked,” lacking consensus about what the exact nature of the problem is and what the appropriate solutions are (e.g., migration and refugees, climate change, poverty). These CG networks can often be fragmented and deprived of resources as part of increased fiscal stress, stimulating the search for cross-boundary arrangements for policy and management. Consequently, both practitioners and academics explore how more and better collaboration between semi-autonomous actors with different interests and resources can be achieved in efforts to tackle wicked issues. CG refers to a trend, an era, a practice, a paradigm, and a holistic framework. While there are variations in the way scholars conceptualize or define it as a model, some common features can be discerned. CG is about identifying/being aware of/dealing with the initial conditions of collaboration and the broader context or system in which cross-sectoral governance is situated. We seek ways of structuring and institutionalizing the collaboration in smart and effective ways that are deemed critical to achieving success and performance. The intentional and deliberative design and implementation of CG arrangements can result from deeper awareness of process and structure, as well as requiring active and smart management strategies and leadership roles to be used and played, while acknowledging the importance of being aware of downsides, risks, and constraints in doing so. Effective CG must be accountable, it must lead to public value and effective outcomes, and, in many countries, it must be democratically legitimate.

Article

Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe  

Stanisław Mazur

In the early 1990s, the Central and Eastern European countries (CEE countries) saw the collapse of communist regimes and an unprecedented political and economic transformation that resulted in the establishment of democratic, law-governed states and market economies. Administrative reforms, which became an important milestone in this transformation, were considerably influenced both by administrative legacies predominant in the countries and by the Europeanization processes associated with their accession to the European Union. The administrative legacies, which combine elements of various traditions (e.g., German, Napoleonic, and Anglo-American) are still strongly affected by what is left of the communist era. Conversely, the impact of Europeanization processes on public administrations in CEE countries has proved to be much weaker than initially expected. The process of building a professional and apolitical civil service in CEE countries has been plagued by discontinuity and inconsistency, owing to the specific administrative culture of the region, the weakening pressure to modernize EU institutions, and the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis, as well as growing populist tendencies in the region. All these factors encouraged the belief that political control over public administration needs to be tightened in order for the effectiveness and quality of governance mechanisms to be improved. The quality of governance and public management varies widely across the CEE countries. What they have in common—at least to some extent—is the fairly high dynamics of change, including the reversal of the effects of previously implemented reforms. The latter factor may be interpreted as a search for country-specific reform paths, partly due to disappointment with the values and models prevailing in Western Europe, and somewhat as a consequence of growing populist tendencies in the region.

Article

Regulatory Governance: History, Theories, Strategies, and Challenges  

David Levi-Faur, Yael Kariv-Teitelbaum, and Rotem Medzini

Regulation, that is, rulemaking, rule monitoring, and rule enforcement, is both a key policy and legal instrument and a pillar of the institutions that demarcate political, social, and economic lives. It is commonly defined as a sustained and focused control mechanism over valuable activities using direct and indirect rules. Most frequently, regulation is associated with the activity of public independent regulatory agencies, designed to promote economic, social, risk-management, integrity, or moral goals. Since the 1990s, more and more states worldwide are establishing such agencies and placing more emphasis on the use of authority, rules, and standard-setting, thus partially displacing earlier emphasis on public ownerships and directly provided services. Alongside this rise of the “regulatory state,” the expansion of regulation is also reflected in the rapidly growing variety of regulatory regimes that involves nonstate actors, such as private regulation, self-regulation, and civil regulation. Regulatory regimes can be explained and assessed from three theoretical perspectives: public-interest theories, private-interest theories, and institutional theories. Each perspective shines a different light on the motivations of the five regulatory actors: rule-makers, rule intermediaries, rule-takers, rule beneficiaries, and citizens. Over the years, diverse regulatory strategies evolved, including: prescriptive strategies that attempt to mandate adherence in precise terms what is required from the rule-takers; performance-based strategies that set in advance only the required outcomes; and process-based strategies that attempt to influence the internal incentives and norms of rule-takers. Although it appears that regulation is here to stay as a keystone of society, it still faces fundamental challenges of effectiveness, democratic control, and fairness.

Article

The Republic of the Congo: The Colonial Origins of Military Rule  

Joshua Shaw and Brett Carter

The Republic of Congo secured its independence from France in 1960. The French colonial apparatus bequeathed an ethnically divided society. Native southerners dominated the sprawling civil service and, owing to their demographic advantage, elected Congo’s first two presidents, themselves both southerners. Native northerners, otherwise marginalized economically and politically, dominated the military’s rank and file. This cleavage has animated Congolese politics since. In 1969, a clique of northern military officers toppled the southern-dominated Brazzaville government. Among its members was former paratrooper Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has ruled Congo for all but 5 years since 1979. His tenure has been marked by massive corruption, gross economic mismanagement, and persistent human rights abuses. Accordingly, despite its status as one of Africa’s leading oil producers, Congolese citizens remain among the world’s poorest. To secure his political survival, Sassou Nguesso has used Congo’s longstanding ethnic cleavage as a tool: by directing state resources to northerners and using the northern-dominated military to repress southerners, who, after enduring nearly 50 years of northern rule, are profoundly frustrated.

Article

The Descriptive Representation of Women in Politics  

Magda Hinojosa

Women remain strikingly underrepresented in politics: as of 2020, women hold only 25% of seats in the world’s national legislatures. Studies of women’s descriptive representation can be divided into two broad categories. The first category of scholarship seeks to understand when, why, and how women are elected to political office. Earlier academic work on the descriptive representation of women primarily analyzed social (educational levels, workforce participation rates) and cultural factors to understand women’s descriptive underrepresentation in politics. Institutional factors emerged as a significant area of scholarship, buoyed by the adoption and near immediate success of gender quotas. Scholarship has also centered on political parties and contextual factors (candidate selection and recruitment processes, the effects of crisis). A second category of work examines the effects of women’s descriptive representation on the substantive and symbolic representation of women, and increasingly whether women’s descriptive representation begets more women in office. The scholarship on the relationship between descriptive and substantive representation has found strong evidence that having women in office results in the representation of women’s interests. Establishing how the descriptive representation of women affects citizen attitudes—such as their interest in politics and trust in government institutions—has yielded more mixed results. Nonetheless, the scholarship on the effects of women’s descriptive representation largely confirms that having women in office matters for outcomes related to policy and citizen attitudes. The rich work that has been done to date on women’s descriptive representation could benefit from expanding the definition of the term. Although scholars have relied on a head count of women in positions of power—and notably often just in the national legislature—to assess descriptive representation, a more expansive approach to defining women’s descriptive representation is needed. Researchers ought to consider other ways in which representatives can descriptively represent constituents, for example, by calling attention to their role as women in their parliamentary speeches. Moreover, the study of women’s descriptive representation would benefit from greater attention to women’s descriptive representation at subnational levels; too often, the proportion of women in the national legislature is equated with women’s descriptive representation, leaving out how women can be descriptively represented at other levels of office, in particular, in local positions. Examining within-country variation in women’s officeholding could be particular fruitful in understanding the factors that affect women’s descriptive representation, including the pipelines to higher office. Furthermore, studying differences in descriptive representation for elected versus appointed positions could prove instructive. In addition, more scholarship is needed that takes an intersectional approach to studying both the factors that help or hinder women’s descriptive representation and the ways in which descriptive representation affects substantive and symbolic representation.

Article

Guinea: The History of the Military as a Political Actor  

Paul Clarke

The Guinean military was deeply intertwined with political power for the first 50 years after dependence in 1958. Under its founding president, Ahmed Sékou Touré, who led Guinea as a one-party state from 1958 to 1984, it was built with support from the Warsaw Pact and became a small, competent force which supported national development and regional peacekeeping. While Touré politicized the army, it was not an important political actor, and in the end it fell victim to Touré’s brutality. Colonel Lansana Conté seized power after Touré, leading a military dictatorship that fully controlled the government and succumbed to factionalism, corruption, and indiscipline. Conté died in 2008, and within a year, the successor regime had slipped into so much brutality that the military leaders accepted transition to civilian rule, making Guinea a fledging multiparty democracy since 2010, while the military returned to the barracks.