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Contemporary security environment.

With states like Pakistan and India locked in a continuously conflictual relationship, the internal and external dimensions of security merge -- one into the other. And as long as this remains the case, the military will continue to play a central role in the dynamics of state policy formulation and implementation.

Inter-State Dynamics

Ever since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the West has made much of the emergence of a new world order. But for us in Pakistan, it is necessary to look beyond the political rhetoric of the West and examine the nature of the prevailing global and regional milieu. To begin with, the very choice of terminology -- "post coldwar system" -- is revealing in a self since at first encounter, it automatically conjures up an image of the end of intense hostilities and zero-sum scenarios which the term "cold war" specifically implies post-Soviet system denotes is an end to a bipolar distribution of military power within the system.

Thus, more correctly, one should refer to this period as the post-bipolar world. So if the so-called "thrust for peace" has become a goal in itself, it is very much on the lines of an imposed peace -- with the US having reasserted the importance of military power. From the Gulf War to Somalia to events in Bosnia and Kashmir, the importance of military power has become critical in the post-bipolar world. And, if peace is being sought, it is being established through military strength.

Of course, certain very basic structural changes have taken place in the post-bipolar structure of the international system. Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the present geopolitical environments have some innate peculiarities:

a) changes at the global level structures which have

b) affected changes at the regional level in South Asia in relation to immediate geopolitical environments, while

c) the source of threat perception for regional states in South Asia remains unaltered. Therefore, the system is inherently unstable, especially since states with continuing hostile regional threat perceptions have to formulate their security dimensions within altered global and regional parameters.

Equally important have been the psychological operational shifts that need to be discerned as a result of the end of bipolarity -- and the emergence of the so-called "new world order." In the post-bipolar international structure, one can see a consistency in the pattern emerging in various regions of the world which reflects the altered global political milieu. The three most outstanding characteristics of the new global milieu are:

1) The increasing utility of military force as the US finds itself an increasingly unidimensional power. This has been evidenced in the Gulf crisis and Somalia.

2) With this resurgence of the viability of military solutions to conflicts, and the increasing dominance of the US within the UN Organisational framework, there is also a growing sense of wanting to impose external solutions in regions beset by local conflicts that tend to pose a challenge to US military preponderance - Take the case of the Palestinian-Israeli rapprochement or the US interest in a so-called "third option" for Kashmir.

3) The resurgence of nationalism and sub-nationalism which, amongst other things, is threatening the state structures that had prevailed in the post-1945, bipolar world.

What has become equally clear is that given the dysfunctional international structures in place at present, the use of military force is becoming an increasingly viable instrument of external policy for states with the capability to do so. Within such an environment, international cooperation will be increasingly replaced by global militarism in the arena of conflict resolution.

Given this primacy of military power and the tendency for greater external interventionism in regions where conflictual structures dominate, there is an urgent need for countries like Pakistan to frame their security policies after acknowledging the continuing legitimacy of the instrumentality of war and the resurgence of the rationality of military power as a viable policy option.

What has taken place has been the recognition that military power may not perform exactly the same role as in the past -- or do so in the same way. In other words there are now more flexible and varied uses of military power and any state wanting to further its national security goals needs to ensure that its military is well-versed in these multiple roles.

For instance, the use of armed forces may well be oblique, limited and aimed more at influencing political situations than seeking outcomes in battle -- a natural move towards the politicisation of the military. There is a realisation that armed forces justify themselves partially by inspiring confidence in allies, transmitting diplomatic signals, discouraging the enemy, influencing crises and illustrating a degree of commitment.

One reflection of this internationalization of the use of national militaries has been the resurgence of international peacekeeping activities. For the Pakistan military, one widening sphere of activity has been in the field of this international peacekeeping-which automatically draws them into a wider political decision-making role.

So military power and armed forces remain fundamental instruments of policy -- what is new is the way in which armed force functions. In other words there has been a shift towards the threat rather than the deed. War, now more than ever before, is seen as being fought for political rather than military victory -- what one can term as neo-Clausewitzianism. Hence, the relevance of deterrence in the security policies of states. This is especially true for a state like Pakistan which perceives itself as being in a disadvantaged position in relation to its regional security at the structural level.

So Pakistan has had to move on from efforts to equate its military strength and status in the region with that of India's,to an attempt to define its military needs in terms of maintaining a minimum level of a credible defence-cum-deterrence against what is perceived as a very real threat from India -- hence the relevance of nuclear capability. But deterrence, which focuses exclusively on negative sanctions/threats, is linked to the whole issue of credibility -- how to make the threat credible? And one major requirement to operationalise the threat is to communicate it as unambiguously as possible. This is an issue which the Pakistan military needs to resolve in terms of the nuclear option.

Also, the nature and spectrum of war has not only altered, it has widened considerably, especially with notions of coldwar, psychological warfare and limited war coming into their own. This has also meant that the line between war and peace has become less well-defined. So the military has sought a greater role in policy making on issues of national security in particular and foreign policy generally. The military sees this as a pressing need especially since war is now seen more as a bargaining to of for political negotiations than for territorial conquest as such.

Intra-State Dynamics

But it is not just at the inter-state level that the role of the military has become increasingly more important. Within the state also, the military has become an increasingly important player in the politico-economic dynamics. Therefore, it is pertinent to examine the development of militarisation within a state and society -- in the framework of the concept of militarism which denotes a "social formation and structure".(1)

Militarism has not only expanded at the level of the international system in the form of arms build-up and in the use of force as an "instrument of supremacy", but in the developing states it has also led to an increase in the role of the military establishment in domestic and foreign policy-making and execution. Thus, in a number of developing states the military exercises a decisive influence in state policy either by directly taking over the structures of the government or indirectly by controlling and/or manipulating the civilian ruling elite. This leads to the state in the broad sense, (government and civil society) being run by a military-bureaucratic-corporate-intelligentsia, (MBCI) with the military predominating.(2)

While militarism seeks legitimacy, in general it relies on force to perpetuate itself. As Pakistan's General Zia stated, "martial law should be based on fear".(3)

The use of force by the MBCI alliance becomes more pronounced where civil society as a whole, or critical segments within it, reject militarism. This leads to increasingly violent behaviour -- that is, militarisation -- pervading the state and civil society as a preferred means of exercising influence.

Therefore, militarisation is directly linked to the concept of militarism -- reflecting it at the behaviour level of state and civil society. Both militarisation and militarism also reflect the prevalence of a conflictual framework at the level of the state and civil society where increasing violence cornes to mark conflict behaviour not only of the state but also of civil society within the state.

Within the above framework, militarism has prevailed in Pakistan for most of its history since the first imposition of martial law in 1958. Whether directly or indirectly the military has therefore exercised a decisive influence upon Pakistan's domestic and foreign policies since 1958. But the Afghan crisis altered qualitatively and quantitatively the militarisation of civil society, primarily as a result of two factors:

1) There was a massive influx of arms, especially submachine guns and automatic riles, as a number of weapons meant for Afghan guerrillas proliferated the illegal arms market.(4)

2) There was a rapid growth of the heroin trade with mafia-type syndicates often involving Afghan refugees who controlled the bulk of intercity cargo services.(5)

According to Akmal Hussain, the sheer size of the illegal arms market and the rapid growth of the heroin trade "injected both weapons and syndicate organisation into the social life of major urban centres".(6)

The result was a militarisation of the nation's civil society-that is, the preference by civil society to opt for a violent course of action over other means of exercising influence. With the restoration of a civilian democratic government, the expectation that militarisation would recede from civil society have proved to be futile. Whether it is a conflict between hostile student organisations, or political rivalry amongst different groups and parties, or an argument between citizens, Pakistan's civil society has seen an increasing resort to violence to resolve all manner of conflicts.

With militarism being pervasive in society today, and the armed forces continuing to play and central policy-making role -- notion of the Troika -- an unfortunate fallout has been the army's perception about self as a supreme organisation -- often leads to conflict between the army and other state institutions of force and coercion-e.g. the police. Especially will a public perception of the corruption of the state's law enforcement agencies, the military not only is dragged into an increasing role -- in the maintenance of internal law and order.

But with this central the problem of the mly seeing itself as being beyond the pale of the law -- react violently to police trying to check wrong doings of army officers -- e.g. incidence of truck load of army jawans arriving at a particular police station and beating up/kidnapping police personnel -- State reluctant to inforce law/punishment against mly officers -- eg. case of army captain/Tando Bahawal incidence.

One reason why, with the regional scenario in South Asia unstable, the military feels drawn into an active internal role, is the tendency for internal, sub-national conflicts to spill over into neighbouring states. In the case of Pakistan, there is presently the urban insurgency in Karachi, and in the region there are the examples of the Tamil and Sikh issues and the revival of Hindu militancy in India.

But image of Army has gone under drastic changes due to their excessive policing duties -- specially in Karachi vis-a-vis Mohajir community. For instance from the Pucca Kila incidence at Hyderabad 1989 where the army was perceived as saviour and now after the Operation Clean-up, a lot of resentment is prevalent among Mohajir Community in Karachi about the role which army played. This can threaten to affect mly morale and perception of only per se -- can affect their external action etc.

Spin-off effects of military-industrial complex into the civilian industrial sector. Practically no R&D work in the civilian industrial sector. We can laser shyonly wider more enmeshed in spectrum of state activity.

But to the strategic encouragement at global/regional and internal level that ensures an increasing role of the mly in inter and intra-state affairs. With states like Pakistan and India locked in a continuously con flictual relationship, the internal and external dimensions of security merge -- one into the other. And as long as this remains the case, the military will continue to play a central role in the dynamics of state policy formulation and implementation.

(1.) ibid.

(2.) Wallensteen et al., op. cit. p.xii.

(3.) O. Noman, Pakistan: Political and Economic History Since 1947 London: Kegan Paul International Ltd., 1988) P.22.

(4.) See Noman, op. cit. p. 200. Also, Hussain, op. cit. p.231. 5. Hussain, Ibid. 6. ibid.
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Author:Mazari, Shireen M.
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Oct 1, 1995
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