THE POLITICS OF AUTHORITARIANISM:
THE STATE AND POLITICAL SOLDIERS IN
BURMA, INDONESIA, AND THAILAND


By
Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe
M.A., University of British Columbia, 1990
B.A., University of Rangoon, 1961

A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
in
THE  FACULTY  OF  GRADUATE  STUDIES
(Department of Political Science)

We accept this thesis as conforming
to the required standard

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THE
UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
September  1997
Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe,  1997

                                                  

ABSTRACT

This thesis investigates the impact of military rule on the state and society by looking at three cases from the same geographical region -- Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand -- that have experienced military intervention and military rule.  The thesis is framed by a number of questions: Why does the military sometimes decide to stay on to run the state after it intervenes?  What happens to the military, its leaders, and most importantly, the state and society when the military reorganizes the state into a military-authoritarian order?  What are the political outcomes of military rule in terms of state autonomy?  How can the political variations -- the extent of military penetration into the state order -- between military regimes be explained?
       This thesis has found that there are three vital factors influencing the military's decision, having intervened, to stay on to rule the country.  The most important factor is the emergence of an extraordinary military strongman-ruler.  The second, and related, factor is military unity -- forged and maintained by the strongman-ruler and bound by the myth that the soldiers are the guardians and saviors of the state.  The military supports the ruler and is in turn rewarded by him, and becomes a privileged class.  Together they dominate and control other state and societal forces.  In fact, while military-authoritarian states are highly autonomous from society, it is clear that the state is not well insulated from abuse by its own elites.  The third factor is the extent to which the strongman-ruler is constrained by having to share power with an unimpeachable force (a person, ideal, or myth).  This thesis has found that military rulers in
Thailand have been constrained because of the person and the role of the monarch.
       This thesis has also found significant variations in military-authoritarian states.  They range from a nearly pure praetorian example to a tentative quasi-democratic set up -- resulting from historical circumstances combined with the vision, political will and astuteness of the strongman-ruler, his concern with his legacy, and the presence or not of an important constraining force.  The military has played a dominant role in politics in
Burma and Indonesia since the 1960s; in Thailand, it has been in and out of power since the 1930s.  It has become apparent from this research that, although the global democratization trend is hopeful, it is not so easy to get a politicized military to go back to the barracks to stay. 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract ..............................................................................................ii
Glossary .............................................................................................v
Acknowledgement ..............................................................................x

CHAPTER ONE: ..............................................................................1
INTRODUCTION: SOLDIERS OR POLITICIANS?

 

CHAPTER TWO: .........................................................................................29
THE MILITARY AND THE STATE

 

CHAPTER THREE: .......................................................................................66
BURMA: MILITARY INTERVENTION AND THE POLITICS OF
AUTHORITARIAN DOMINATION

 

CHAPTER FOUR: ........................................................................................141
INDONESIA: MILITARY INTERVENTION AND THE POLITICS
OF AUTHORITARIAN DOMINATION

 

CHAPTER FIVE: ..........................................................................................210
THAILAND: MILITARY INTERVENTION AND THE POLITICS
OF AUTHORITARIAN DOMINATION

 

CHAPTER SIX: ................................................................................276
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION: THE POLITICS OF
AUTHORITARIAN DOMINATION

 

BIBLOGRAPHY .............................................................................306-332

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GLOSSARY

B U R M A :
Abha  --  Revered Father (a term used by soldiers in reference to Ne Win)
AFPFL  --  Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League
Adipati --  Supreme Leader (a title adopted by Dr.Ba Maw)
Anya-Manya Th'bawtra  --  Burmese Socialist doctrine (See SCME)
Bama Pri-Ma  --  Bama Mother-country
Bama Tatmadaw  --  The Burma Army (or Tatmadaw)
Baungbee-khyot  --  Ex-military officer (Burmese slang)
BCP  --  Burma Communist Party (the White Flag Communist of Thakin Than Tun),
BDA  --  Burma Defence Army, the forerunner of the current Burma Army
BIA  --  Burma Independence Army, the forerunnerof the current Burma Army
BNA  --  Burma National Army, the predecessor of the current Burma Army
Bo  --  (Bama and Shan), A military leader
Bogyoke  --  (Military rank) General
Bogyoke-Wungyi  --  General-Minister
BSPP  --  Burmese Socialist Program Party, or Lanzin Party
Chaofa  --  (Shan) Ruling prince
CPB  --  Communist Party, Burma (Red Flag Communist of Thakin Soe).
DAB  --  Democratic Alliance of Burma
Dobama Asi-Ayone  --  We Bama Movement (Dobama)
DSI  --  The Defence Service Institute
DDSI  --  The Directorate of Defence Service Intelligence
Duwa  --  (Kachin) ruling chief
KIA  --  Kachin Independence Army
KKY  -- ( Ka-Kwe-Ye): Homeguard units
KMT  --  (Kuomintang): Nationalist Chinese of Chiang Kai-shek
KNU  --  Karen National Union
LORC  --  Law and Order Restoration Committee
Lu-Myo  --  Race, nation, humankind
Luptha-Prithu  --  The working people
MIS (Em-I)  --  Military Intelligence Service
Mranma Sosheilit Lanzin Party  --  The Burmese Socialist Program Party (BSPP)
NCGUB  --  National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma
NLD  --  National League for Democracy
NSA  --  National Solidarity Association
NUF  --  National Unity Front
NUP  --  National Unity Party
The Panglong Agreement  --  An Agreement signed in 1947, forming the basis of the 1947-48 Constitution of the Union of Burma
PBF  --  Patriotic Burmese Force
Pri  --  (or Pyi, Burmese) country
Prithu Hluttaw  --  People's Parliament
Prithu-Yebaw  --  People's Volunteer Organization (PVO)
Pyinnya-tat  --  An educated person
Rakhine People's Liberation Organization  --  A Rakhine rebel army
RC  --  The Revolutionary Council (1962-1974)
SAC  --  Security and Administrative Committee
Saw-phaya  --  (Karenni) Ruling prince
SCME  --  System of Correlation of Man and His Environment
SLORC  --  State Law and Order Restoration Council
SSA  --  Shan State Army
SNLD  --  Shan National League for Democracy
Thakin  --  (Burmese) Master, overlord
Union Party  --  A political party led by U Nu (1960-1962)
USDA  --  Union Solidarity Development Association


T H A I L A N D :
BPP  --  Border Patrol Police
The Chakri dynasty  --  The currently reigning royal house
Chart  --  Nation
Chart Thai Party  --  The Thai Nation Party
Class 5  --  Fifth graduating class of the Military Academy after the adoption of the West Point curriculum
CPT  --  The Communist Party of Thailand
FFT  --  Farmers Federation of Thailand
Isan  --  The Northeastern region
ISOC  --  Internal Security Operation Command
Kharatchakarn  --  Officials, civil servants, bureaucrats
Luang  --  A title bestowed on high official (no longer current)
Muang Thai  --  Informal term for Thailand
Nak-phendin  -- Those "uselessly weighing down the earth", a term applied to leftists and radicals in 1973-76 
NAP  --  New Aspiration Party (of Chaovalit Yongchaiyuth, the current Prime Minister)
Nawapol  --  A rightwing organization of the urban middle and upper class
NSCT  --  National Students Centre of Thailand
Phu-noi  --  "Small" people; an "inferior", or subordinate person(s)
Phu-yai  --  "Big" man; a "superior" person(s)
Prachachon  --  The People
Prathet Thai  --  Formal term for Thailand
Ramwong  --  A popular folk dance
Rath Niyom  --  Cultural Edicts of Pibul Songkhram
Red Gaur  --  A rightwing para-military body of vocational students
Sangchat  --  Nation-building
SAP  --  Social Action Party
Sawasdi  --  A term of greeting
Seri Thai  --  The Anti-Japanese ("Free Thai") Movement
Siam  --  The name of the country before "Thailand" was adopted in 1939.
UTPP  --  The United Thai People's Party
Village Scouts  --  A royal-sponsored civil-action organization
The Young Turks  --  A radical officers group


I N D O N E S I A :
Abangan  --  nominal Muslim
ABRI  --  Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia, the current Armed Forces
Adat  --  Customary law
Aksi Sepihak  --  Unilateral action
BKR  --  Bandan Keamanan Rakyat, a forerunner of ABRI
BAKIN  --  State Intelligence Coordinating Body
BAKORSTANAS  --  National Stability Coordination Board
Budi Utomo  --  An early nationalist organization or movement
Bupati  --  Regent, administrator
Dharma Wanita  --  The official Women's body
DPA  --  Supreme Advisory Council
DPR  --  Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, Parliament
Dwi Fungsi  --  Dual Function
Dwi-Tunggal  --  Joint Leadership (of Sukarno and Hatta)
The Fifth Force  --  A force of armed workers and peasants
Gerwani  --  Women's Militia (of the PKI)
Gestapu  --  The 30 September Movement
Golkar  --  Golongan Karya, Functional Groups (the government's party)
Gotong Royong  --  Mutual assistance
HANKAM  --  Department of Defence and Security
Hizb'ulla  --  Army of Allah
HMI  --  Islam University Students Association
ICMI  --  Association of Muslim Intellectuals
IGGI  --  Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia
Inkopad  --  The Army's trading firm
IP-KI  --  The League of Upholders of Indonesian Independence
KAMI  --  Indonesian Students Action Group
Konfrontasi  --  Confrontation with Malaysia, "Crush Malaysia" campaign
KOPKAMTIB  --  Operation Command for the Restoration of Security and Order
KORPRI  --  Civil Servants Association
KOTI  --  Supreme Operation Command ("Crush Malaysia" campaign)
KNIL  --  The Royal Netherlands Indies Army
KNIP  --  Central Indonesian National Committee
KOSTAD  --  Strategic Reserve Command
Laskar Rakyat  --  People's Militia (of the PKI)
LBH  --  Legal Aid Society
LPSM  --  Institute for Promoting Self-Reliant Community Development
LSM  --  Self-Reliant Community Development Institute
MANIPOL  --  The Political Manifesto of 1959
Marhaenism  --  Sukarno's Creed of the "Little People"
Masjumi  --  The Council of Indonesian Muslim Associations
MKGR  --  Family Mutual Help Association
MPR  --  Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat, People's Consultative Assembly
Mufakat  --  Consensus
Murba  --  The Proletarian Party; a communist faction of Tan Malaka and Adam Malik
Musyawara  --  Consultation
NASAKOM  --  Nationalism, Religion, and Communism
Nekolim  --  The forces of Neocolonialism, Colonialism, and Imperialism
NU  --  Nahdlatul Ulama (Council of Muslim Scholars)
P4  --  Pancasila Indoctrination
Pancasila  --  Five Ideological Principles
Pemuda  --  Politicized youth, youth movement
Perhimpunan Indonesia  --  The Indonesian Association
Pertamina  --  National Oil and Gas Mining Agency
PETA  --  Volunteer Force for the Defence of Java, a forerunner of ABRI
Petisi 50  --  Petition 50 group
PDI  --  Indonesian Democratic Party (the non-Islamic party)
PKI  --  Communist Party of Indonesia
PNI  --  Partai Nasional Indonesia, or Indonesian National Party
PPP  --  Development Unity Party (the Islamic Party)
PPPKI  --  Permufakatan Perhimpunan Politik Kebangsaan (Committee for the Preparation of Indonesian Independence)
PRRI  --  The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia
Priyayi  --  The official class (roughly, an aristocracy)
PSI  --  The Socialist Party of Indonesia
Rakyat  --  The People, the common people, the masses
Santri  --  Strict or devout Muslim
Sarekat Islam  --  The Islamic Union
Sekber Golkar  --  Joint-Secretariat of Functional groups
SOB  --  State of Siege; Martial Law
SOBSI  --  Central Organization of All Indonesian Workers
SOKSI  --  Central Organization of Indonesian Socialist Workers
Supersemar  --  Letter of March 11 (1966)
TKR  --  Tentara Keamanan Rakyat, a forerunner of ABRI
TKR  --  Tentara Keselamatan Rakyat, a forerunner ABRI
TNI  --  Tentara Nasional Indonesia, a forerunner of ABRI
TRI  --  Tentara Republik Indonesia, a forerunner of ABRI
USDEK  --  The 1945 Constitution, Indonesian Socialism, Guided Democracy,
                     Guided Economy, and Indonesian Ideology
VOC  --  (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) The Netherlands East India
                Company


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

       The production of this dissertation, like all such labor, has been very rigorous and difficult, involving years of thoughts, occasional "road-blocks", and being "unlinked" from "real" life and "normal" people.  It could not therefore have been completed without the kindness and support of many people, especially my family: Nu Nu, Sawan, and Onjana. 
       First of all, I owe much to Professor Diane Mauzy who -- despite the inconveniences I must have caused, academically or otherwise -- has been long-suffering and kindly constructive, making my work much, much better.  I also owe much to Professor R.Stephen Milne for his help and great wisdom.  Much gratitude is owed to Professors John Wood, Phillip Resnick, Robert Jackson, and Terry McGee, members of my supervisory committee.  I would also like to thank the "three pillars" of the department: Dory Urbano, Nancy Mina, and Petula Muller, who were always helpful and cheerful, and also the department's "higher-ups" for providing me from time to time with what is the life-blood of a graduate student, a Teaching Assistantship.  I also owe much to fellow graduate students for their stimulating presence. 
       Because they contributed enormously to my intellectual growth, I am much indebted to Professors Alexander Woodside (History), Terry McGee (Geography), Y.C. Chang (Sociology), and to Lonny Carlile, especially, and Diane Mauzy, Philip Resnick, and John Wood (Political Science).  They have not only inspired but have taught me well the art of rigorous analysis and the meaning of scholarship. 
       The works of scholars and analysts on the countries I have examined --
Burma, Thailand, and Indonesia -- have been invaluable.  I am grateful to these scholars not only for the insights they provided and the challenge posed, but also for the opportunity to communicate with them.  Warm thanks therefore to Drs. Chai-anan Samudavanija (in more than one way), Kusuma Sanitwongse, Suchit Bunbongkarn, Sulak Sivaraksa, Ben Anderson, Mochtar Pabottingi, Harold Crouch, William Liddle, Nurcholish Madjid, John Girling, Chandran Jeshurun, Josef Silverstein, Mya Maung, Mya Than, Khin Maung Gyi, Tin Maung Maung Than, Michael Aung-Thwin and Robert Taylor.  Deep thanks to Bertil Lintner, Martin Smith, Anussorn Thavisorn, and Generals Sudibyo, Dr.Ben M'boy, and Mahaeson Kasemsant for their helpful insights.  My gratitude also to Khin Maung Nyunt (former Lieutenant, Burma Army), Dr.Myint Maung, Zarni, Zaw-Oo, Dr.Kyin Swee, and compatriots overseas who, sadly, cannot all be thanked openly. 
       I am greatly indebted to the Department of History for the Frederic Soward Foundation Award in 1990, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada for a doctoral Fellowship in 1991-1994, and the Canada-ASEAN Research Travel Grant, for a grant which allowed me to visit Southeast Asian again on a field research trip in 1993.  In the above regard, my gratitude to the late Dr.Kernial Sandhu of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, and as well the Institute's helpful and cheerful staff, and Dr. Pat Lim, Mr. Tee Teo Lee, and a host of scholars and experts I have had the good fortune to interact with while at the Institute. 
       My research trip to
Southeast Asia was much facilitated by the kindness of fellow Canadians, Francis and Jackie Tjia, who offered me guidance and unstinting hospitality, and Eugene Galbraith (an American) in Jakarta.  Unrepayable thanks is owed to Marcel and Elizabeth Tjia; U Kyaw Myint and Shirley Khun Kyi; and Sai Yee Leik and Angelina, Bertil and and Hsengnong Lintner for their unstinting hos-pitality in Singapore and Bangkok; and to Shan compatriots in Thailand.  Much thanks to Mr. Pao Lo Lim and Jenny (Vancouver), and Mrs. Julie Forbush (Seattle), for their interest and friendship.  My gratitude also to Khun Chamchit Laohavad and Khun Oun Chutima, who have always been gracious and helpful, no questions asked. 
       Last, but not the least, I am grateful for having an understanding wife, Nu Nu Myint, who gave, without any reservation, more than moral support, and to my son and daughter, Sawan and Onjana, for their excellent and undemanding behavior despite being full-fledged Canadian teenagers. 

[u1]                

 

THE POLITICS OF AUTHORITARIAN DOMINATION:
THE STATE AND POLITICAL SOLDIERS IN
BURMA,  INDONESIA, AND THAILAND  

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION: SOLDIERS OR POLITICIANS?


Political Soldiers in Burma, Thailand, and Indonesia
       The purpose of this study which I have undertaken of the phenomenon of military intervention in three Southeast Asian countries -- Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand -- is to examine, one, what happens to the military, its leaders, and especial-ly to the state and society when the military intervenes and decides to stay and to re-organize the state?  And two, how the political outcomes resulting from military intervention and its reorganization of politics in such states, which are not identical, can be explained?

       The phenomenon of soldiers’ intervention in politics and the business of the state is not a very exceptional one in most of the Third World.[1]  This has prompted Charles Kennedy and David Louscher to note that over three-fourths of the states created since 1945 have experienced direct military rule.[2]  In many, the military’s role in politics has been significant.  It has become in many Third World countries as important, at least, as other state institutions, such as civil bureaucracies, legislatures, the courts, etc.[3]  However, as Kennedy and Louscher argue, theories bearing upon the issue of civilian-military interaction have "not kept pace with [the] welter of data", and none of the models proposed thus far can adequately explain the rich diversity of forms and styles of civilian-military interaction in many "new" states.[4]  

       In Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand, the men on horseback --to borrow the title of Samuel Finer’s classic study[5] -- have been active, even dominant, in politics and the state for decades: from 1932 in the case of Thailand, and from the late 1950s in Burma and Indonesia.  In the last two, the armed forces were from the onset as much political as military forces.  They had their roots in politics, coming into existence during World War II as nationalist "armies"; they were made up of politicized (and needless to say, ambitious) young men mobilized by Japan during World War II.[6]  The militaries subsequently mythologized their role in the "independence struggle" and now see themselves as creator-guardians of the state and "nation".[7]  After independence -- Burma in 1948, Indonesia in 1949 -- soldiers were closely involved in the respective struggles of the new rulers to maintain power and preserve the territorial integrity of the "new" states.[8]  By the mid-, to late-1950s, they had established themselves as relatively autonomous power centres to which governments were beholden. 

       In Burma, the military exercised power for the first time as caretaker in 1958-1960, following a fatal split in the ruling AFPFL (Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League).  In 1962, it again marched into the political fray when its chief, General Ne Win, staged a coup to set up a military-"socialist" state.  Ever since, soldiers have run the affairs of state in Burma.  In Indonesia, a struggle occurred in 1965 between one pillar of Sukarno’s Guided Democracy state -- the armed forces -- and another pillar -- the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI).  Following a countrywide slaughter of alleged communists, among others, the already dominant military formally "captured" the state.  Ever since, as the power base of President Suharto, it has stood at the helm of the New Order Pancasila state. 

       In Thailand, soldiers could not claim "freedom fighter" status as in Burma and Indonesia.  Nonetheless, they were prominent in the genesis of the modern Thai state. They played a pivotal role in the "people’s revolution" of 1932, which forced King Prajadipok (Rama VII) to relinquish absolute power.  In the immediate post-revolut-ionary years, soldiers like Field Marshal Pibul Songkhram, Phya Song Suradej, and Phya Bhahon Yothin figured prominently.  From 1939-1944, the military was the main prop of the "modernizing" authoritarian regime led by Pibul Songkhram.  In 1947, the military led by Phin Choonhaven, Phao Sriyanond, and Sarit Thanarat ousted Pridi Banomyong's post-war civilian government, and installed Pibul as head of a military regime.  Again, in 1958, under Sarit's leadership, it intervened.  Sarit set up a regime which resulted in military dominance under his co-successors, Thanom Kittikachorn and Praphart Charusathien, that lasted until 1973, when their regime was toppled by a mass uprising.  There followed a period of unstable, sometimes violent politics, as the military attempted to reassert itself.  The early 1980s saw the onset of a decade or so of "civilian" rule overseen by King Bumiphol Adulyadej and General Prem Tinsulanond.  However, in 1990, the military, led by Suchinda Kraprayoon, struck again.  It was not until two years later that the "Bloody May" incident forced the soldiers to withdraw, and to be content with behind-the-scenes influence.

       Clearly, soldiers in the three countries have not merely dabbled in politics.  They have been highly visible, often dominant actors, frequently displaying a reluctance to leave the management of national affairs to civilians.[9]  There is a need to investigate the military in more depth in a way that acknowledges it as a prominent political force.  This study, then, will examine the patterns of domination established by the military, its role in consolidating an authoritarian relationship between state and society, and the problems that have confronted the military as rulers, politicians, and state managers.  I hope to present a different perspective on soldiers’ political involvement in Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand -- not merely as actors "intervening" (or "meddling") in politics but, as Eric Nordlinger puts it, "soldiers in mufti"[10] are involved in the creation of different kinds of military-backed authoritarian polities.  As will be discussed below, these are generally defined as military-based polities where political power is concentrated in the hands of a few key leaders (operating within the state sphere) and where a large segment of the population within broader society is depoliticized and excluded from access to the political arena or from having a voice in the affairs of the nation and the state. 

       My aim is to situate the phenomenon of military intervention within a wider theoretical context.  There have been many studies of military intervention, focusing on the military's motivation, opportunity, and modus operandi at the time of the coup d'etat.  More recently, the focus of research has shifted to investigating civil-military relations as the key variable.  Likewise, a considerable amount has been written in recent years about the "back-to-the-barracks" phenomenon.  My interest, however, and the focus of this enquiry, is the question of what happens to the military and the state when the military leaders decide to stay in power and re-shape the state.  How do these regimes consolidate and retain power?  What are their goals and methods? What are their advantages and disadvantages?  Why do the soldiers stay on in polit-ics?  What kind of "new" states are created?  Do they -- the military and the "new" states -- change over time?  If so, how do they evolve? 

       I agree with the more perceptive analysts of the military intervention phenom-enon, such as Samuel Finer, Harold Crouch, and Christopher Clapham, who maintain that the political orders established by the military -- that is, military-authoritarian regimes and states -- are not identical, although they are based primarily on, or are supported by, the armed forces, and are, in many aspects, fairly similar.[11]  This being the case, I believe that an examination of quite long-lived military-authoritarian regimes post-dating the military’s capture of the state, can yield useful theoretical insights into variations in these regimes with respect to the strategies of rule, the nature of the state and its goals, the extent of military participation or domination, and the military’s own degree of subordination to its chief and/or a military strongman-ruler.
      
       Since the study is oriented toward making theoretical sense of military-authoritarianism and its effects on politics and society, much of the research is based on the interpretation and analysis of the very substantial body of scholarship on soldiers and "military regimes" in
Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand.  These analyses and their underlying assumptions, interpretations, and explanatory devices form a crucial part of my attempt to make theoretical sense of the subject.  They are supplemented, though, by interviews and correspondence with knowledgable individuals from the selected countries themselves.


The Third World Military: A View of Soldiers in Mufti 
       Through their close and protracted involvement in politics, soldiers in Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand – along with many other Third World countries – have brought about far-reaching changes.  In the process, they themselves have also been changed.  As armed politicians, state managers, and rulers, they are firmly ensconced in the structures of power; they have become prominent political actors.  As rulers and politicians, I contend that they have shaped political and socio-economic land-scapes, often decisively.  They have also been pivotal in determining the character of state-society relations -- more precisely, relations among state actors, and between rulers and ruled in the countries under study -- in Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand where, as stated, they have established quite durable military-authoritarian regimes. 

       It would be conceptually inaccurate in such cases to view soldiers simply as armed, professional state servants.  Rather than military interventions into politics being limited forays, undertaken with specific aims, these interventions have in some cases, been quite open-ended in fact.  Hence, the approach that views the military as intervening temporarily to "clean up the mess" made by civilian politicians does not always apply.[12]  The open-ended presence of soldiers in politics in some states cannot be reconciled with the implied assumption that these same soldiers will return to the barracks once specific objectives are attained. 

       Despite this, largely as a result of Latin American experiences, a "return to the barracks" literature has developed, attempting to explain the "whens" and "hows" of military disengagement from politics.[13]  A few of the postulated preconditions include: the professionalization of "praetorian" armed forces; a higher degree of political institutionalization; the emergence of strong civilian alternatives (and the concomitant ability of civilian politicians to defuse the military’s fear of popular vengeance); the lessening of the kind of threats that trigger coups; mounting or lessening economic problems; dissension within the military; an institutional disposition to withdraw; external pressures; and so on.[14]  Up to a point, these theories offer useful generalizations about political soldiers and politics.  However, as Robin Luckham notes, military disengagement is often viewed as a kind of "intervention in reverse," assuming that the conditions favouring military disengagement are simply the reverse of those that triggered coups in the first place.[15]  In this sense, the literature tends to concentrate on pinpointing conditions for withdrawal and is appropriate when the military either seeks to return power to civilian rule, or does not harbour any goals for re-fashioning the state.  It is not so appropriate, however, for investigating cases where the military leadership retains power and seeks to change the way the state functions.

       Harold Crouch’s observation on the long presence of the military in politics in
Southeast Asia is instructive.[16]  He states that "military regimes" are military-dominated bureaucratic polities, where power rests in the hands of military and civil-ian government functionaries themselves, and not held in check by weak extra-bureaucratic interests, i.e., parliament, political parties, and interest groups.[17]  He also acknowledges the great variety of roles that the military has played in such bureau-cratic states.  Crouch, like Juan Linz, points out that no existing general theory satisfactorily covers the great variety of both the roles performed by the military and the political and socio-economic circumstances in which the military finds itself in the new (or post-coup)[18] configuration of state and society.[19] 

      In investigating military intervention, scholars have explained the phenomenon as stemming from a number of factors.  As summed up by Crouch, they are,  (a) the values and orientation of many Third World soldiers, which hold that participation in politics is not "abnormal", but is a "national" or "revolutionary" duty;  (b) the military's corporate interests, which includes a sufficient budget allocation, appropriate housing, satisfactory pay, and so on;  (c) the personal interests of senior officers in gaining the government's patronage network;  (d) socio-economic conditions, especially in countries with a very low level of economic development;  and (e) the failure of civilian governments to satisfy the expectations of the middle class and its demand for rapid economic growth, and their failure to govern effectively and preserve stability[20]  -- which involve repressing communists or other subversives.  The widely argued view that blames the failures of civilian governments for military takeovers seems, to Crouch, "an excessively narrow view".  He suggests that it is more useful to see military intervention as arising from a "total situation" rather than "the deficiencies of a particular group".[21]  

      In this respect, it might be useful to be mindful of the very different kind of politics that transpire in the
Third World.  As many perceptive scholars have noted, often Third World politics is primarily a struggle for domination among self-interested, state-linked elites -- a struggle moreover that takes place within a complex, poorly institutionalized, unstable environment.[22]  From this vantage point, military interventions appear to stem from problems in civilian-military relations[23] which, as Amos Perlmutter notes,[24] is gravely exacerbated in many Third World areas by the absence of a consensus on what the proper civilian-military relationship is, unlike in the West, where a Sandhurst tradition of defending civilian authority prevails.  Often in the Third World the military exercises independent political power, thus turning the "classical" civil-military arrangement "upside down."[25]  It is generally agreed among analysts that central to the phenomenon is a particular political condition which Samuel Huntington terms, "praetorianism" -- a condition where social groups, including the military, take direct political action instead of through political institut-ions (especially political parties) to reconcile and implement demands.[26]  

      In such "free for all" political struggles involving all groups or leaders in society, and even, or especially, those within the state sphere or government, for advantage, or more importantly, for dominance and power, soldiers are likely to be the most successful because they largely control the instruments of force, as Clapham notes.[27]   The struggle for power will invariably involve, I believe (as does Clapham), a contest for control of the state, since in a praetorian context, the state is the pivotal prize.[28]  In instances where the military is involved in political struggle, the prize -- the state itself -- will likely be won by the one who controls the armed forces of the state: the military strongman.  Hence it is a mistake not to recognize the military as a potential political instrument of the military officer who commands the armed forces when it steps onto the political stage to take control of the state and impose its control and to re-fashion state-society relations.  


Guardians of the Nation: Masters and Servants of the State 
      This study considers the military in politics from a somewhat different perspective.  Central to it are three factors which, I argue, are crucial to the appreciation of the military as an interventionist political force.  The first is the claim, commonly heard from soldiers in
Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand, that the armed forces as an institution are the guardians of the state and the "national" interest.  The notion of the military as "guardians," standing above politics and governments, is common among Third World soldiers.  In Thailand and Indonesia, respectively, the claim is embodied in the Prime Ministerial Order 66/23 (which became official military doctrine in 1980), and Nasution’s Doctrine of Territorial Warfare (officially adopted in 1962).  Legislative acts were passed in Indonesia in the 1980s to legitim-ize the military’s role in politics.  Soldiers in Burma have never possessed such a doctrine, and are only now attempting to "legalize" a guardianship role at the ongoing "National Convention" (convened at gunpoint in 1993). Nonetheless, the lack of a formal doctrine has not prevented soldiers from claiming a guardianship role. 

      The second factor is that, with rare exceptions like
Costa Rica, the military plays a specific role in the organizational scheme of the state -- as a body in which is vested the state’s monopoly on coercion.  In this respect, the military enjoys a unique structural position and privileged access to state resources.  Owing to this unique position, and considering its privileged access to the state's resource, it is not surprising that in some states, the military tends to be the best-endowed and most powerful actor within the state structure (and in society).  In such states, it dominates other state elements, along with civilian politicians, who are unarmed and do not enjoy automatic access to state resources. 

      The third factor is that the military is a force upon which the authority of new or weak governments may depend heavily.  The very existence of the state, in its territorial-political aspect, is often dependent on the military’s coercive function, on its role as a "protector" and in containing or repressing (often with external assist-ance) "communist" and "secessionist" rebels, or repelling or detering foreign aggress-ion.  Taken together, these factors mean that
Third World soldiers, as the state's high-ly privileged (but dependent) servants, have the potential simultaneously to be masters of the civilian government-of-the-day. 

      The unique, structural position of the military as an armed body that is integral to the state and the nation, reinforced by its role as a "protector", and the military officers' self-image as the selfless, dedicated national guardians, has resulted in the defining, legitimizing, and rationalizing of the military's corporate interests in a way that makes it, Nordlinger argues, almost indistinguishable from that of the nation.[29]  The military's close self-identification with the nation, as J. Samuel Fitch points out, was further boosted when the cold war intensified.  There occurred a redefinition of its role in
Latin America[30] -- as also in many other Third World areas, including Thailand, Indonesia, and Burma.  It was redefined to include "national security", rather than simply "national defence", since the enemy included subversive elements.  The consequence was to erase "most of the boundary between civilian and military spheres of competence".[31]  Thus, the military's role was expanded to include national security and development functions, and this, combined with external military assistance and training, increased its strength, size, and importance.  The military's expanded role in turn not only validated its self-image as the most vital for both the historic continuity of the nation and the survival of the state, but also boosted its position relative to other state elements: in many countries, the military became so strong that it became, in effect, "a state-within-a-state". 

      With the military in many
Third World polities so closely linked with the state and its affairs, as noted, it is only one step further then for the military to step in and take over.  This is all the more so if it dislikes the way the state is being run or, as pointed out by T.O.Odetola and Edward Feit, if it perceives that the state's very existence is threatened.[32]  Thus the "protector" of the state and "guardian" of the nation, becomes the "savior" of the nation.  And, in cases where the military has spent decades encamped on the political stage, it would not be too far wrong to view the military as a special sub-stratum of armed politicians firmly lodged within the state -- or even, as Robin Luckham suggests, an armed de facto ruling party, since it is, and also functions as, the political power base and instrument of the state and its chief-and-ruler.[33] 


Military Intervention and the Re-Configuration of Politics and the State 
      Military intervention is a multi-dimensional, complex, and heterogeneous phenomenon -- made more so by differences in the underlying historical, geograph-ical, cultural, and socioeconomic settings.  But there is a common feature.  Political soldiers tend not to be predisposed to upholding a democratic order which allows for conflicts among groups, interests, and institutions.[34]  Democratic politics, which are "open" to societal interest groups and forces, are viewed as disorderly and harmful to the nation and national unity by soldiers, as noted by Gerald Heeger.[35]  I argue that soldiers tend to prefer a political order that is congruent with their vision of how pol-itics and society (or the "nation") are to be managed: that is, an authoritarian one.  Thus we often have, in cases where the military intrude into politics and decides to remain on the political stage, a reconfiguration of state-society relations by the milit-ary's chief-and-ruler. 

      The vision of politics that informs the military’s actions as builders and manag-ers of the state is embodied in what Manuel Garreton calls "national security" ideology.[36]  In this ideology, state and nation are seen as forming a single living organism; they are "larger" or higher entities that stand above individuals (who are viewed as "subordinate subjects").[37]  The concept of "national unity" plays a key role.  It is  conceived of by the military as the absence of conflict and dissent.  Opposition to the state, the government (especially one backed or dominated by the military), and the armed forces -- all of which from this perspective embody the nation's destiny and goals -- is viewed as damaging to national unity and as something that must be prevented or punished.[38]  The ideal form of governance for soldiers is -- as Garreton notes -- an authoritarian state order managed, protected, and guaranteed by the military.  The military deems itself the "bulwark of the nation" and the bastion that stands above social divisions, the group best qualified to define and defend the national interest, and guarantee the nation's unity, and more importantly, its historic continuity.[39]  After capturing the state, I argue that the military -- more specifically, the military leader who becomes the ruler of the state -- will either seek to return power to civilians quickly or, in line with the national security ideology and associated statist orientation, will stay to establish a non-democratic, authoritarian type "military regime". 

      At this juncture, it is important to, one, heed Finer's observation which in effect states that it is difficult to make a hard distinction between civilian and military regimes as the latter tend to shade off by degrees into civilian authoritarian regimes.[40]  And two, it is important to be aware of the heterogeneity and range of what have been labelled "authoritarian" regimes.  As Linz indicates, they are found in a variety of forms, in a wide range of economic, social, and cultural environments -- in Europe during the interwar years (1920s to the 1930s), in many post-independence "new" Third World states, and in the post-Stalin Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (until the late 1980s).[41]  

|     Authoritarian regimes, which include military-authoritarian regimes, are to varying degrees non-democratic (or not very democratic).  But, importantly, they are also different from, and at the same time share some elements and traits in common with, traditional absolute monarchical, or similar types, and to totalitarian regimes.[42]  Owing to a complex mix of elements, military-authoritarian regimes are not easily confined within neat categories: some may be very undemocratic, while a few may even be semi-democratic. 

      In one dimension, military-authoritarian regimes can be characterized by features found in what Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski calls an "autocracy".[43]  A cardinal characteristic is the concentration of decision-making at the apex of the official hierarchy possessing "the highest power over citizens."[44]  There is an absence of other authorities who have "have sufficient power to compel the law-breaking rulers to submit to the law."[45]  Needless to say, also absent is a genuine opposition, a free press (except in rare cases, as for example, in
Thailand), and so on.[46]

      There is a strong emphasis, as David Beetham notes, on discipline and order, and an arbitrary and unaccountable style to the exercise of power.[47]  Importantly, military rulers will, through the employment of the military as a political instrument, reassert the authority of government (or the state) over society by removing the freedom of organized groups to pursue their interests independently of the state or its officials; impose "unity" by removing the political avenues for competition and conflict; and attempt to restore confidence in the ability and integrity of government by removing independent means for monitoring its actions.[48]  The military resolves the problems of democratic politics by abolishing politics altogether and immunizing "the state from the problems of society by elevating the state above society".[49]  In this regard, the military -- as the wielders of the legitimate means of coercion -- constitut-es the most important building block of authoritarianism.  Its importance lies in its usefulness to ruling strongmen as a political instrument in making the state more autonomous and cohesive by excluding and de-politicizing the ruled, and also in intimidating the civilian bureaucracy and non-state elites, making them more easily co-opted, pliant, and loyal. 

      On another dimension, however, authoritarian regimes are distinctively marked by what
Linz terms a "pluralistic element" --  a pluralism which, although varied, is limited.  This limitation may be legal or de facto, implemented more or less effect-ively, and imposed on political and interest groups which have not been created or co-opted by the state, and are not dependent on the state.  However, some regimes may even institutionalize the political participation of a limited number of independ-ent groups or institutions, and as well encourage their emergence, but "without leav-ing any doubt that the rulers ultimately define which group they will allow and under what conditions".[50] 

      Another feature is that although political power does not devolve to the citizens and the rulers are not accountable to them, rulers might still be responsive to them.[51]  They will respond through sanctioned participating groups, such as the government's party, political parties that are not banned (but heavily restrained), state-sponsored associations (or corporatist-like, interest-representing bodies or "functional" groups), interest groups (cultural, economic, semi-political) tolerated by the state, and various "representative" and legislative assemblies (but controlled or manipulated by the executive).  Further, in authoritarian regimes, there is usually found a constant proc-ess of co-optation of leaders which constitutes a mechanism by which different sect-ors or institutions become participants in the system.  And there is in consequence a certain heterogeneity of elites, composed of some co-opted professional politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats, military men, religious leaders, and local notables, and even, in some cases, activists (such as former student leaders, trade unionists, peasant leaders, and so forth).[52]  

      It is also important to bear in mind that we are dealing with states and regimes situated in the
Third World.  As Guenther Roth, Crouch, and Clapham point out, it is an area where "personalized patrimonialism", inextricably linked to material incentives and rewards, is the dominant form of government (although patrimonial elements are also found, to varying degrees, in industrialized countries as well).[53]  In such states, state institutions and governmental organizations are, like in the precolonial days, patrimonialized since they are, as Crouch indicates, largely based on the distribution of "fiefs and benefices".[54]  Government and politics take place, as Linz and other scholars observe, in traditional or mixed institutions through traditional or informal, personal channels (that connect national and sub-national leaders or holders of power to their respective clients, patrons, kinfolks, friends).[55]  Hence there obtains in states which are, at one level of analysis, authoritarian and highly autonomous from society, a situation where there is an informal, anti-institutional style of politics based on private, clientelistic access to the state and office holders.[56] 

      The overall effect of limited pluralism and patrimonialism on authoritarian regimes is that the state, significant power-holders, and key officials are, in one dimension, quite highly autonomous from society, but are, in another dimension -- quite paradoxically -- not autonomous.  They respond in a paternalistic or patrimonial manner to particularistic, private, informal demands or preferences of some groups and segments in society. 


The Military, the Strongman, and the Consolidation of Authoritarianism 
      The changing role of the military once an authoritarian order is established is of theoretical interest.  I argue that for the military to intervene successfully in politics, and importantly, for it to remain and dominate and, furthermore, to re-fashion the state-society order according to its preferences, it must first achieve a considerable degree of cohesion.  As Clapham maintains, when there is no dominant leader, it is all the more likely that the military will not be able to stay on for long -- even if it intervenes -- and will likely hand over power to a new civilian government (although it might intervene again later).[57]  Cohesion is achieved when there emerges a military leader who is able to unite all military factions, or alternatively, eliminate rivals or troublesome subordinates. 

      Thus, after the military intervenes and captures the state, a person accepted by the important military factions as the leader, and who is primarily responsible for bringing the military onto the political center-stage, becomes the head of the military authoritarian state.  However, all too often this person is given the standard label of being the "military dictator" or head of a "military junta" or "personal ruler".  Person-al rulers are given much prominence in accounts of military and other authoritarian regimes.[58]  However, the label conceals significant differences between military strongmen; and the characteristics, goals, ambitions, power, and force of will of individual military strongmen are often not clearly delineated.  

      The relation between the military personal ruler and his military power base is not static nor uniform.  I argue that it is a complex, dynamic, often shifting one.  The relationships will vary among military-authoritarian regimes.  To elaborate upon the general trend: as the military strongman proceeds to consolidate the authoritarian order and his dominance within it, he will tend to gain more personal power and authority.  The military, which serves the successful strongman-ruler as a political instrument, will become subordinated to some extent to the man who is its chief and also the state ruler. 

      In many cases, the more the military ruler wants to transform the state to obtain greater legitimacy, or to transform himself into a leader-ruler of the nation as a whole, and not just of a segment, the more likely it is that he will want to "resign" from the military and present a civilian face.  Being a "civilian" will invariably change his relationship with the military over time, as he increasingly seems less a military man.  And as a relatively simple military regime evolves, or is transformed by the ruler into a more complex, sophisticated authoritarian order, the military’s position will also change in a number of ways.  A new set of institutions and actors may emerge: the presidential or "palace" staff; a ruling or governmental party; a new hierarchy of representative-legislative bodies; a more professional (or professional-looking) bureaucracy, and so on.  While still serving as the primary power base of the ruler, the military will, in such cases, be confronted with, and constrained by, other powerful players emerging from the new institutions, as well as favoured ministers; useful and influential techno-bureaucrats and advisors; and money-making clients and cronies of the president, his family, and kin group. 

      In other cases, however, the military's position may remain as dominant as it was in the early years of the regime.  It will remain, next to the strongman-ruler, the most dominant force, and it will prevent non-military elites from gaining a hold over the levers of power.  In still other cases, only the top brass will figure prominently in politics: soldiers, including most officers, will "return to the barracks" after their chief’s seizure of power. 

      In polities where power is concentrated in the hands of one key leader, his ability to manipulate and control subordinate leaders and factions within the ruling circle is crucial.  Such a ruler -- the strongman-ruler in military regimes -- will often work to maintain the balance of power via the politics of factionalism, especially within the armed forces – the essential pillar of his support, but also a potentially dangerous one.  To this end, he may carry out frequent purges or transfers; restruct-ure the chain of command or operational procedures; promote hard-core loyalists into top positions; sow distrust and rivalry among top generals, among services, and even among loyal aides; or create special surveillance units to spy on the officer corps.  He may reward military men with positions as governmental politicians and party bosses, representatives, legislators, "czars" of administrative and economic empires, ambass-adors, and so on.  In all these ways, the strongman-ruler works to dilute the officer corps’ cohesion and render it incapable of moving politically against him.[59] 

      At the same time, soldiers gain a vital stake in defending both the ruler and his authoritarian order.  In long-lived, stabilized authoritarian states, soldiers are socializ-ed into their roles as defenders of the personal ruler and also come to appreciate that it is in their own best interest to do so.  The person and role of the ruler are "mystified" -- identified with order, the state, nation, and the national interest.  As the man at the centre of things, he becomes the only one capable of maintaining overall cohesion and balance against the back-drop of opaque, convoluted "palace politics" that tend to characterize military-authoritarian governance. In "mature" military-authoritarian states, the successful strongman-ruler tends to gain greater power vis-à-vis the military but, as noted, politics in such states is by no means static. With the passage of time, as authoritarianism becomes routinized, interaction between the military as an institution, the ruler, and other powerful state factions grows more complex. 

      Owing to the complexity of politics in military-authoritarian regimes, they will, as Finer indicates, exhibit as much diversity among themselves as civilian regimes.[60]  As Finer suggests, "military regimes" can be distinguished from one another through a classification system based on measurements along spectrums of different dimensions.[61] 

      There are three measurements relevant to this study.  First is a spectrum based on the extent of military penetration of the civil bureaucracy and the military's role in policy-making.[62]   The extent of military penetration as located along a spectrum is an indicator of the degree of authoritarianism being exercised in a state.  The greater the penetration, the more authoritarian the state is likely to be;  likewise, the smaller the penetration, the less authoritarian the state is likely to be.  

      Second is a spectrum based on the autonomy of the regime vis-à-vis political parties and legislatures.  In this spectrum there are four broad focal points:  (a) milit-ary regimes where legislatures and parties are suppressed;  (b) regimes which hold elections but refuse to acknowledge negative results and prohibit the elected legislat-ure from convening;  (c) legislatures and parties that exist as "simple ancillaries or appurtenances,"[63] that are quite autonomous vis-à-vis society; and  (d) regimes with legislatures and parties that function democratically following competitive elections and are relatively free of military or state control.  Again, (a) and (b) can be seen on the spectrum as most authoritarian; (c) as less authoritarian;  and (d) as least authorit-arian for this dimension. 

      A third spectrum, related to (and inferred from) the second, is based on the autonomy and responsiveness of the state to society.  There are three broad focal points here: (a) regimes with high autonomy that are not responsive to societal demands or aspirations;  (b) regimes with relatively high autonomy, and yet are somewhat responsive;  and (c) regimes that are relatively autonomous, and quite responsive to society.  Likewise, (a) can be seen on the spectrum as most authorit-arian, (b) as less authoritarian, and (c) as least authoritarian in this dimension.

      The spectrums mentioned above are broad categorizations representing certain dimension of regimes which can be identified and placed along a spectrum according to the criteria mentioned.  The measurements of these spectrums are not mathematic-ally quantifiable, but neither are they simply intuitive.  There will be a body of empirical evidence presented in the case studies to justify the measurements. 

      Spectrums allow for shades of difference to be noted.  Many military regimes will fit in between the broad focal points described.  For example, there may be military regimes that allow "limited autonomy" for parties and legislatures, and therefore would be placed somewhere between (c) and (d) on the spectrum , as depicted above.  Also, spectrums allow changes -- and directions -- over time to be noted, by placements on the spectrum of regimes of the same country in different, important, years.  This is useful for a country like
Thailand, which has fluctuated between different types of military rule and also intervening periods of civilian government. 

      The importance of placing the regimes of
Burma, Indonesia and Thailand along these three spectrums is that doing so helps to clarify not only variations among these regimes, but also important elements that contribute to the differences. 

      In this chapter, I have examined the conceptual framework underlying the phenomenon of political soldiers and their relations with the state.  I have looked at the relationship between the personal ruler and the military, the nature of military-authoritarian orders and the military’s role within them, and the changes (notably in the military’s role and relative influence or autonomy) that occur in "mature" military-authoritarian regimes.  The intent of this thesis is to examine military-authoritarian regimes in a way that draws out the wide variations in the way these regimes are organized and how the military is situated within them. 

      In the next chapter, I will consider the broader concepts and assumptions related to the military in power.  In particular, I will focus on theories of the state, state autonomy, and state-society interaction.  I will conclude by stating the main arguments of this dissertation. 


 

CHAPTER TWO:

                                     

THE MILITARY AND THE STATE


Introduction: The Military and the State
       In the preceding discussion, the phenomenon of military intervention was exam-ined, with particular emphasis on the military which does not disengage from politics, but rather, to varying degrees, maintains its political control of the state.  The military's actions were examined in terms of the political reorganization of the state.  These actions have a powerful influence on the nature of state-society interaction.  Because the military is involved in the restructuring of politics, it also affects the ways societal groups articulate interests and/or relate to the state, and because power is concentrated at the top, it increases the autonomy of the state.  Consequently, the military normally maintains a highly autonomous authoritarian state order.  However, as I have stressed earlier, military authoritarian regimes are not identical.  Their characteristics will vary from regime to regime, as will the degree of authoritarianism, and the extent to which the state structures are autonomous.  

       To gain a better theoretical appreciation of the military’s role in politics, it is necessary to examine concepts that assist in understanding the state -- the ultimate structure of power and dominance in any state-society formation.  Significant here are a number of key concepts relating to the state: the nature of state autonomy; the way power is organized or arranged; the particular forms of the state-society interrelation-ship; and, finally, changes in the patterns of domination or relative autonomy among elements within the state in military-authoritarian orders.


The State, Society, and the Autonomy of the State 
       There is a general tendency, when discussing the state, to apply the term rather broadly.  For example, it is often used interchangeably with a territorially-bounded entity (colloquially, a country, or "nation-state"); a set of powerholders (the ruling regime or government); the bureaucratic machinery, its personnel, and a set of national institutions (executive, legislative, judicial); the overarching structures of power and domination; and so on.  The wide application of the term may be confusing, but all these definitions seem valid, depending on the context. 

       For this purposes of this inquiry, "the state" is defined as an ensemble of power structures, manned and directed by power-holders and officials, situated within an internationally recognized legal-territorial space (sometimes known as the "nation-state"), and dominating another set of structures and relationships: the wider society.  From this standpoint, the state is part of society, and society is part of the state.  However, as Naomi Chazan notes, state and society can be analytically conceptualized as intersecting, interrelated, but potentially independent variables.[64]  The relationship between state and society is a complex, dynamic one.  To better to understand how the state relates to society and vice-versa, it is important to study elements of the state in relation to forces within society, and also the reverse.[65]  In this thesis on military-authoritarian regimes, the military constitutes an important component of the state.

       At the heart of the politics of state-society interaction is the issue of state autonomy, which will be examined next.   An especially well-known position on state autonomy is Karl Marx’s view of the modern state as a committee for managing the common affairs of the capital-holding class, the bourgeoisie.[66]  The state is merely a "loyal agent" of capital.  However, in a review of Marx’s thoughts on the state, Bertrand Badie and Pierre Birnbaum assert that different historical circumstances can produce different outcomes in the nature and development of states.  Thus, although the Prusso-German empire, Switzerland, Britain, and the United States all had in common a capitalist system, the form of the state in each was different.[67]  Marx even argues that under particular circumstances, the state may stand above, and distinct from, society.  In Prussia, residual feudalist influences enabled the landed classes to construct a state that was "oppressive, independent, a sacred force [in no way] degrad-ing itself by becoming a vulgar instrument of bourgeois society".[68]  The Bonapartist state, in Marx’s view, was likewise one which reduced all classes -- including the bourgeoisie -- to a position of subservience, kneeling "before the rifle butt".[69] 

       The view of the state as autonomous from or independent of society is advanced by Eric Nordlinger in his analysis of state autonomy in democratic states, the United States particularly.[70]  Nordlinger argues that the convention holding that state elites and functionaries (or as he puts it, "state officials") in democracies are "consistently constrained by societal groups" is a distortion of reality.  Even when the preferences of powerful societal actors diverge from those of officials, the latter not only possess, but are able to capitalize on, "autonomy-enhancing capacities and opportunities".  They are able to translate their preferences into public policy.  He maintains that officials do act in ways that assert the state’s autonomy, in disregard of the preferences of society.[71]

       Gianfranco Poggi shares Nordlinger’s views.[72]   He notes that officials in democracies, having secured firm guarantees of tenure, pensions, and "the autonomy of their professional judgement", do assert their independence, and that the increased use of highly technical knowledge in administering a complex economy "leaves the mere citizen nowhere".[73]  Poggi sees public policy increasingly being replaced by bureaucratic interaction among self-regarding state interests and their allies in business (the "privileged parts of society").[74]  For her part, Theda Skocpol notes that all states play a major role in forming and implementing policies, managing economic development, resolving extranational problems, and shaping class formations and social protests.[75]  It would seem, then, that the state everywhere has a high degree of autonomy, and society is somewhat powerless in its relations with the state. 

       The question that arises at this point is: if the state is increasingly autonomous, even in a democracy, how does a democratic state differ from an authoritarian or even "totalitarian" one?  Is there, at bottom, no difference at all in terms of the state’s relative autonomy or independence from society?  If there is, what is/are the differentiating feature(s)?  To answer these questions, we must delve further into the various aspects of state autonomy.

       Extrapolating from Skocpol’s discussion of state autonomy, the concept can be broken down in four ways.[76]  First, the state is autonomous relative to society because it responds to a dominant class, the bourgeoisie, more than to the "public".  This is the conventional perspective of Marx and Marxian scholars in general.  To a degree, it is also Poggi’s.  Second, it is autonomous from privileged segments (the bourgeoisie, traditional notables, landowners, etc.), and responds to the need to achieve higher nationalist or "communitarian" goals.  This is the ideal claimed by nationalists, author-itarians, and recently some Asian/ASEAN leaders.  Third, the state is relatively independent of all classes and segments, and responds mainly to the policy preferences of state officials.  This, more or less, is Nordlinger’s position (and that of Marx the sociologist).[77]  And four, it is relatively not autonomous, but responds to all, because the state is a site of contestation between groups that articulate different and conflicting interests.  This is the view of the pluralist, liberal school. 

       In the context of the autonomy-responsiveness axis, it is possible to consider the phenomenon from another perspective: to what or to whom is the state responsible or responsive?  A useful conceptualization in this regard is Nordlinger’s treatment of the state's autonomy and responsiveness in terms of the autonomy relations of society and the state (and state officials).[78] 
      

In Nordlinger's view, state autonomy rests on malleability, insulation, and resilience, among other factors.[79]   Less malleable or non-malleable states are those that are not susceptible or responsive to societal pressures.  "Malleability", in turn, is determined by whether the state is separated by high (non-porous) or low (porous) "walls".  In the former, officials will tend not to respond to, or will ignore, societal preferences.[80]  "Insulation" is an autonomy-maximizing feature.  Nordlinger states that the most extreme type is represented by "sultanism," where the ruler is little concerned with responding to his subjects.  Insulation is high in a state where officials do not depend on society for resources, but rely on coercive measures rather than upon support that is more or less freely given.[81]  "Resilience" is defined as the state’s capacity to counteract potential and actual societal opposition.  The state is resilient when officials possess policy instruments that enable them to use a "carrot-and-stick" strategy to assert autonomy.  The instruments at hand include the granting or withhold-ing of contracts, licenses, and exemptions; other discretionary behaviour, such as the speed or tardiness with which laws are implemented or ignored, the strictness or laxness with which regulations are enforced, and the like.[82]  The state will have a high degree of autonomy from society if the state is low in malleability, and high in insulation and resilience.  

       But the insulation, resilience, and malleability that account for the autonomy of the state are also determined, in Nordlinger’s formulation, by the availability to society of access to the state, and by the depth of a society’s intermediary institutions and associations[83] -- i.e., the way power and state-society relations are organized.  An inference can be drawn that the autonomy of the state and its officials rests, to a large degree, on the existence of these intermediary institutions and associations, their autonomy from the state and its officials, and their ease of access by society.  Where they are nonexistent or not autonomous, and where accordingly their availability to societal forces is limited, the state will tend to be highly autonomous.  Society, conversely, will be relatively non-autonomous vis-à-vis the state.

       Skocpol makes a similar point about state autonomy: namely, that it is not a simple phenomenon, nor does it stand alone.  It is closely tied to two main factors.  The first is the situation of state actors.  Their organizational resources and policy instruments, their means of utilizing power, their ideology, and their cohesion will influence their propensity to assert state autonomy.  These, in turn, determine the extent to which the state and its officials are autonomous from society.  The second factor is the strength or weakness of non-dominant segments and/or powerful private interests (especially economic interests), together with their degree of access to the state, i.e., via autonomous and accessibile intermediary institutions and channels to the state.  This will determine the degree to which the state responds to or ignores them, which is indicative of the extent to which the state preserves autonomy from society. 
       As Skocpol puts it, state autonomy is not "a fixed structural feature", but varies with the dynamics of politics.  Those dynamics centre on the question of who, or what, has privileged access to the state and is able to move it in the desired direction.[84]  In other words, state autonomy is largely the function of political interaction or, simply, politics. It is, fundamentally, the way power and politics are organized.[85] 


The Democratic Institutionalization of Political Power  
       Democratic systems occupy one end of the spectrum, representing in ideal-typical form, at the extreme end, a pluralistic system where the state is responsive to society and not very autonomous from it.  As discussed, the autonomy of the state hinges on (1) factors internal to the state, such as organizational resources and policy instruments, ideology or mind-set, cohesion of state elites, and (2) the availability of access to the state by social forces, i.e., the depth and autonomy of Nordlinger's "inter-mediary institutions and associations" that mediate state-society relations and interact-ions. 

       At this juncture, it will be useful to explore, briefly, some of the salient features of the state and how they relate to society.  Skocpol, citing Max Weber, notes that states are compulsory associations claiming control over territories and people within them.[86]  Administrative, legal, extractive, and coercive organizations are the core of any state.  States matter because of the power that enamates from them.  States may formulate and pursue goals that do not reflect the demands or interests of social groups, classes, or society,[87] i.e., they attempt to assert their autonomy from social groups.  However, states are variably structured.  The organizational configuration and structures of states, along with their overall patterns of activities, "affect political culture; encourage some kinds of group formation and collective political actions (but not others); and make possible the raising of certain political issues (but not others)".[88]  Some may be "embedded"[89] in some sort of constitutional-representative system of parliamentary decision-making or electoral contest for key executive and legislative posts, and some others, as implied, may take in various forms of non-parliamentary or authoritarian arrangements.  

       States vary in their structures and the way they function for a number of histor-ical, economic, political and cultural reasons, including, as an important reason, the actions of key elites.  Precisely because states do vary in their structures and in the way which political power is organized, it is possible to place along a continuum states exhibiting varying degrees of state autonomy.  Like democracy and authoritarianism, state autonomy is not an issue of "yes-and-no", but a matter of "more-or-less". 

       In a state where political power is democratically organized and the state is compelled by its own legal requirements to provide social forces with relatively open access to politics and avenues of political influence, and more freedom of political action, the state will be (and is) relatively less autonomous from society, and more responsive to competing social forces.  Poggi's thoughts on how political power is organized in a democratic polity[90] help clarify the patterns of autonomy in different states and regime, which further our understanding of some of the key differences between democratic and authoritarian states. 

       Poggi’s inquiry into the nature of the democratic state begins with the notion that in any state-society order, political power is paramount with respect to other social power.  Power -- the capacity to mobilize the energies of others, even against their will -- is grounded, in the political sphere, upon the possession of coercive capabilities.  The state holds the legitimate monopoly over these.[91]  Since political power directly relates to the state, the way it is organized will define its nature, and thus the measure of its autonomy as well. 

       What characterizes a democratic state is the fact that political power is organized and institutionalized in a particular way.  Present first is what Poggi terms "democratic legitimation": the state’s acknowledgement that it regards the citizens as the foundation of its rule and the "ultimate seat of all powers that it exercises."[92]  Second, he claims that a bond links the populace to the state via the notion of citizenship: a set of general and equal entitlements and obligations vested in individuals with respect to the state, as well as the content of society’s activity and outputs.[93]  Third, "the rule of law" exists.  Law is brought into the "organization of political power [and] the modes of its exercise," establishing what Weber called "legal-rational domination."[94]  Fourth, opposition to the state, debates and contestation over policies, critical orientations, and expressions are legitimized and institutionalized -- indeed, they are regarded as productive.  This in turn is linked to the idea of the public sphere: recognition of the rights of assembly, association, and petition.  Fifth, there is the established institution of representative government based on free and fair elections.[95]  

       An important point about the democratic institution of power is the situation of power-holders and officials.  To coin a phrase, power-holders are "temporary tenants of power": they are required to seek popular mandates in competitive elections.[96]  Also, they are subject to removal by political-legal means if they abuse their power.  Likewise, because officials exercise power on the public’s behalf, they are public servants, not masters.[97]  The state is not the "creature" of rulers and officials: the state is "separated," conceptually and institutionally, from officials and holders of power -- more accurately, from their personal preferences.[98]  In other words, the office is more important than the office-holder. 

       To summarize, the principles and practices of states where political power is democratically institutionalized establish the people (as citizens and electors) as the basis of rule.  Political power is "tamed" and depersonalized.  Citizens are able to protect themselves from the arbitrary exercise of power through legal safeguards and their legitimate right to participate in politics more or less independently of state control.  They are also able to make the state respond, in varying degrees, to their pref-erences.  The state-society interrelationship is monitored and moderated by the legal sphere and legal-rational procedures, binding on both rulers and ruled.  Power is institutionalized in such a way that state power -- and state autonomy -- is moderated by countervailing forces in the public sphere. 

       The above discussion of how power is organized illustrates that how the state is structured affects, among other things, the pattern of autonomy relations between the state and society.  It is wise at this point, however, to be aware that this portrait of the democratic polity, synthesized from Poggi’s work, is only a general conceptual one.  Despite some fundamental similarities, democracies do differ.  They range on the spectrum from the pure liberal democracy model to a more restrictive model of democracy that merges into the most mild form of authoritarianism on the spectrum.  


The Authoritarian Configuration of Political Power
       Historically, polities where political power is, in Poggi's definition, "democrat-ically institutionalized", are relatively new.  By contrast, untamed political power --its arbitrary use and exercise, its manifestation in a mode of domination based on power held by officials or derived from heredity -- has been with mankind since the dawn of recorded history.[99]  It is also more or less the norm in the
Third World.  As with democratic systems, and perhaps more so, authoritarian systems vary considerably, from mild near the center of the spectrum to harsh near the totalitarian end. 

       The Third World authoritarian state, including the military-authoritarian state, is one where power is not democratically institutionalized.  It will suffice to say, as dis-cussed in the previous chapter, with reference to Juan Linz, David Beetham, and Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski,[100] that political power and state structures are arranged in such a way that key holders of power, and their power base in the military or the bureaucracy, or both, are largely unaccountable to (and more autonomous from) society, or what might be called the "public".  They are also "insufficiently subject to antecedent and enforceable rules of law".[101]  As Fred Riggs notes, with reference to Thailand,[102] the only meaningful political actors are power-holders and top officials, military and civilians --  an appraisal that could be applied to most Third World "milit-ary" regimes.  The state is quite highly "insulated" from society by a body of officials and power-holders.  Pressures that direct or influence the state come chiefly from within it, via "palace" politics, or by means of intra-military and intra-bureaucratic struggles, with the "public" (or the ruled), having very little say in "public affairs".[103]  

       Power, furthermore, is usually not de-personalized.  It rests largely in the hands of personal rulers -- to varying degrees, depending upon the ruler's ability to assert his dominance and/or autonomy from subordinate power-holders, the military, and cliques and factions within the ruling circle.[104]  Likewise, in the rest of the system, bureaucratic power is not institutionalized in a  rational-legal mode.  Rather, it tends to be characterized by particularistic, patrimonial relations that obscure the distinction between public and private domains, and between public and private goods.[105]  The state and its power structures are generally "semi-private" property, and are often used (or misused) by power- and office-holders for private gain.[106]  

       There is in such regimes, the removal -- but more commonly, the control and manipulation -- by bureaucratic elites of what Poggi calls the "public space" and inter-mediary institutions and associations: the means by which citizens participate in public affairs, and power-holders are pressured or made accountable.[107]  Subordinate segments ("the masses") are excluded, coercively depoliticized, and deprived of meaningful access to both the political arena and the state.  Owing to such an organizational con-figuration and structures, the
Third World military-authoritarian state is, as a rule, quite autonomous, relative to society, but highly responsive to the preferences of state elites – including their private and personal concerns. 

       However, as
Linz notes, although authoritarian orders are non-democratic, they are not totalitarian, despite the many similar traits.[108]  As discussed, there is found in authoritarian regimes a certain measure of participatory pluralism.  There often exist political parties -- but usually a "mobilizing" single-party, and sometimes an official party.  Also elections are held, legislatures are "elected" and sit in session, and "legis-lators" might even debate issues.  But the political and participatory pluralism in such regimes, in contrast to that in democracies, is limited, controlled, co-opted, and manipulated, as Linz notes.[109]  In consequence, the relative autonomy of society -- especially its non-dominant segments -- is quite low, in contrast to the state and its managers.  The above discussion on the way power is organized, and how this results in an authoritarian system, illustrates the importance of state structures -- namely, their centrality in shaping state-society politics and the relative autonomy pattern in nation-states. 

       At this point, it is important to note that authoritarian orders are not, as Friedrich and Brzezinski observe, based solely on coercion, repression, or violence.[110]  There also exists some version of consensus.  It is only in the initial stage of their establish-ment, or re-establishment that such consensus tends to be lacking.  Over time, they may develop some responsiveness and generate a viable consensus. (On the other hand, they may become more repressive).  A broad consensus may emerge as the populace becomes accustomed to authoritarian rule, or as some segments are given, or discover, opportunities for personal advancement and gain.[111]  We might add to this list the idea of consensus based on an ideology,[112] such as nationalism; on principles, such as constitutional monarchy; or on a founding constitution that is regarded as legitimate, and which the regime or the ruler might skilfully manipulate.  Owing, therefore, to varying mixtures of coercion, repression, violence, rewards, and consensus, authoritarian orders may prove quite durable.[113] 


The Military-Authoritarian Order and the State Stratum 

       The shift from one order to another, especially from incipient democracies to an authoritarian one, particularly in the
Third World, does not occur by accident.  It involves human and political will.  Clearly, the impetus for change tends to arise not among those below, in the mass of the population, but among those who already possess the means to affect change, and also dislike the participation of contending social forces in politics.  In many, perhaps most, cases, it will be the military -- ambitious officers, the top brass, or the military chief -- who will most directly bring about the shift to authoritarianism.  The relocation of political power to the top will involve not only the mobilization and use of coercive agencies, but also the "occupation" by officials (or bureaucrats, armed and unarmed) of institutions that mediate interactions between state and society: representative bodies, political parties, and so on. 
      
       As Gerald Heeger notes, political roles and position are redefined as roles within the bureaucratic hierarchy.[114]  The net result is the insulation of the state from society by a special, hierarchically-organized collectivity of state officials – the "state stratum".[115]   In the
Third World, the state stratum is in some respects a bureaucracy.  It is also, as James Petras suggests, a distinct social entity: a class-conscious, vertically- and horizontally-linked stratum.[116]  In military-authoritarian states, the class comprises both military and civilian officials, as well as government politicians and legislators, and intellectuals in "think tanks" and state universities.  Incidentally, members of the state stratum will comprise a large segment of the "middle class" of Third World societies.  This is the "new class" that Milovan Djilas isolated in the communist and socialist context.[117]  The typical Third World state stratum, like this "new class", achieves greater dominance through its hold over the state, on which it depends for its livelihood and accumulation of wealth.[118]  In this situation, as Clive Thomas notes, the "classic relation of economic power to political power" is reversed.  Economic power is consolidated "after political power and the state is captured".[119] 

       Members of this stratum are differentiated from other strata by various privileges and entitlements.  They are also imbued with a distinctive esprit de corps, often built around a strong "us-against-them" feeling towards the mass of the population.[120]  The existence of this stratum of state functionaries is crucial to the insulation and the non-malleability of the state, and enhances its independence (or autonomy) from society. 


The Personal Ruler in an Authoritarian Order 
       In addition to the distinct stratum of officials referred to, the most prominent feature of Third World authoritarianism (including its military-authoritarian variant) is the phenomenon of personal rule.[121]  It is defined by Robert Jackson and Carl Rosberg as a system of rule predominating in a poorly institutionalized political arena.  The system is structured not by institutions but by the political players themselves.  It is a system where the formal rules of the political game do not effectively govern the con-duct of rulers or other political actors most of the time.  Rather,  political actions result more from personal power and private whims than are derived from established proc-edures inside institutions.[122]  Personal rulers are not linked with the "public", but to patrons, associates, clients, supporters and rivals, who constitute the "system".  As such, political power is not checked by institutions and formal rules.  Personal rulers are restrained -- if, and when, they are -- by the limits of their personal authority and power, and that of their patrons, associates, clients, supporters, and rivals.[123] 

       The authors note, however, that although countries with a comparatively low level of social and economic modernization are especially susceptible to personal rule, relatively "developed" states -- even modern, developed states -- are not immune to, as they put it, "personal authoritarianism".[124]  Personal rule is, according to the authors, inherently authoritarian.  It has given rise to "the narrowing of the public sphere and its monopolization by a single ruling party or a military oligarchy", under the direct con-trol, typically, of a dominant personality.[125]   This has transformed the political process into a private struggle for power and place.  It is politics marked by intra-regime fact-ionalism and personal rivalry -- "palace" politics and "court" intrigues -- that revolve around the ruler who exploits, encourages, and manipulates division within a quite narrow circle of key subordinate leaders, so as to maintain both his personal dominan-ce and system equilibrium (or power balance).[126]  

       In authoritarian orders established by military means, it is ordinarily the coup leader -- the officer who has managed to unite the military factions under his leader-ship, often the chief of the armed forces -- who emerges as the head of state.  He is the pivotal player and, as the military regime is consolidated, his role evolves from that of a "military dictator" to the ruler of a more complex (and perhaps legitimate) authoritar-ian order. 

       Further in this respect, it is worthwhile heeding Heeger’s point that in a military regime, the armed forces as a whole seldom rule.[127]  More often than not, the state is "captured" by a military faction or a small group of plotters (in rare cases involving civilian colleagues).[128]  After the capture of the state, in cases where the military has not yet been unified by a strongman, there will tend to follow a period of often-opaque struggle between military factions and aspirants to personal power.  Finally, a winner will tend to emerge; but it is also possible that intense military factionalism may never be effectively resolved, leading to a successor coup or coups, and sometimes to polit-ical disengagement -- a temporary or more enduring return to civilian rule.[129]


The Strongman-Ruler and the Politics of Military Factions  
       After the capture of the state by the military, as a personal ruler dominating an authoritarian order that is well on the way to consolidation, the strongman-ruler will have to "tame the tiger" on whose back he rode to power: the armed forces.  He will need to make it a more pliant instrument, which may involve turning it into a more professional, less overtly politicized body.  This he may accomplish by playing factions off against each other; by appointing loyalists to strategic positions; by restructuring the chain of command; or by removing elite units from the operational control of the top brass.  He will often resort to purges of actual or potential military rivals (usually senior officers, and those with an excess of ability or ambition).  He will also keep top soldiers off balance, by transferring them or by compelling them to spy on each other. 

       The military may also be tamed by the provision of rewards, as noted in the earl-ier chapter.  Rewards for the military as a whole may include bigger military budgets, more modern military hardware, the funding of pet projects, the granting of commerc-ial monopolies and other opportunities to accumulate wealth through the selling or "renting" of influence, bribery, corruption, and extortion.  Officers may be given positions as government politicians, legislators, bureaucratic "czars," and the like, both to keep them busy and divided amongst themselves.  Rewards also tie them more closely to the "great benefactor": the strongman-ruler.  The provision of rewards and opportunities will entrench soldiers more deeply in the structure of power, giving them a personal stake in upholding both the authoritarian system and the preeminence of the ruler-and-benefactor.

       The strongman-ruler may also attempt to keep the military in check by creating new centres of power headed by civilians who are wholly dependent on his favours.  He might even allow the civilian bureaucracy or the governing party a degree of auton-omy from the military, thereby offsetting the military’s role and influence with a net-work of civilian ministers, bureaucratic czars, and governmental party bosses.  Often the ruler will create special intelligence agencies which are given wide powers both to sow fear among the populace and to spy on members of the officer corps. 

       This phenomenon of the shifting relationship between the strongman-ruler and the military is well-documented in the literature on military regimes.  It has, however, been insufficiently theorized.  The gap in the literature seems to derive from a failure to appreciate the changes that occur in the role and status of the strongman-ruler vis-à-vis the military, as he becomes more of a "national" leader and presides over a more complex and mature authoritarian order.[130]


Building Authoritarian Orders: Differing Strategies and Different Outcomes 
       As the pivotal figure in a complex authoritarian order, the strongman-ruler is further prodded to extend and consolidate his personal control and to legitimize the fact of his dominance.  The particular strategy employed will depend on the psycho-logical makeup, skill, and style of the strongman-ruler.  He may choose to construct a new order that is based on soldiers alone.  He will then insert soldiers into the power structure with little regard for the former occupants (that is, civilian officers, techno-crats and previous political appointees). 

       In other cases, military dominance will be "diluted".[131]  For example, the ruler, while reliant on the military, will not only incorporate civilian officials into the new order, but also various technocrats, politicians, notables, and so on.  A wider and more inclusive support base is the intended result.  In the process, civilian bureaucrats may be made into reliable -- if at times coerced and intimidated -- supporters of the reorganized authoritarian order.[132]  In keeping with, as Linz notes, limited political pluralism that marks authoritarian regimes, as discussed, the ruler will build up a constitutional façade -- consisting of political parties, electoral processes, legislative-representative assemblies, and corporatist-style bodies like official trade unions, business councils, trade associations, and a variety of government-sponsored bodies that "represent" peasants, women, and so on.[133]  As the regime "matures," the façade may gain legitimacy, and actually come to function as quite a stable institutional framework for the new order.

       The strategy selected by the strongman-ruler to consolidate his position and routinize authoritarian rule will, I maintain, shape the contours and trajectory of the authoritarian order.  (It must be noted that a mixture of intervening variables -- econ-omic, social, political, external -- is also brought into play; the way the ruler reacts to them will play a large part in this regard.)  Military-authoritarian regimes will therefore vary widely in their structures, patterns of state-society interaction, and relative auton-omy relations, and so on.[134]  

       In some cases, the outcome may be a state that is autocratic, exclusionary, "strong" (in its capacity to repress, at least), and highly autonomous -- but weak in re-solving problems, and unable to win minimal acceptance from the wider society, owing either to poor economic performance, gross injustices, or increasing alienation.  In others, the state may prove to be comparatively strong and stable politically and economically, enduring to, or beyond, the final years of the strongman-ruler. 

       In the longer run, or with the passage of years, however, these states may be faced with potentially serious problems.  In cases where states practice some degree of democracy or where constitutional documents enshrine democratic principles, or rulers employ democratic rhetoric to legitimize their hold on power, the regime will be dependent on continuing and uninterrupted "performance legitimacy" to contain pressures for political liberalization.  In cases where the state is unable to win minimal acceptance, the cost to the regime of maintaining power through coercion, in the absence of legitimacy, can be expected to keep rising.  These potential problems will tend to be deepened by a range of new challenges.  For example, there are those arising from regional or global power re-alignments, changes in society as a result of economic failure or success, growing tensions between rivals power factions in the ruling circle, and the physical or political weakening of the ruler himself.  Also, the regime and the strongman-ruler may also be challenged by a popular, charismatic leader advocating a democratic alternative, or perhaps preaching a fundamentalist religious message that articulates growing popular resentment against (or alienation from) the regime. 

       Faced with these challenges, the entire authoritarian edifice may unexpectedly collapse (as may democratic structures for a different set of reasons).  Alternatively, the military may violently restore authoritarian rule under a new strongman-ruler.  In the absence of a strongman-ruler, there may be a period of coups and counter-coups as factions and aspiring strongmen battle for dominance.  Or political stalemate may result, with neither the military nor the opposition winning a decisive victory.  This can result in protracted struggle until one side achieves victory, or until a compromise of sorts is reached.[135] 

       A crucial point is that since the whole military-authoritarian order is kept in balance by the skill of the strongman-ruler, it is highly vulnerable to a succession crisis.  This could also lead to a crisis in the transition -- a transition from one state order to another.  Since most such orders are not firmly institutionalized and, more importantly, lack established procedures for succession and/or transition, the decline or death of a strongman-ruler can constitute a dangerous political flashpoint.  The crises derive in large part from the personalistic nature of rule: the close identification, over time, of the strongman-ruler with the government, the state, the nation, or because his personal preferences largely influence, or subvert, state policies.  This illustrates the extent to which the state’s high degree of autonomy relative to society, and its low autonomy vis-à-vis the strongman-ruler, can result in system instability, or at least considerable uncertainty. 


The Pattern of Autonomy Relations in Military Authoritarian Regimes 
       The vulnerability of the regime to succession and transition crises suggests that the issue of the relative autonomy of the state is more complex than is sometimes acknowledged.  The complexity suggests that a different category of autonomy relat-ions may obtain in authoritarian orders. 

       In the literature on state autonomy, debates have mainly centred on the degree of autonomy of the state versus society.  They address the relative degree of autonomy of the state, or independence from society granted to state decision-makers, including high-ranking bureaucrats (including military officers where it applies), and technocrats (or techno-bureaucrats) working within the policy-making apparatus of the state (all of whom will, in the proceding passages, sometimes be referred to, for brevity, as "state officials").  It is however assumed that state officials are public servants and that their preferences are bound by the rational-legal, public-oriented norms.[136]  For example, the preferences of presidents, prime ministers, and cabinet ministers are assumed to be policy-related and in the public domain.  Their private preferences and agendas are regarded as marginal to the policy preferences they champion and support.

       It is, however, the view of this thesis that, just as state and society can be con-ceptualized as two intersecting, interrelated, but potentially independent variables,[137] so can the state and its component officials be analyzed along similar lines.  Although officials are of the state, if their private preferences largely determine the content of state outputs (i.e., corruption), then a situation arises where officials or key power-holders, and their preferences do not belong, conceptually, to the "public" state.  In such instances, they can be conceived as being independent vis-à-vis the state.

       In Third World military-authoritarian states in particular, along with other authoritarian orders, a situation often arises in which some segment of officials, espec-ially military, are not the servants of the state, but its masters.  The state's institutions (the executive and legislative branches, the administrative bureaucracy, regulatory and law-enforcement agencies, the courts, and so on), being subordinated to key power-holders or to the top brass, will often reflect the latter's personal preferences.  There-fore, I argue that the relatively autonomous state vis-à-vis society is relatively non-autonomous from the preferences of high officials or the military and its officer class.

       Military-authoritarian regimes and states are distinguished by three interrelated characteristics which illuminate autonomy relations between, on the one hand, the state (and its institutions), and on the other, state officials (who make decisions within the state's institutions).  The first characteristic arises from the transformation of political actors into bureaucratic ones, as some politicians are replaced as representatives or legislators by soldiers (and bureaucrats), as others are excluded or co-opted, and as political parties are banned, manipulated, or neutralized.[138]  An almost completely "depoliticized hierarchy of governmental organizations" is created as a substitute for a more or less autonomous political arena.[139]  The explanation for this state of affairs lies in the distrust of politics that many military and authoritarian leaders exhibit, along with their strong dislike of social conflicts to which politics is held to contribute.[140]  The distrust of political participation extends, as Heeger notes, to regime-sponsored or -sanctioned political parties, and even to its own party.[141]  The latter is usually insulated from decision-making and not permitted to develop as an autonomous institution.  It is used mainly to win votes, manage political participation, and mobilize, theoretically, the "people," -- in fact the regime’s supporters.[142]  Its other function is to manage, manipulate, and control the representative-legislative sphere (which serves also to provide regime with a mantle of constitutional legitimacy). 

       Because the political arena and the institutions that mediate state-society inter-action are neutralized or controlled, the means by which society can influence or press-ure the state are abolished or radically reduced.  The first characteristic contributes to making the state highly autonomous, or less "malleable" - in Nordlinger’s formulation - thereby increasing its "insulation" and "resilience."[143]  This malleability, though, is not as simple as Nordlinger presents it.  In military-authoritarian states – in authoritarian orders more generally – the state is non-malleable only so far as the public is concern-ed.  It may be exceedingly malleable if the private interests of key power-holders are considered: those of the strongman-ruler, the top brass, favored bureaucrats and their patron-cronies, clan members, and so on.

       Viewed from this angle, the authoritarian state does not seem to have much autonomy, which leads us to a second characteristic of this type of regime: the erosion of the bureaucracy’s organizational integrity and autonomy.  After the military’s seiz-ure of power, as politicians are replaced by bureaucrats, the bureaucracy --military, administrative, and political -- is increasingly brought under the personal control of the strongman-ruler, who holds all meaningful power.  As a consequence, impersonal, rational-legal bureaucratic norms are displaced by operational modes and relationships based on patrimonial reciprocity, patronage bonds, personal obligations, and loyalty to immediate superiors -- above all, to the strongman-ruler. 

       A third characteristic follows from the second.  With the whole bureaucracy becoming less rational-legal oriented, more patrimonial, personalistic, and particular-istic,[144] the state’s policy outputs come increasingly to reflect the personal-patrimonial preferences (of state officials), rather than preferences bounded by rational-legal norms and a public-oriented agenda.  The state then becomes the "creature" of the strongman-ruler and, to a varying extent, trusted subordinates (together with their respective personal networks and connections).  The relative autonomy of the state is eroded to reflect the interests of those who exercise key power within it.

       Due to these three characteristics, then, there obtains a pattern of relative auton-omy in which the state is (a) autonomous from society, and (b) more or less "captured" by, and made more malleable to, or non-autonomous from those who hold power or high state and/or military positions.  The pattern of state autonomy in military-authoritarian orders is therefore more complex than it seems.   

       In military-authoritarian states, the pattern of relative autonomy relations are thus shaped by the shifting dynamics between three elements -- the state, state officials (or key power-holders), and society.  As a consequence, the pattern of autonomy relations will differ not only from those in democracies, but among, and also within, a particular military-authoritarian order over time.  It will vary according to the ways in which the three elements -- the state, officials or power-holders, and society  -- relate to one another within the system. 


Military Intervention: The Questions, Concepts, and the Arguments
       The inquiry into the military intervention phenomenon is chiefly prompted by concern (echoed by scholars like Kennedy, Louscher, and Crouch[145]) about the unsatis-factory exploration and explanation of the great variety of roles the military may play, and the diverse political and socio-economic circumstances military actors find them-selves in after the state is captured.  More plainly put, the study primarily examines what happens after the military seizes power.  They are, first, why the military decides to stay on to rule and to reorganize political power;   second, how (in what ways) the military decides to reorganize power;  third,  what kind of military authoritarian pattern emerges when the military chief becomes the state strongman-ruler; and fourth, how differences between, and within regimes, over time, are to be explained? 

       To help in the search for answers to these questions, I have constructed a theoretical framework built around existing concepts on military intervention and the state, state autonomy and relative autonomy; the organization and reorganization of political power in democratic and non-democratic polities; authoritarianism and milit-ary regimes, and authoritarianism and personal rule.  I have, on this basis, synthesized a conceptual framework that looks into three interrelated issues (and questions pertin-ent to them):  (1) the military and the politics of military intervention as they relate to the reorganization of power in the state;  (2) the pivotal role of, and strategies employ-ed by, the military strongman in the reorganization of political power (and long-term outcomes), the relationship between the ruler and his power base in the military; and  (3) the nature of military authoritarian orders, their structures (or organizational con-figuration); autonomy relations; the degree of authoritarianism exercised, and the dom-inance (or otherwise) of the military, in the countries examined -- Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand.

       Utilizing this framework, I will show that military intervention is a complex, often protracted phenomenon involving the engagement and the use of the armed forces to change the way power is organized.  The intention, as noted, is usually to render the state more authoritarian, reinforcing its autonomy vis-à-vis society.  The result is what we ordinarily term "military regimes," and the implicit assumption we make is that military regimes are similar enough that they are hardly worthwhile distinguishing. 
       I maintain, however, that despite the common features of military intervention and backing, these regimes do differ significantly.  They vary in terms of the way the state is run, its nature and goals, the extent to which the military participates in governance and dominates the political sphere, and the pattern of relative autonomy relations.  They also vary in the degree they are authoritarian: some may be highly authoritarian, some less so, and some may even be quasi-democratic (broadly defined). 

       The exact form of the reorganization of state structures and institutions in a military-authoritarian order will vary widely.  This is because much depends on the goals, political will, and astuteness of different strongman-rulers who oversee the process in their respective countries.  The degree of autonomy exhibited by the state will also largely depend on the varied systems of governance and control put in place by the strongman-rulers.

       The strongman-ruler who assumes power with military backing indeed has a unique relationship with the military – he is, after all, its chief.  But over time, he will tend to be transformed into a "state" ruler, and his bond with the military will almost invariably slacken.  Accordingly, he will need to take action to maintain his dominan-ce over the military.  At the same time, for the sake of legitimacy, it may be necessary or desirable for the ruler to "separate" himself from the military.  It is not uncommon for a military-authoritarian regime to be converted into a "civilian"-led, military-backed regime, headed by the military ruler now clad in mufti.  The significance of this change varies according to the goals and capabilities of the strongman-ruler.  It may be purely cosmetic, or it may lead to efforts to subordinate the military in its political role, while at the same time seeking to avoid incurring its wrath.

       If successful, the ruler’s attempts to subordinate and personally dominate the military will result in the latter becoming a safely co-opted, quiescent elite body.  The military and its personnel will often be rewarded with positions in the state or in representative-legislative bodies (including perhaps the government-sponsored political party).  If they are abundantly rewarded with budgets, projects, economic opportunit-ies, and the like, the military will likely accept without demur some reduction in its political role and influence.  This will obtain provided that the ruler retains his mani-pulative skills and political savvy, and the military does not perceive itself as being "pushed out" in ways that injure its corporate interests and self-image as protector of the nation. 

       Further, in order to dilute the influence of the military, the strongman-ruler may attempt to co-opt other groups into the ruling circle, or recruit new supporters from among elite segments of society: technocrats, bankers, professionals, businessmen, local notables, and so on.  Over time, as the state's structures changes shape, this may reduce the state’s autonomy vis-à-vis societal and economic elite, though this conseq-uence is often unintended and unforeseen.  And attempts may even be made by the strongman-ruler and his subordinates (including those in the military) to obstruct and restrict the "opening" of the state sphere to individuals, groups and sectors outside its parameters.

       It is possible that in the long run, the autonomy of the state may decline in military-authoritarian regimes and states.  To test this and other arguments advanced in these preliminary chapters, I turn now to an examination of three Southeast Asian countries where the military has been politically active and prominent: Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand. 



CHAPTER THREE


BURMA: MILITARY INTERVENTION AND THE POLITICS OF AUTHORITARIAN DOMINATION



Introduction: The Politics of the State and the Military in Burma  
       Military rule began in Burma in 1962, and was dominated by Ne Win (Thakin Shu Maung[146]) until the "people’s power" uprising of 1988.  This was bloodily supp-ressed by the military, which has remained in power to the present.  In this chapter, because of the prolonged presence of the military in politics and the important role it has played in shaping the contours of state-society relations and the political land-scape, the examination of the phenomenon of military intervention will go beyond the conceptualization of it as a response to crises, implicitly connoting limitations to the intrusion of the military into politics.  Military intervention will be analyzed as one intertwined with the reorganization of power, the reconfiguration of state structures, and the re-ordering of state-society relations. 

       As mentioned in the preliminary chapters, military intervention occurs in complex, diverse historical, socio-economic, and political settings, and is triggered by diverse events and factors.  Soldiers are motivated to intervene by a mix of factors -- in addition to a situation of "praetorian" politics characterizing the politics of many
Third World countries.  This is a situation where groups, including the military, participate directly in politics.  Although politics in Burma was (and is) praetorian, the military has not -- unlike its Thai counterpart -- intervened frequently.  It has intervened only three times -- indirectly in 1958, then in 1962, and 1988.  But, as will be discussed, it has dominated the political landscape and has been pivotal as the power base of its chief and ruler, Ne Win,  in establishing and maintaining a harsh military-authoritarian order for over two decades, and it still dominates politics and the state up to the present. 

       The military in
Burma has its roots in the politics of a global war.  Its leaders, were politicians first and foremost.  They were "Thakins" -- members of a nationalist movement, the Dobama Asi-Ayone (or Dobama, "We Bama"[147] movement) -- who became leaders and officers in a series of nationalist armies created by the Japanese during World War II.  The world-view of these military leaders -- the military Thakins -- was shaped by their Dobama creed, with its highly statist and authoritarian ideals.[148]  The military Thakins have viewed themselves, for reasons which will be dis-cussed, as much more than armed servants of the state.  In their view, they fought almost singlehanded against both the British colonizers and the Japanese invaders and they won independence.  After independence, they did not intervene in politics until 1958, although they were extensively involved, as were their Indonesian counterparts, in non-military roles. 

       The military Thakins, like their counterparts in
Indonesia, were not happy with the post-independence state, the Union of Burma, dominated by the AFPFL (Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League), a political front of the Thakins.  The new state was more or less democratically organized and comparatively inclusive from a polit-ical and ethnic standpoint.[149]  It was not in keeping with the Dobama creed which they adhered to.  Nonetheless, in the first decade of independence, the military Thakins, as officers of the armed forces, the Bama Tatmadaw,[150]  defended the AFPFL state and civilian Thakin power-holders against challengers, also armed (a legacy of major World War II campaigns fought in Burma) -- as will be discussed.[151]   In defending the state in a "internal war" situation, and undertaking "national security" tasks, the military in Burma, as in Indonesia, gained much political leverage and, in time, grew into a powerful, quite autonomous center within the state. 

       In 1957, when the AFPFL, ruling party, split into two camps and many cliques, the door was opened for soldiers to enter politics.  "Young Turk" Brigadiers in the military stepped in as "caretakers" in 1958, to "save" the country from splitting -- as had the ruling party -- into two, but returned to the barracks in 1960.  As will be examined, the first military's foray into politics was not led by the military’s chief, Ne Win, but by "Young Turk" Brigadiers who placed their chief, Ne Win, as head of a military caretaker government.  Quite uncharacteristically -- to judge from his later performance -- Ne Win chose to rule as a constitutional military caretaker.  Elections were promised for 1960.  Even though the AFPFL (Stable) faction favored by the military was humiliated in these elections, the military kept its pledge -- given by its chief, Ne Win -- to return to the barracks. 

       In 1962, the military, unified by Ne Win -- after the purge of most "Young Turks" Brigadiers prominent in the military-caretaking government -- stepped dramat-ically onto the political stage.  This time, it was led personally by Ne Win, now the undisputed leader, and he meant business.  As will be discussed, he proceded to re-organize political power in an authoritarian direction.  Like Sarit in 1958 (in Thai-land), he abrogated the 1947-1948 Constitution; abolished parliament; banned political parties; detained the Prime Minister, U Nu, cabinet members, the Chief Justice, Members of Parliament, leaders of non-Bama ethnic segments (especially of the Shan), politicians (both of the left and the right political spectrum), and so on; closed down papers and imposed censorship and, just three months after the coup, had a number of protesting Rangoon University students killed.  In contrast to Sarit and Indonesia's Suharto, Ne Win decreed a "socialist" economy, and set up a "socialist," one-party, military-authoritarian order around the BSPP, with himself as supreme leader. 

       Ne Win’s military-run Lanzin,[152] or BSPP (Burmese Socialist Program Party) state, was well in line with the authoritarian, nationalist-socialist Dobama creed.  He reorganized political power and the order of state and society in ways that shut out not only the population at large, but also most non-military (or civilian) elites, both bureaucratic and non-bureaucratic, from the political arena and limited their access to the state.  Laws instituted to promote and protect the "
Burmese Way to Socialism" prohibited the masses from engaging in private economic activity, causing them enormous economic hardship -- again markedly unlike the economic paths chosen by military-authoritarian regimes in Indonesia and Thailand. 
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       In 1988, owing in large part to the extreme hardships associated with "socialist" economic failures and the monopolization of political and economic resources by the military, Ne Win’s state "of soldiers, for soldiers, by soldiers" was confronted and challenged by popular forces in a country-wide, urban "people’s power" uprising.  Seemingly invulnerable, the BSPP state nonetheless collapsed almost overnight.  The power base of the "old" regime, the military, did not collapse, however.  It was still held together by Ne Win’s authority, or by fear of the leader.  This, together with fear of popular retribution that might await them, spurred the military to carry out a bloody coup to re-establish military-authoritarian rule, and restore the status-quo ante and with it, the military's dominant place.  This time, the military -- represented by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) -- claimed it would hold onto power only to restore law and order and promote free-market economic development.  Nearly a decade later, it still rules at gunpoint. 


State and Society in
Burma: A Brief Overview 
       I stated in the theoretical framework that the military intervention in politics and the reconfiguration of the state-society order are closely linked.  As a point of departure in the examination of the military as an armed political actor involved in the politics of the state, a brief survey of the nature of state orders and state-society relations in
Burma follows.  Because this inquiry focuses on military intervention in "modern" states, the older Burmese "kingdoms," though interesting in themselves, will not be considered.  Suffice it to say, with Renee Hagesteijn, that the "kingdoms" in what we now know as Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand -- and in Southeast Asia generally -- were non-territorial "states," where rule and dominance was articulated in a personalistic, non-institutionalized way.  These were systems based on shifting, unstable relations between supra-regional lords ("kings") and regional lords (tributaries), and among the "kings" themselves.[153]   Strictly speaking, there was no "state" in the modern sense – only structures of domination based on, and moderated by, patrimonial bonds.  The ruled -- "society" -- had no say in politics or the affairs of "state," nor much protection from the rulers and their officials and favourites.[154] 

       The genesis of the Burmese state in its modern form lies in the economic expansion of the West and its political by-product, colonialism.  It is a classic case of the flag inevitably following trade, as John Furnivall notes.[155]  Over time, "planting the flag" became a larger project involving the reorganization and restructuring of pre-capitalist, agrarian societies, and the erosion of their political and socio-cultural "superstructures."  This led to the "modernization" and "rationalization" of politics and governance to ensure a smooth ride for capitalism.  Furnivall’s comment that the tropics were "colonized with capital" might be reworded as " colonized with capital, for capital."[156]  The establishing of European colonies changed the colonized entities in two main ways.  Old "kingdoms" were transformed into "modern" territorial, political-administrative units along Western lines.  Also, colonial methods of man-agement founded on notions of market rationality, commercial efficiency, and so on, forcibly imposed on "native" societies a European-capitalist universalizing hegem-ony.[157]  Despite Robert Taylor’s view -- influenced by nationalist rhetoric, perhaps -- that Burma could have modernized without colonialism, British colonial rule did bring about modernization.[158]  

       British rule in
Burma was relatively short, lasting from 1885 to 1942.[159]  But with the annexation of 1885, change was rapid and irreversible.  The British broke the cycle of "anarchy and conquest"[160] and installed a more or less modern state and structures.[161]  In keeping with the "modernity" of this enterprise, there was a gradual shift in Burma’s political status, until it became in the 1930s a distinct political entity -- Ministerial Burma -- albeit one still under the imperial flag.[162]  

       In the way the British reorganized political power in colonial Burma, we can discern some rather clear democratic features.  From the 1920s onwards, there exist-ed intermediary institutions, associations, and procedures that allowed societal forces to participate in politics and even to set themselves up in opposition to the state.  Those who participated in the open political arena in opposition to British colonial rule from the 1930s onwards, were the young Thakins.   

       Referring back to the discussion in the theoretical framework of the ways polit-ical power is organized to yield authoritarian or democratic outcomes, it can be said that the colonial state in
Burma was authoritarian and quite autonomous from society, in that it was foreign-imposed and ultimately responsible to London.  The Governor, for example, was "above politics" and could not be removed by the legislature, introduced in Burma from the 1920s onwards.[163]  State officials likewise stood apart from society politically and socially, further insulating the state from society. 

       On the other hand, state officials were public servants in the real sense of the word.  They were forbidden to be closely involved (or interfere) in politics or to use their office to advance their personal preferences.  The state, in other words, was gen-erally non-malleable vis-à-vis officials’ private agendas.  In this sense, the autonomy of the official class, from the Governor downwards, vis-à-vis both society and the state was moderated by legal-rational bureaucratic norms and the rule of law.  Also, the gradual introduction of a more or less open, somewhat democratic political arena and a representative-legislative sphere from the 1920s onward, as noted, meant that the autonomy of the colonial state -- and its officials -- was moderated by their malleability by societal forces. 

       The British may have been laying the foundation for Burma to emerge event-ually as a liberal-democratic polity -- a dominion of the empire over which the sun never sets.  As Taylor notes, the British "for reasons associated with imperial policy in India, had begun to transfer power and authority to Burmese politicians in a rather major way under the last pre-war constitution", based on a system of parliamentary rule and politics.[164]  The sunset in fact came quite rapidly, however.  The colonial state disappeared at the point of Japanese bayonets in 1942.  Nonetheless, when Burma gained its independence, the new rulers -- the moderate Thakins, led by Thakin Aung San -- chose to install a democratic state, based on the system of parl-iamentary politics and government.  Democracy lasted for a decade, until the AFPFL state was displaced in 1962 by the authoritarian order dominated by the military and its chief, General Ne Win. 


A Decade of Democracy: The State of the Moderate Thakins, 1948-1958 
       Power in post-war Burma did not devolve into the hands of the "old time" pol-iticians -- U Saw, Sir Paw Tun, U Ba Pe, U Pu, and so on -- who had been "trained" and were experienced in the ways of parliamentary politics and governance.[165]  It fell into the hands of the Thakins.  They were politicized young men who emerged in the 1930s as extreme and impatient nationalists.  They were the product of a time when the world was gripped by a severe economic depression; when anti-capitalist sentiments were as strong as nationalist ones, not only in the world’s peripheral regions but in
Europe itself.  In Burma, the global depression resulted in the only peasant rebellion of any note in colonial Burma -- the rebellion of Saya San, now hailed as the foremost Bama national hero.[166] 

       The Thakins -- from whose ranks sprang the military Thakins -- were mostly from the "educated" (pyin-nya-tat) sub-stratum.  They were inspired by Saya San, by "past glories" of the Bama lu-myo (race),[167]  and as well by Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and other Western figures.  They were politicized, too, by the dismal prospect of employment in the lower ranks of the colonial bureaucracy, serving the imperial power as school-teachers and clerks.[168]  It was these men who shaped
Burma’s destiny.  To name only the most prominent, they included Aung San (later, Bogyoke or General), Maung Nu, Than Tun, Soe, Ba Swe, Kyaw Nyein, Shu Maung (later General Ne Win), and Aung Gyi, Tin Pe, and Maung Maung (all top military brass in later years).

       They called themselves thakin ("lord" or "master," a form of address used towards Europeans).  They belonged to the Dobama Asi-Ayone, the Dobama, "We Bama," movement.[169]  Their platform was independence, and their version of nation-alism rested on negative sentiments -- anti-White, anti-foreign, anti-capitalist.  They rejected liberal democracy, espoused a foggy notion of "national" socialism, and held to a vague vision of a "golden past" that depicted the Bama as a conquering master race (lu-myo), which dominated and ruled over other lesser lu-myo, until it was defeated by the British, and its kingdom disembered.  |

       As it was spelled out in 1941 by Aung San (then an obscure supplicant in Tokyo), the Dobama creed aspired to "a strong state ... [as] in Germany and Italy, [of] only one nation, one state, one party, one leader."  It would be a state without parliamentary opposition or the "nonsense of individualism".[170]  In Josef Silverstein’s view, Aung San later repudiated the authoritarian statism attributed to him.[171]  None-theless, like their nationalists counterparts in
Indonesia, most Thakins retained the authoritarian, or non-democratic, notion of state-society order.  The Communist Thakins (Than Tun and Soe), for example, aspired to an authoritarian Leninist-Stalinist state.  The AFPFL itself, consisting mostly of moderate Thakins, aspired to rule for forty years.[172]  The military Thakins under Ne Win established a military-"socialist" authoritarian state between 1962 and 1988.  Ne Win’s successors are now attempting to establish an authoritarian "capitalist" state. 

       Despite its authoritarian, unitary orientation, the Dobama was actually a loose-ly structured political front, composed of shifting cliques and factions, headed by leaders with diverse and changing beliefs.[173]  Among its leaders, some in time became "moderate socialists," like Thakin, later General, Aung San, and Thakins Nu (later U Nu), Ba Swe, and Kyaw Nyein, to name a few.  Then there were staunch Marxists like Thakins Soe, Than Tun, Ba Hein, and Thein Pe Myint, along with rightwing nationalists such as Thakins Ba Sein, Tun Ok, and Shu Maung (Ne Win).  The result was much jockeying for dominance among Thakin groups and leaders. 

       The fortunes of war and politics determined that some became ministers, "national" leaders, and high officials, first in the Japanese-sponsored "independent state" during the war years (1943-1945), and later in post-independence
Burma.  Leftist-communist Thakins, lost out in the power struggle on the eve of independen-ce.  They ended up in the jungle, fighting as rebels and revolutionaries.  The military Thakins commanded assorted "armies" during the war,[174] and some of them later became senior officers in the Tatmadaw, and some of them and their "successors", have been in command also of the state since 1962.  

       The AFPFL emerged after the war as a formidable force.  It was another broad nationalist front organized by Aung San against the Japanese, which he dominated.  Its members established themselves in the structures of power (left vacant after the British retreat from Burma).  At the time, Aung San also commanded the loyalty of military Thakins, some of whom the British had incorporated into the reformed Burma Army.  He also headed a militia grouping, the Pyithu-Yebaw (PVO: People’s Volunteers Organization), which was in effect the AFPFL’s private army.[175] 

       It was fortunate for the AFPFL that
Japan delivered a death blow to British power and prestige in Asia.  When combined with the war’s realignment of global power, Britain’s parlous postwar condition, and the decision to quit India, there was virtually no possibility of the British reimposing their rule.  The years 1945 to 1947, then, were a time to choose a successor to the colonial power.[176]  Thanks to Aung San’s pragmatism and political acumen,[177] the war-weakened condition of other elite segments,[178] and the undesirability of the left-communist Thakin alternative, the transfer of power to Aung San and moderate Thakin forces was all but inevitable.  The transfer of power was orderly and peaceful, in contrast to events in Indonesia which will be discussed in the next chapter. 

       As "moderate socialists," AFPFL powerholders, like "socialists" counterparts in Indonesia, opted for democracy and parliamentary government, while retaining their socialist goals.  Beset by erstwhile comrades -- communist Thakins and their allies -- contesting their rule, and not strong enough to stand alone, they had no choice but to take the accommodative -- i.e., a more politically and ethnically inclus-ive -- path chosen by Aung San (assassinated in July 1947).  It was led this time by U Nu as Prime Minister.[179]  The AFPFL state was thus out of step with the more "revolutionary," ethnocentric, and authoritarian creed of the Dobama movement, to which the military Thakins (or Thakins in the armed forces) clung. 

       The state’s structure was decentralized to a degree in the wake of the 1947 Panglong Agreement signed by Aung San and the Yawnghwe chaofa (prince), Sao Shwe Thaike, and later the first Union President, along with other non-Bama leaders.  In keeping with the 1948 Constitution, based in part on the Panglong Agreement, non-Bama states enjoyed some political-administrative autonomy.  Each non-Bama state had its own government, legislature, and its own administrative setup.  In this sense, the AFPFL state was ethnically inclusive in that the rights and autonomy of larger non-Bama ethnic segment were recognized and respected, in principle at least. 

       The recognition of ethnic diversity, or ethnic inclusiveness, went against the military's notion of national unity which is one that is based on, as discussed in the theoretical chapters, the notion of "one-ness", or the absence of conflicts (and diss-ent, or even differences).  Likewise, the military in
Burma subscribed to the Dobama's version of national unity premised upon the claimed historical dominance or hegemony of the Bama race ("nation"), or the submission of all non-Bama segments to the notion of nationhood based almost exclusively on Bama ethnicity.  

       However, although the non-Bama states were "autonomous", they were subordinated to the government of Bama Pri-Ma (the Bama mother-state), which was concurrently the government of the union:  there did not exist what one might describe as a federal government.  The quasi-federal/semi-unitary arrangement was a compromise that satisfied the moderate Thakins’ need to claim they had "recovered" all territories which were "lost" when the British administered the non-Bama areas as separate entities.[180]  On the down side, however, it did not satisfy in particular the military Thakin, who viewed the quasi-federal arrangement as detrimental to unity.  At the same time, many non-Bama saw the "union" as a Bama ploy to "Burmanize" them and destroy their "national" identity.[181] 

       On the whole, the AFPFL state was, in the way power was organized, democ-ratic in form and to a degree in content.  It sought the institutional separation of the state, government, and powerholders, and kept open the political arena.  There were many different and competing power centres, interest groups, and political parties, with one of the latter, the AFPFL, winning elections and exercising power.  The ability of AFPFL leaders, especially U Nu, to maintain this complex state-society configuration in a more or less democratic environment for about fourteen years, despite extreme praetorian conditions and regular rebellions, is impressive.[182] 

       To appreciate just how impressive, it should be noted that on assuming power, the AFPFL was everywhere challenged, and severely wounded by the loss of its most vital asset, Aung San.  His death weakened the AFPFL’s cohesion as his charisma had cemented it.  With Aung San went the AFPFL’s hold on the majority of the milit-ary Thakins, both in the armed forces and in the party’s private "army," the Pyithu Yebaw (PVO).  Thakin officers in three of the four Bama "class" battalions[183] defected to the communist Thakins, as did the PVOs.  An exception was Ne Win’s Fourth Burma Rifles, which included Maung Maung, Aung Gyi, Tin Pe, Sein Lwin, "Em-I" Tin Oo,[184] and others. 

       The AFPFL’s weakness emboldened communist Thakins to rebel soon after independence; their revolt lasted until the collapse of communism in the late 1980s.[185]  In turn, the many tasks which confronted AFPFL power-holders as rulers -- such as combating communism (or specifically, fending off communist Thakin rivals), keep-ing the country together, extending the reach of the state, repulsing foreign intruders, and so on -- resulted not only in their growing dependence on the military, but also in the expansion of the military's role and, correspondingly, its importance and political leverage.  It also reinforced the military's perception of itself as an indispensible guardian-protector and savior of the state.  This suggests the strengthening of factors that encourage, as discussed in the preliminary chapters, the military's propensity not only to intervene in politics, but also to "stay on", as theoretically discussed, to re-fashion the state and take on the task of ruling.  

       Next to the communist Thakins, the most serious challenge to the AFPFL state and power-holders was posed by the Karen.  In 1948, a year after independence, the fragile truce patched up with the Karen following the wartime BIA massacres of Karens dissolved into Karen-Bama clashes.  The "loyal" Karen who fought against the Japanese had, in a sense, won the war.  But in its aftermath, they were faced with the prospect of being ruled, from their standpoint, by "deceitful" Bama -- by those who had betrayed not only the British, but their own Japanese mentors as well.  Their position was desperate.  U Nu and Saw Ba U-Gyi, the top Karen leader, tried to defuse the tension, but they could not prevent the Karen rebellion, which continues at a reduced level still today.[186]  The Karen were joined in revolt by the Mon, Pa-O, and Kachin mutineers. 

       Compounding the AFPFL’s problems with internal challenges, Chiang Kai-Shek’s defeat in China brought KMT (Kuomintang) units flooding into Shan State.  There they laid the foundations for a multi-billion-dollar, global opium-heroin business which still flourishes.  Worse still, the military units dispatched into Shan State to counter the KMT ended up committing atrocities and sparking a Shan upris-ing in the late 1950s.[187] 

       Despite these many problems and internal wars, however, the AFPFL continued to respect the parameters of parliamentary politics.  They held and won elections in 1952 and 1956.  The 1956 vote was especially pivotal: the opposition, the National Unity Front (NUF, a moderate leftist front) won 45 percent of the popular vote and 47 seats.[188]  The NUF’s electoral gains convinced significant "underground" elements that parliament was a viable venue of politics.  In 1958, responding to U Nu’s "Arms for Democracy" program, they abandoned the armed struggle.[189]  By most indicators, it seemed democracy in Burma was well on the way to consolidation. 

       On the other hand, although the AFPFL Thakin were more or less able to main-tain a parliamentary, quasi-federal order until 1962, the commitment to democratic process that they displayed was rather ambiguous.  First, the AFPFL openly aspired to rule for forty years.  They stacked the administrative apparatus, the military, state agencies, and even municipal bodies with their supporters and clients.  This under-mined the state’s autonomy from key power-holders, undercut the institutional integ-rity of the bureaucracy, and eroded democratic norms.  Second, the AFPFL interfered in the politics of the non-Bama states.  Opposition leaders and groups received help from the AFPFL, the military, or its intelligence services (MIS, the Military Intelligence Service).[190]  The military was particularly active not only in "mopping up" rebels, but in imposing its presence, via "pacificat-ion" marches into the rural areas to intimidate the non-Bama populace ("showing the flag", so to speak). 

       It also established garrisons, set up check-points, and in many areas took direct control of administrative functions.  For example, in areas put under martial law, the military set up a hierarchy of Security and Administrative Committees (SACs), head-ed by the local military commander.  The heads of the SACs, being military officers, held the balance of power vis-à-vis local civil officers, and reported to their superiors in the military chain of command.  Thus, in the non-Bama states, the power exercised by military commanders over-shadowed those vested in local officers, and even the constitutionally vested powers of the non-Bama state governments.[191]   Moreover, MIS personnel busied themselves with "rooting" out "secessionists", and terrorized the non-Bama populace, so as to dissuade them from even harboring the idea of secession.  The policy of "Burmanization" -- the central pillar of which was making Burmese (the Bama language) the official language -- predictably caused non-Bama much distress.  It gave rise to suspicions that the "Bama" government had a hidden agenda aimed at cultural genocide.  The apparent unwillingness or inability of the AFPFL to put a stop to atrocities by the Bama military further fuelled these suspicions. 

       Third, the AFPFL’s professed adherence to democracy was undermined by its socialist statism, as this was proclaimed in the 1947 Sorrento Villa Conference, en-shrined in the 1948 Constitution, and reiterated in the 1952 Pyidawtha Plan.[192]  AFPFL socialism resulted in what one American analyst called a "socialist economy" based on grandiose, ideologically-driven planning.[193]  The implementation of some socialist policies, the rhetoric portraying capitalism and capitalists as evil, strength-ened the hegemony of this left-socialist world view.  It kept alive the Dobama’s creed of national-socialist authoritarianism, especially among military Thakins who, like soldiers in Indonesia and Thailand, were mistrustful of "disorderly" democratic polit-ics.  The attitude of the military toward democratic politics in Burma reflects the observations made in the theoretical framework concerning the military's distrust of democratic politics, and its view of it as disruptive of national unity and encouraged social conflict.   


The First Military Foray Into Politics: The Military Caretakers, 1958-1960 
       Politics in any democratic polity are complex.  In a multi-ethnic state like
Burma, it was all the more so.  Although the AFPFL Thakins were beset by armed rebellions from the start, they managed more or less to cope within the framework of parliamentary politics.  Democracy might have endured had they not split into the Stable (Swe-Nyein) and Clean (Nu-Tin) camps, with numerous additional cliques, in 1957-58. 

       The split stemmed from the fact that the AFPFL was a coalition of rival fact-ions led by AFPFL "bosses" like U Ba Swe, Kyaw Nyein, Thakins Tin, and Kyaw Tun.[194]  The split stemmed basically from competition between AFPFL factions (or party "empires" and party "czars") over the spoils of office and power, and jockeying among top leaders to get their respective loyalists appointed to strategic party posts.  Such intra-party conflicts are common to many political parties.  What made them deadly was that U Nu, regarded as standing above the factions, ended up joining the Clean camp.  The split paralyzed the government: all of the national and sub-national state machinery were filled by the AFPFL’s allies, clients, and supporters.  Anyone of importance was sucked into the fray: politicians, civil servants, mayors, editors, businessmen, even the third Union President – U Win Maung, a Karen.  With the ruling party and its member organizations split, the bureaucracy paralyzed, and even society-based institutions divided into Stable and Clean camps, it seemed the government and the state itself were in danger of splitting asunder. 

                    In 1958, as the theoretical discussion of the previous chapters would predict, the military, feeling its privileged place in the state hierarchy threatened along with the state itself, intervened in the political sphere.  The military intrusion was led by "Young Turks" Brigadiers like Aung Gyi, Tin Pe, Maung Maung, Than Sein, Hla Myint, and others.  Well-informed Burmese with good military connections insist that the young Brigadiers who "persuaded" U Nu to hand power over to Ne Win -- did so without Ne Win's order or direct involvement.[195]  As such, the intervention took on the complexion of an "aid to civil power" operation by the military at the request of the Prime Minister, to restore stability and prevent the break-up of the country.  It did not lead to the reorganization of political power -- which is in agreement with the theoretical discussion where I stressed the importance of a military strongman-unifier, who must transform the military into a cohesive political instrument.  

      The official -- and U Nu's and the military's -- version is that U Nu, worried by the party split which affected the whole country, especially the elite segments in government, politics, even societal associations, made use of a clause in the const-itution allowing for the appointment of a non-MP to the government, to invite the armed forces chief, Ne Win, to assume temporary control.[196]  There was, officially, no "coup".  However, there were troops and armoured cars posted at strategic points in Rangoon for several weeks, and there were as well checkpoints manned by soldiers in full battle gear on the outskirts of the capital, again, for several weeks.[197]  The fact of the matter may lie in-between those who believe that the Brigadiers staged a coup, though indirectly, and the official version. 

       The situation was complicated by the struggle -- at its height then -- between two ruling factions, and Aung Gyi was close to U Ba Swe, the co-leader of the Stable faction that failed to oust U Nu from government.  Moreover, U Nu's decision to "invite" Ne Win in as a caretaker was made soon after a visit by Maung Maung and Aung Gyi -- but not much is known, up to now, about what was actually said and what transpired.  The decision to hand over power to the military was U Nu's, and his alone.  It came as a surprise to most cabinet members.[198]  According to Richard Butwell, U Nu had no choice but to agree to hand over power: the choice was between inviting the military to power, or "inviting" a coup.[199]  It was, as Dr. Ba Maw, a very prominent Burmese former mentor of the Thakins, put it, a "coup by consent".[200] 

      Soldiers ruled as caretakers for two years.  Compared with the second intervention in 1962, though, they performed well.[201]  Especially praised was the encouragement of capitalist development, as provided for in the 1959 Burma Investment Act.  It offered domestic and foreign investors a 20-year guarantee against nationalization; looser restrictions on the importation and repatriation of capital and earnings; and exemptions for new investors from custom duties and taxes for three years.  All of this was drastically reversed in 1962 -- when Ne Win gained undisputed control of the military and was able to reorganize the state in accordance with his "Burmese socialist" agenda.[202]
 

      
The soldiers-caretakers launched "annihilation" operations against insurgents, and as in Thailand after Sarit's takeover, soldiers cracked down on "subversives" (ethnic activists and "communists"), black marketeers, price-gougers, street-hawkers, slum-dwellers, squatters, and stray dogs.  They cleaned up the streets and gave build-ings a fresh coat of paint.  They also waged a relentless psychological war against leftist and communist philosophies via the National Solidarity Association (NSA),[203] a creation of the military’s psychological-warfare department.  The thrust of this initial military intrusion into politics was typical of the anti-communist, "can-do" mentality operative among Burmese soldiers, as in Thailand under Sarit, who seized power around the same time.[204]  The military appeared to be "getting the job done," building the state and the nation, and setting the stage for a free-market "take-off" by liberating the economy of the AFPFL’s "socialist" shackles.

       What is of particular theoretical relevance about this first military intervention is how different it was from the second.  It came more in the form of an "aid to the civil power," rather than a seizure of power.  Parliament was only suspended; political parties were not banned.  In fact, Ne Win insisted on obtaining a parliamentary mandate to rule as head of the caretaker regime.[205]  The administrative machinery of the state was neither seized nor subordinated to the military.  And, importantly, the military caretakers chose to recognise (in form at least) the autonomy of the non-Bama states, as constitutionally provided.  In the appointment of new heads for these states, for examples, they accepted candidates chosen by the state legislature.  Unlike in 1962, there was almost no change in ministerial-administrative personnel at the state level.[206] 

       Further, as promised, Ne Win held an election in 1960, and handed power over to U Nu and his Union Party (formerly the Clean AFPFL), which had won a landslide victory.  Ne Win thus gained fame as a "no-nonsense" statesman-soldier.  He so impressed the outside world with his competence and professionalism that he was nominated for the prestigious Magsaysay prize, which he declined.[207]  His image as a constitutional, professional soldier was further boosted when he dismissed the "Young Turks" who figured prominently as military caretakers -- Maung Maung, Kyi Win, Aung Shwe, Tun Sein, Chit Khaing, and others.  This also restored U Nu’s trust in Ne Win.[208]  Lulled by a sense that parliamentary democracy had been restored, legislators, politicians, and community-communal leaders went about their business as usual.  No one then realized the magnitude of the change in the balance of power at the heart of the state that the AFPFL split had brought in its train.  Surprise was thus the order of the day when, in the pre-dawn hours of
March 2, 1962, the military seized power.  Soldiers have remained as "permanent" actors in politics ever since.
                                                                                          An explanation of the differences between the first and second military inter-vention may lie in the actions that Ne Win took following the announced handover of power in 1958.  He insisted on being "elected" by the parliament in October 1958, to effect a legal transfer of power for a year.  Again in September 1959, parliament was convened to extend his tenure for a year further.  His concern for constitutional legal-ity can be interpreted as actions of a politically unambitious professional soldier, or alternatively as those of a military chief unprepared to try to run the country -- the former interpretation contradicts his later actions. 

       Knowledgable Burmese maintain that the Tatmadaw was then dominated by "Young Turk" Brigadiers, who were ambitious, capable, and did not hold Ne Win in awe, as would those who followed them.  They believe that had Ne Win been in undis-puted control in 1958, it is likely that military rule would have lasted much longer.[209]  That this is likely the case is reinforced by Ne Win's dismissal, before his 1962 coup, of the "Young Turks" who were prominent in the caretaker regime, and the dismissal soon after of Aung Gyi, one of the masterminds of the 1958 "handover", and leader of a strong Tatmadaw faction. 

       The analysis indicates support for the theoretical observation advanced earlier that effective, prolonged military intervention that results in the reorganization of political power depends to a large extent on the military being unified by a strongman; and if an undisputed strongman is lacking, the military will most likely restore civilian rule -- if only temporarily. 

      As shown, military intervention in 1958 did not lead -- as it would in 1962 -- to the reorganization of political power and the state.  Ne Win had not at the time become what he was to become two years later: the undisputed, military strongman-unifier.  Therefore, upon being handed power in 1958 by the "Young Turks", Ne Win -- most uncharacteristically -- played the role of a professional, constitutional leader and reluctant military ruler.  He saw to it that elections were held in 1960 as he promised, and led his soldiers back to the barracks. 

             Ne Win’s Bama Tatmadaw: The Power Centre Within the State 
       Although the military seized complete control of the state only in 1962, its history is inextricably linked to politics.  In this context it is worth noting that the notion of the military as a specifically-organized coercive arm of the state, subordin-ated to the civil power and led by an apolitical officer corps, is quite novel in many Third World polities.  As Dorothy Guyot notes, the Tatmadaw was at its inception a "political movement in military garb": its founders and leaders -- the military Thakins -- were politicians first and foremost.[210] 

       The Tatmadaw’s history is shaped primarily by politics.  It originated in the plan of a Japanese intelligence officer, Colonel Keji Suzuki (
Burma’s "Lawrence of Arabia"), to raise a guerrilla force that would disrupt traffic on the Burma Road, an important logistic life-line of the Nationalist Chinese government in Chungking.  It was with this in mind that his agents contacted Bama politicians such as Dr. Ba Maw, Thakins Tun Ok, Ba Sein, and even U Saw (Prime Minister of Ministerial Burma from 1940 to 1942).[211]  The irony is that Aung San, the "father of the Tatmadaw," was only vaguely aware of these links.  He and a companion were in fact fugitives, stranded in Amoy, their plans to seek the help of the famed Eighth Route Army getting nowhere.  When Suzuki learned of Aung San’s whereabouts, the latter was picked up and taken to Tokyo.  In 1941, he returned secretly to Burma, hastily recruiting some Thakins (now known in the nationalist myth as the "Thirty Comrades'') for military training on Hainan island.  Among these was Thakin Shu Maung (Ne Win).[212] 

       But the plan for a Burmese guerrilla force was shelved when
Japan invaded Burma following its attack on Pearl Harbor.  Still, Suzuki managed to raise a motley armed band for his Thakin "officers".  Their first army, the Burma Independence Army (BIA), marched "victoriously" behind Japanese columns and "liberated" the country.[213]  In reality, though, the BIA fought only rarely; its chief Aung San admitted that he led no units, into combat or otherwise, but rather tagged along as Suzuki’s staff member.[214]  Some BIA units, however, did attack the Karen (loyal to the British), and committed various atrocities and massacres. 

       After a few months, the Japanese disbanded the BIA, now filled mostly with new Thakin recruits, many of whom were little more than drifters.  Thereafter, the Burma Defence Army (BDA) was formed from selected BIA members.  In 1945, when Aung San and the Thakins turned on their Japanese sponsors shortly before the Allied victory (after
Upper Burma was recaptured), the army was renamed the Burma Nation-al Army (BNA).  The BNA was recognized by the British as an anti-Japanese guerrilla force, and again renamed as the Patriotic Burmese Force (PBF).[215]  This, too, was subsequently disbanded, with selected members and officers incorporated by the British into four Bama battalions of the re-formed Burma Army.

       The above account of the various "armies" shows that from 1942 to 1948, mil-itary Thakins commanded or served in four differently-composed and -organized forces.  Only a handful served in all of them; of these, only a few served in the post-1948 armed forces.  As such, the conventional view of the Tatmadaw as a direct descendant of the "armies that fought for independence" is inaccurate.  The current Tatmadaw is essentially the child of Ne Win and the Fourth Burma Rifles who stood by the AFPFL in 1948.  Nonetheless, the military has persisted with its claim that it expelled both the British and the Japanese, "winning" Burmese independence, and therefore it is the rightful guardian of the state and nation.[216]

       But there is no questioning the debt AFPFL power-holders owed to the military Thakins in the first fragile years of independence.  It was the Tatmadaw, its ranks reinforced by Chin, Kachin, and Shan recruits, that blunted the offensive capabilities of both the communist Thakins and the Karen.  In this it was assisted by friendly governments, including the
United Kingdom, India, and the British Commonwealth.[217] 

       Even though the military quickly became an autonomous centre of power, one crucial to the survival of AFPFL Thakins prior to the 1958 AFPFL split, its chief and future strongman-ruler was apparently not very engaged politically.  Ne Win led the high life of wine, women, and pleasure.  He attended the races regularly; travelled abroad for the nightlife and horses; was involved in scandals with European callgirls and local starlets; broke up the marriage of Daw Khin May Than, a prominent social-ite, and then married her, though he was already married [218]  As such, he commanded little in the way of public esteem, and almost no Thakin superior – not U Nu, not Kyaw Nyein, not Ba Swe – thought of him as a threat or rival. 

             On the other hand, top brass such as Aung Gyi, Maung Maung, and Tin Pe, those who believed in the Dobama creed and the founding myths of the military, resented the civilian Thakins.  In their view, those who had not risked their necks in the independence struggle, civilian Thakins and others now enjoying the "fruits of independence", were necessarily less capable, less patriotic, and "unrevolutionary."[219]   As true believers, they were unhappy with two main features of the AFPFL state. 

       One was its underpinnings of parliamentary democracy, which they saw, like their Thai and Indonesian counterparts, as a dangerously unstable system that would only hamper the state’s ability to perform its tasks.[220]  Accordingly, the Burmese military hardly welcomed the outcome of the 1956 elections, which gave the moderate-left NUF a full 45 percent of the votes.  The military was also deeply suspicious of U Nu’s "Arms for Democracy" program, which included the 1958 surrender of a number of rebel armies and their embrace of parliamentary politics.  Soldiers (and analysts like Frank Trager) viewed this as "crypto-communist" subversion, and saw the need for the military to step in and "save" democracy and the nation.[221]  For the military, the years of democracy under the AFPFL were years of incompetence, corruption, and weakness that demonstrated the inability of the state to counter the communist threat. 

       The other aspect of the AFPFL state that fuelled military disgruntlement was the semi-federal arrangement between the centre, the Bama mother-country, and the non-Bama states.  This constitutional arrangement was seen as encouraging "narrow" non-Bama nationalism.  In
Taylor’s view, reflecting the military’s, it was of Western derivation, the creation of colonial pseudo-scholars.[222]  Likewise, the military did not view the 1961-1962 "Federal" movement to reform the constitution as a reflection of non-Bama confidence in the Union and democracy.  The movement was initiated and led by the governments of non-Bama states.  Its aim was to re-negotiate the terms of incorporation in the Union, and gain a more equitable share of power, particularly in terms of taxation and defence.  Defence was a thorny issue since the military, under the central government, was not in the least accountable to state governments and regularly perpetrated grave atrocities.  In essence, the non-Bama leaders wanted the union of co-equal states that Aung San and AFPFL leaders promised at the Panglong conference a year before independence.[223]  Instead the military saw the movement as a secessionist scheme of Shan princes led by Sao Shwe Thaike, the first Union Pres-ident and regarded as the co-creator (with Aung San) of the Union in 1947.[224]  

       The military’s growing disenchantment with the AFPFL state, and its wider distaste for democratic politics, was matched by its growth as an autonomous centre of power, a "state within a state."  First, military officers had usurped administrative-political power while conducting military operations in "insecure" areas of the non-Bama states and the Bama hinterland itself.  They exercised wide administrative powers as heads of the SACs, and enjoyed authority over regular civilian administrat-ors.  Second, the MIS, responsible for rooting out "enemies of the state," had grown very powerful thanks to its key role in the internal war.  It was accountable to Ne Win alone; he personally supervised its staffing and operations.  Third, not only was the military well-funded, and its members and their families well cared-for by the state;[225] but it had also become, by the mid-1950s, an economic powerhouse.  Its Defence Service Industry (DSI), headed by Aung Gyi, enjoyed non-profit status and ready access to foreign currency and investment capital (both foreign and domestic).  It was also exempted from all fees and customs duties.  Over time, it became an econ-omic empire dominating the "modern" sector – shipping, banking, imports-exports, hotels and tourism, and so on.[226] 

       The first military intrusion into politics, from 1958 to 1960, was a sign of things to come.  However, although the AFPFL split and the "caretaker" interlude signified a radical shift, with power flowing from the hands of civilian power-holders into the hands of soldiers at the very core of the state, few seemed to grasp the deeper implications.  After the 1960 elections, political actors continued to participate in "normal" politics, unaware of the vulnerability of the democratic arena itself.  Non-Bama leaders, mistaking U Nu’s popularity for strength, came up with the Federal movement to redress imbalances between the centre and states.  Worse still -- and foolishly, in hindsight -- U Nu went ahead with his most divisive election promise: making Buddhism the state religion.  The non-Buddhist segments of society, including Christianized Chin, Kachin, and Karen, rallied in protest.

       In politics, it goes without saying that what is "normal" depends on who defines what is "normal" and how it is defined.  For soldiers, whose vision of a "normal" politics is a hierarchical order managed by those who know best (as Manuel Garreton notes[227]), parliamentary politics was abnormal and dangerous, and promoted and exacerbated social conflicts.  Democratic politics in 1960-62 was decidedly "overheated."  U Nu appeared directionless and often disengaged, his party wracked by internal squabbling.  Widespread political disorder -- as perceived by the military -- gave it an opening to spring its political surprise on a March morning in 1962. 

       The analysis, above, highlights the observation in the opening chapters that military intervention is bound up with the the military's role in the state and its affairs, and that it is connected to its vision of how state-society relations is to be ordered and political power organized.  The military in
Burma viewed itself as the creator-guardian and protector of the state, and this self-image was reinforced by a wide range of non-military tasks that it performed.  The military "saved" the AFPFL state from assaults on it by leftist-communist Thakins, and also fought the Karen (and their allies) who resisted being included in what they regarded as a Bama-dominated state.  It also undertook the task of "planting the flag" in the non-Bama areas, i.e., imposing the Dobama's vision of "national unity".  Its role was expanded when it undertook administrative responsibilities in "insecure" zones throughout the country.  It further became an economic powerhouse that dominated the modern sector of the economy, thanks to the DSI and Aung Gyi's dynamic leadership. 

       The military's expanded role and dominance that resulted, reinforced not only the military Thakins' self-image as guardians and protectors of the state, but also their dislike and distrust of democratic politics.  Likewise, they viewed the "Federal" movement as a threat to "national unity" and an attempt to dismember the country.  U Nu's poor performance after the 1960 elections and the protests against making Budd-hism the official state religion, convinced the military Thakins that it was time to re-configure state-society relations and re-arrange the way power was organized. 

Ne Win’s Military-Socialist Authoritarian State, 1962-1988  
       Ne Win’s coup ended fourteen years of parliamentary politics.  It also trans-formed the status of the non-Bama states, from co-dependent and theoretically coequal entities to tightly-controlled units of a centralist state.  The new state order was one in which political, administrative, and legislative bodies at all levels were occupied and controlled by military officers responsible only to their superiors in the chain of command.  A politically closed, ethnically exclusive, highly authoritarian "socialist" state was imposed.  The state-society arrangement was classically authoritarian, with power concentrated in the hands of officials (i.e., military officers, in particular), politics shut down, and dissent forbidden.

       This second military intervention was clearly different in scope and direction.  This time it was led by Ne Win, now the undisputed strongman.  He not only dominated the armed forces, but had won his political spurs (along with international accolades) as a stern, effective military "modernizer" -- a leader who had outperform-ed the politicians.  Ne Win was prepared, indeed determined, to take sole charge of the state.  As Aung Gyi (second in the hierarchy in 1962) put it, "the Bogyoke" -- Ne Win himself -- "planned, manoeuvred troops, gave commands, and everything else."[228]  

       It has been suggested in the theoretical discussion that after the military captures the state, political centre of gravity shifts towards the one who unifies the military under his command and becomes the head of state.  In keeping with this prediction, Ne Win set about reorganizing political power to conform to his own agenda, founded in part on the Dobama creed: a centralized, authoritarian "socialist" order, to be achieved by "Burmese methods" and cast in a "Burmese mode."[229]  Once Ne Win ordained a "uniquely Burmese" path to socialism, Aung Gyi’s rival, Tin Pe – advised by Ba Nyein, Chit Hlaing, and a monk, U Okkata – concocted the doctrine of Anya-Manya Th’bawtra (the System of Correlation of Man and his Environment, or SCME), on which ''Burmese socialism'' was to be built.  Although touted as based on a non-Marxian "objective dialectical realism," it was in Moshe Lissak’s words, a "hazy elaboration," whose uniqueness rested on oversimplified generalizations of both socialist and liberal principles, and Buddhist principles as well.[230]  

       During the first few years of military rule, Ne Win and the Revolutionary Council (RC) seemed amply aware of their lack of legitimacy.  Undoubtedly, the killing of protesting university students on
July 7, 1962, three months after the coup, contributed to the regime’s unpopularity, as did the demolition of the historic Rang-oon University Students Union building the very next day.[231]  The coup-makers had alienated the AFPFL, the only political machine with a nationwide reach, first by deposing U Nu, and second by refusing to share power with the Ba Swe-Kyaw Nyein camp.[232]  

       In an effort to improve its image, the RC made periodic overtures to the armed opposition.  In 1963, it invited Thakin Soe’s Red Flag communists and Thakin Than Tun’s White Flag communists (the BCP, later the CPB) for "peace talks."  These proved unproductive when it became clear that Ne Win was interested only in the rebels’ surrender.[233]  In 1968, Ne Win released U Nu, Ba Swe, Kyaw Nyein and other prominent political prisoners, and asked thirty-three of them to share their suggest-ions on national unity.  The majority recommended a coalition government, the restoration of an open political arena, and negotiations with armed rebels.  But Ne Win ignored the advice he himself had solicited.[234]  General amnesties were pro-claimed in 1963, 1974, and 1980, but were largely ignored by the rebels.[235] 

       The alienation from the regime of AFPFL leaders, civilian elites, and "under-ground" forces tells only part of the story, however.  Another important consideration were Ne Win’s characteristics as personal ruler.  He was an autocrat and a tyrant, as these terms are deployed by Robert Jackson and Carl Rosberg:[236] an autocrat because he dominated the state completely and was able to prevent the emergence of rivals, and a tyrant because in addition to unrestrained power he also controlled the only viable instrument of rule – the military.[237]  Ne Win’s vision was of soldiers leading a vanguard party of the "uniquely Burmese" socialist revolution.  The very idea of an apolitical, professional military was dismissed by the Vice-Chief of Staff, Sun Yu, as "most harmful to the people."[238]  

       Ne Win's "new" order was one where the political sphere was encapsulated with a single, military-run vanguard party.  Reflecting the military’s aversion to democratic politics -- as suggested in the theoretical chapters -- the goal was to create "orderly politics" that denied participation to "unruly, divisive" elements.  Justificat-ion for the military’s monopolization of power was found in the idea that, because of its "historic" role and "sacrifices," only the military could serve as the tried and tested guardian of the nation. 

       The Revolutionary Council (RC), employing the state’s coercive capacity, set out to exclude most of society from the political arena.  It outlawed all political parties and organized groups; nationalized or shut down newspapers; imposed con-trols and censorship over all manner of publications; and imprisoned activists and politicians from the political right and left alike.  After clearing the political decks in this fashion, the RC then established a ruling party, the Mranmah Sosheilit Lanzin party, or BSPP.[239]  Its function, in theory, was to control the articulation of interests and to aggregate demands deemed acceptable; to manage political participation; to mobilize the population; and to oversee the work of the organs of state.

       In 1974, a constitution to enshrine the single-party state order was adopted after a symbolic plebiscite.  In accordance with the theoretical premise advanced earlier, the constitution signified a shift in the centre of political gravity towards the military strongman-ruler.  In form, the new order was a one-party edifice.  In line with the principle of democratic centralism, the BSPP, claiming to represent the luptha-prithu (working people), penetrated and controlled all executive, administrat-ive, legislative, and judicial bodies right down to the level of the township councils.[240]   In reality, however, the BSPP was a hollow shell.  Unlike
Indonesia’s Golkar in which civilian bureaucrats and some civilians had a voice -- as will be discussed --  the organs of the BSPP were entirely controlled by military officers, beholden in turn to their military superiors.  This meant in practice that the military chain of command was the only structure of command and control in the country.[241]  The BSPP party and the constitutional hierarchy of party and state, subordinating the latter to the former, was a fiction concealing the hard fact of military rule and personal autocracy. 

       To prevent the party from ever challenging the military and Ne Win, it was kept on edge by frequent purges.  For instance, in 1974, when the Taze town party branch in upper
Burma defiantly put forward its own men for elections to the local people’s council and parliament (Prithu-Hluttaw), all of its candidates and key cadres were arrested and dismissed.  In 1976-77, over 50,000 party members were purged following the firing of Defence Minister Tin U, who had gained considerable stature within the armed forces.[242]  And in 1977-78, over 100 Central Committee members and over a thousand party members were expelled when San Yu and Kyaw Soe received more votes than Ne Win in a Central Committee election.  Other measures included the dismissal of a BSPP official whenever there were signs that s/he was gaining influence within the party or with the population at large.  The BSPP was certainly not a vehicle of upward mobility, or even of "getting things done."  Nor was it intended to be.  Disempowered, kept off-balance, it failed utterly to gain autonomy and institutional integrity; it decayed and atrophied.  The BSPP became little more than a make-work project for baungbee-khyot, ex-military men, or a holding tank for military "misfits" – those who had displeased superiors, or sided with patrons who had lost out in court intrigues, or aroused Ne Win's suspicion.[243]   

       An even worse fate was visited upon civil servants.  Instead of running the state administrative and regulatory machinery, they became the "errand boys" of under-qualified military placed above them.  In this respect, Ne Win differs significantly from the Thai strongman-rulers and
Indonesia’s Suharto, all of whom appreciated the bureaucracy’s importance to some extent at least, seeing it as a counter-weight to the military.  In Burma, by contrast -- as Maung Maung Gyi notes -- Ne Win reduced state agencies to medieval fiefdoms.  Civil servants lived by the "Three Don’ts" dict-um -- "Don’t perform, Don’t get involved, Don’t get fired" -- and the "Three Rules": "Go if Summoned, Do as Told, Never question Orders."[244]  As a consequence, the bureaucracy, like the party, withered.  It responded less and less to rational-legal norms, and increasingly to the "logic" of opaque, patrimonial military politics and intrigues. 

       The legislative branch fared no better.  The Prithu Hluttaw (parliament) and a hierarchy of people’s councils were never really invigorated.  The top brass selected the candidates, mostly former military men.  Ne Win, of course, stood at the zenith of this selection process.  "Legislators" acted out their roles according to scripts written by the military men in control of the assemblies.  In exchange, they could take advan-tage of various perks, including access to scarce goods that could be converted into small fortunes on the black market.[245]   

       With reference to the theoretical chapters of the new patterns of autonomy relations in military-authoritarian orders, the above analysis suggests the emergence in
Burma of, as discussed, a highly-insulated and non-malleable order.  With the military dominating all state structures and intermediary institutions, and with societal associations banned, the BSPP state exhibited, as theoretically observed and predicted, a very high degree of autonomy vis-à-vis society, and society's autonomy from the state was thus severely circumscribed.  This was true to the extent that the state was inaccessible even to civilian officials in the administrative or BSPP (political) bureaucracy.  The pattern of autonomy relations that resulted was one in which the state was unresponsive not only to social forces, but to non-military officials and other elites as well.

       On the other hand, the BSPP state was not insulated from Ne Win and the military – in the sense that the state's institutions were highly malleable by Ne Win, and after him, by subordinate military power-holders, and in varying degrees, by military officers holding party or state positions.  In other words, the BSPP state was almost solely responsive to the preferences of the ruler and the military.  And being narrowly-based in this fashion, it was cohesive, and strong in its coercive capacity. 


Ne Win: Personal Rule and the Politics of Authoritarianism
       The BSPP Order, as Mya Maung puts it, was one where "an all powerful milit-ary elite [occupied] the top social layer, [with] some lesser elites clinging onto the coat tails of the military commanders, [while] simple folks survive[d] in the base layer as subscribers to the capricious laws and dictates of the military rulers."[246]  Notwithstanding the green uniforms at the top of the hierarchy, though, the military was neither all-powerful nor fully autonomous.  Rather, it was highly submissive toward and dependent upon one man.

       Like successful personal rulers in
Thailand and Indonesia, Ne Win was a master at keeping his subordinates divided and mutually suspicious, and controlling potential rivals through regular purges.  One of his first actions after the 1962 coup was the purging of Aung Gyi, an entrepreneurially-minded potential rival, with Tin Pe providing help.  Next to go was Tin Pe himself, purged in 1968 with the aid of San Yu’s faction.  In 1976, with San Yu again on side and joined by "Em-I" (MIS) Tin Oo’s factions, the popular defense minister, Tin U, was purged.  In 1983, "Em-I" Tin Oo himself,[247] as a rising star and likely successor, was expelled, this time with the help of Sein Lwin and Ne Win’s daughter, Sanda Win, a major in the medical corps.[248] 

       These purges at the top meant that hundreds in the patrimonial chain, at times a thousand or more, were also sacked and/or imprisoned.  In keeping with Ne Win’s reputed paranoid tendencies,[249] moreover, officers with "the right stuff" – those who foolishly showed signs of ambition or independence – were weeded out, sent to the various fronts as cannon-fodder.[250]  Those whom Ne Win trusted and liked were, just as arbitrarily, rewarded with high and lucrative posts in the BSPP state-party hierarchy.

        Ne Win’s style was replicated in the military chain of command: there, too, merit and performance mattered little.  The key to getting ahead, to avoiding frontline duty, to preserve oneself from being sidelined or dismissed, was to curry favour with patrons and superiors.  This meant providing them with regular cash payoffs or "tributes," obtained through the misappropriation of public funds, plunder, extortion, bribes, and blackmarket dealing in contraband goods or narcotics.  For example, those posted to Mogok and Hpa-kan, noted for rubies and jade respectively, were expected to provide gems and cash "tributes."[251]  Wives of officers were and are required to run errands for the wives of superiors, thereby promoting their husbands’ careers.  The tribute-based, patronage-oriented system regarded offices and ranks as opportunities to be fully exploited.  The notion that rank and position were not personally owned was an irrational one in the patrimonial environment of the BSPP and post-BSPP military.[252]

       Within this patrimonialized and de-institutionalized hierarchy of domination, Ne Win stood supreme.[253]  Like the kings of old, his every whim was law.  Ministers and generals trembled before him like children or personal retinues, and he treated them as such: insulting, assaulting, and dismissing them at will.  Cabinet meetings were rare.  Instead, ministers and high officials were summoned to join a circle of his tea-sipping, rustic cronies.  Direct instructions were seldom issued.  Rather, the acolytes had to guess Ne Win’s wishes from the meandering talks he delivered on every topic under the sun.[254]  Many decisions were, to say the least, idiosyncratic-ally arrived at – based on numerology or astrology, or personal whims.  These included the decisions to discontinue the teaching of English in schools, and then the abrupt reversal of the policy (in 1962 and 1980 respectively); the change of the traffic system from left-hand to right-hand drive, in 1972; and the demonetization of certain kyat notes and their replacement by odd-numbered denominates (kyat 15, 25, 35, 45, 75 notes -- and, the 90 kyat note, the number nine being a lucky number).  With such power at his command, Ne Win could have emulated Sarit and Suharto, and made a degree of positive contribution to his country’s well-being.  It is
Burma’s misfortune that he did little with the near-absolute power he held so firmly and for so long, except ruin a potentially rich country.

       An important key to Ne Win’s control over both the military and the population at large was the MIS, accountable to him alone.  The agency was empowered to censor mail, tap phones, spy, conduct searches, make arrests on mere supicion, detain without warrant or charges laid, imprison without trial or formal sentencing, torture, maim, and kill with impunity. 

       No one was safe, not even the agency’s own personnel -- they were spied upon and frequently purged.[255]  The MIS kept tabs on prominent figures inside and outside the military, providing the strongman-ruler with a handy weapon against foes and challengers, real or imagined.  MIS spies were attached to military units, with the information obtained filed away for future use.  Thus, the MIS effectively paralyzed not just the military brass but the entire officer corps, prevent-ing the emergence of autonomous power centres.[256]  Owing to the untrammelled use of its arbitrary powers, the MIS gained the image of being all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-seeing.  That was enough to depoliticize the general population, causing them to fear and shun politics.[257]

       At least for the armed elites, however, servile loyalty generally had its compen-sations.  Prime among them was Ne Win’s "cradle to grave" welfare system.  He was generous with the state resources at his disposal, and his "generosity" earned him the status of Abha (Revered Father) among soldiers.  A small example of this generosity was the fact that the houses of current and former senior officers are his personal "gifts" to them.[258]  Loyal officers were made ministers, ambassadors, heads of party and state bodies, legislators, judges.  They received the usual perks – freehouses, cars, the best medical services, foreign travel, and imported luxuries.  Their power was constrained only by Ne Win.  Access to "special privileges and sanctioned corr-uption" put the armed elites at the mercy of the "Revered Father" and his MIS.[259] 

       For ordinary soldiers, standing above the law represented a huge upward leap for poor rural youths or unemployed urbanites.  They could swagger and throw their weight around without fear of disciplinary action.  Even for serious crimes like rape, looting, and assaults they were seldom disciplined.[260]  Victims, of course, had no avenues of redress: lodging complaints against a soldier was tantamount to suicide.  Moreover, in addition to these "in-house" benefits, common soldiers had access to scarce fuel (gasoline, kerosene), medicine, ammunition, and army-issue goods: uniforms, boots, blankets, rice, cooking oil, tinned milk, sugar.  These could then be sold on the blackmarket to middlemen, who would sometimes resell the same goods to the rebel opposition.[261] 

       Given Ne Win’s almost sole reliance on the military to consolidate authorit-arian rule and his personal dominance, and given too the use of state resources to preserve personal control, there occurred changes in the nature of the state and its institutions, as suggested in the theoretical framework.  The above analysis shows -- in line with the theoretical observation made concerning the state, its autonomy, and its insulation from society -- the emergence in Burma of a state-society order where  (a) both strongman-ruler and the military became so closely identified with the state that their interests (personal and corporate) could not easily be distinguished from the those of the state or its institutions;  (b) the military became a highly cohesive, but thoroughly patrimonialized stratum of armed officials, thereby effectively insulating the state from society;  (c) as a result, the autonomy of the state vis-à-vis the private preferences of the military and Ne Win was greatly eroded; and (d) although the state’s coercive-repressive capacity was considerably strengthened, its ability to implement its goals and resolve economic and social problems, or capacity to gain legitimacy through performance, was drastically weakened, thanks to its patrimonial and non-institutional mode of functioning. 

       The BSPP’s main goal, a socialist society, remained unattainable.  Instead, as will be shown, the socialist economy was penetrated by outside capital, and pervaded by the private interests and agendas of the officials (mainly military) who were responsible for making socialism work.  Furthermore, due to the state’s weak problem-solving capacity, only one ready instrument existed to meet challenges and opposition from societal forces below: brutal repression. 


The BSPP State, Socialism, and State-Society Problems
       Ne Win’s establishment of a closed and narrowly-based state-society order reduced politics to a single leader, a single ideology, a single party, a single path, and a single vanguard body – the military.  As noted, though, this posed problems of its own.  The state's insulation, coupled with the decay of its institutional capacity, made it less able to achieve its proclaimed goals.  The BSPP could only fail in its stated goal of uplifting the luptha-prithu ("working people"), the supposed foundation of its regime.  After promising the masses a greater political say in a series of highly-publicized peasant-worker rallied in the mid-1960s, the regime turned against them.  Workers in state enterprises were taught bloody lessons when they staged strikes in the Insein work-shops (1967), the Chauk Oilfields (1974), and the Sinmalaik dock-yards (1975).  In all cases, strikers were met with massed firepower.[262]  The peasant-ry was scarcely better off, as David Steinberg has argued.  "Socialist" agriculture turned out to mean the forced sale of prooduce at fixed prices.  In 1981, almost nine out of ten rural families were living below the poverty level (US $40 a month), and one in four had become landless. Far from being liberated from landlords, peasants were delivered into the hands of a more powerful one – the BSPP state.[263]  

       The regime also failed to end rebellions, despite thousands of annual skirmish-es and regular offers of amnesty.  Sporadic peace talks took place, but the demand for unconditional surrender proved futile.[264]  Moreover, a problem of truly global import -- the production and export of opium and heroin -- linked to the armed rebellion in Shan State, and remained unresolved.[265] 

       Most significantly, Ne Win’s state failed to keep its promise to create "a new world" of prosperity.  The coup-makers, alluding to a Bama-Buddhist spiritiual aspir-ation, promised a world without the social suffering that stems from human wants or the inability to meditate because of an empty stomach.[266]  The regime contented itself, instead, with passing laws: the Law to Protect the Construction of the Socialist Economy and the People’s Corporation Law, both in 1963; the 1964 Law to Protect the Construction of the Socialist Economy; and numerous others.  It also chose to decree all private economic actvity illegal.  All enterprises, shops, hospitals, schools, newspapers, printing presses, cinemas – even corner kiosks – were nationalized. 

       But because the state maintained only a low degree of autonomy from the priv-ate interests of the military-socialist personnel who staffed it, the agencies created to facilitate "socialism" – the people’s store and corporations and banks – scarcely functioned as they were intended to.  Everything produced, procured, or distributed by the state found its way into the "illegal" economy, where it was resold at a profit by military-socialists, their families and cronies.  Military socialism meant misman-agement, corruption, and severe shortages, together with the growth of an informal economy that overshadowed the formal (and formally socialist) one. 

       Ordinary people constituted the base of this economy, engaging in all manner of buying and selling of scarce goods and services.  Next up the ladder came the financiers, money lenders, currency dealers, providers of security at depots and on trade routes, transporters within and across the state’s boundaries.  Further up were the major financiers, often overseas Chinese with links to the local Chinese commun-ity; warlords of the Chinese KMT; and the commanders of rebel or homeguard "arm-ies" (the KKY/Ka-Kwe-Ye), who controlled trade routes and taxed passage along them.[267]  Then, there were the protectors to ensure that formally "illegal" transact-ions took place unmolested -- MIS and BSPP-military personnel who oversaw the "socialist" economy and at the same time profited from the "non-socialist" one; and, finally, the officials and entrepreneurs of adjacent countries involved in the cross-border trade in contraband and narcotics. 

       This dual economy – "socialist" and moribund on the one hand, and on the other, the informal and thriving "non-socialist", "illegal" economy -- greatly benefitt-ed external financial interests and those domestically who controlled the varied means of accumulation.  For the majority of the population the blackmarket was a blessing mixed with costly risks.  It offered some relief from chronic shortages of goods, but at inflated prices.  It provided many with jobs as hawkers of contraband wares and providers of illegal services, but also put them at risk as "economic insurgents."  Some earned income as poppy cultivators, but were at the mercy of the state and local loan sharks.  Many were forced into dangerous employ as soldiers in rebel or KKY armies, coolies on trade routes (which would take them through mine-fields and thick jungle), petty smugglers, drug pushers, or prostitutes in Thai brothels.  For the majority, then, the dual economy brought with it the worst excesses of socialism and capitalism. 

       Adding to the hardships and restrictions that pervaded the BSPP state,[268] was the exclusion of the ruled from the political sphere and all access to the state.  Armed struggle, together with the "unlawful" protests that occurred on an almost annual basis,[269] became the only ways of making demands and articulating interests.  Once again, violence was the only response on the state’s part to these societal demands and dissent. 

       The strength of Ne Win's BSPP state lay in the cohesion of its narrow, highly-militarized base; its high degree of insulation and non-malleability by society; and its control over the apparatus of coercion and repression.  Its very strength, however, resulted in an atrophying of its capacity to resolve problems in positive and constructive ways, and it became the kind of state which, as indicated in the theoret-ical framework, was not able to gain minimal legitimacy, or build a broader elite consensus -- one that extended beyond Ne Win's military power base.  Thus, as will be seen, when mass firepower failed to drive peaceful protesters from the streets of Rangoon and other cities in 1988, the regime collapsed -- in a large part because non-military elements deserted their posts.  


The Fall and Reconstruction of Authoritarianism in
Burma 
       Prior to 1988, institutional decay and state-society dysfunction were obscured by a patina of austere strength and autocratic control.  Many were misled into think-ing that, despite, the familiar litany of woes, the BSPP order harmonized somehow with the cultural and political values of the Bama majority.[270]  In fact, though, popular resentment had been building under the seemingly stagnant, placid surface.

       The event that tipped the scales was a demonetization in 1987 (following one in 1985) which wiped out nearly all savings.  Protests erupted in
Rangoon and some other towns in late 1987, continuing sporadically until early 1988.  A renewed round of protests then met with a harsh state response; but this time the protesters were not cowed.[271]   In the face of sustained popular opposition, Ne Win resigned as BSPP chairman in July and recommended a transition to a multi-party system.  Sein Lwin, nicknamed "The Butcher" for his role in suppressing demonstrators, was named President, only to be forced out in mid-August.[272]  Dr. Maung Maung, a crony and civilian advisor of Ne Win’s, stepped into the breach.  By then the BSPP state was in complete disarray.  Civil servants, including the police, were defecting or going into hiding en masse. 

       Students initiated the uprising, but by mid-1988 the protesters included people from all walks of life, former leaders (including ex-military brass),[273]  police and soldiers, and the surviving "Thirty Comrades," contemporaries of Aung San and Ne Win.  The military, it seemed, was beaten.  The spotlight now shone on Aung San Suukyi, daughter of Aung San, whose name the regime had long exploited as "father" of the Tatmadaw and the "socialist revolution." 

       Amidst the euphoria, Saw Maung and Khin Nyunt (head of the feared MIS) staged a bloody "coup."  Thousands were killed.  One scene, showing cowering teen-agers being picked off systematically by military snipers, was captured on video-tape and shown world-wide.[274]  To wash away the stain of violence that had shocked the world, the new junta, SLORC, promised multi-party elections and a transfer of power to civilians.  Elections were held in May 1990, under restrictive conditions.  Despite the constraints, despite the ample resources of the recycled BSPP (the National Unity Party, or NUP), and despite Aung San Suukyi’s detention under house arrest, her NLD (National League for Democracy) won 392 out of 485 seats.  Its ally, the SNLD (Shan National League for Democracy), claimed 23; the NUP won only 10 seats.  Most damning of all was that the NUP lost even in pre-dominantly military areas such as Dagon and Hmawbi townships and the Coco-Gyun naval base.

       But SLORC refused to step down.  It declared it would rule until a new constit-ution was promulgated.[275]  In early 1993, it called a "National Convention."  Elected MPs were coerced into participating, along with other handpicked delegates.  Judging from its frequent, unexplained postponements, however, things have not been going well for the regime.  Stiff opposition appears to exist to the junta’s overriding objective: the legitimation of the military’s role in politics along the lines of
Indonesia’s "dual function" principle of military rule.  

      
Burma is undergoing a grave crisis of political and economic transition.  The collapse of Ne Win’s brand of ''socialism'' has not been accompanied by a democratic transition along the lines of the Eastern European countries.  Burma is still ruled by soldiers.  Nearly all ministries are headed by active or retired military men, as are executive-administrative bodies such as divisional and state-level "Law and Order Restoration Committees" (LORCs).  Politics and relates processes are intra-military affairs, and hidden from view (and of course, from the public). 

       Still, there are differences from the previous era of military rule.  Because neither Than Swe nor Khin Nyunt really dominates, changes in the modus operandi have been evident within the military-cum-ruling stratum.  In the context of an "open" economy, the absence of the much-feared strongman has meant more freedom of action for bogyoke-wungyis (general ministers) and the top brass.[276]  Now they can enrich themselves without fear (of the "Old Man").[277]  The result has been an "open season for corruption" and the rise of what Burmese call "capital-less capitalists": children and kin of former BSPP and current military bosses.[278]  The patrimonialization of the state, or the relative non-autonomy of the state and its institutions from the private agendas of power-holders and high officials, seems even greater. 


The Military Junta and the Politics of Transition 
       The situation in
Burma today is more complex than is conventionally perceiv-ed.  Actually, both the socialist one-party state and the socialist economy had long been political fictions.  The former was a façade that hid personal dictatorship; soc-ialism was stillborn.  The reality was a state where power was concentrated in the hands of one man alone.  The real economy, meanwhile, had long been penetrated informally by outside capital.  The 1988 uprising was a catalyst that compelled the military to abandon the political fictions it had clung to for a quarter of a century.  The uprising not only exposed the true nature of Ne Win’s "uniquely Burmese" political-economic order, but also forced the military to acknowledge the existence of a non-socialist economy that was already penetrated by the regional capitalist economy, and to exploit it in order to survive. 

       Despite the 1988 uprising and many changes, the Burmese state remains "of soldiers, for soldiers, by soldiers."  The SLORC generals who are now in control have three alternatives to choose from.  One is to restore the old authoritarian status-quo: a state order similar to the one Ne Win presided over, with political power monopolized by the military, with the state insulated from non-military elites and societal forces, but highly malleable with regard to the private agendas and personal interests of power-holders and their allies. 

       Another option is to widen the support base of the still-authoritarian state, by co-opting and selectively empowering civilian elites.  For example, bureaucrats, technocrats, and the more important economic and commercial figures could be brought into the ruling circle and made a part of decision-making processes.  This would entail counter-balancing, even subordinating, the military to some extent to a new ruling bloc that consists of a mixture of military and civilian power factions, all held in check by an astute and skilful strongman-ruler along the lines of Sarit or Suharto.  Yet a further option is for the military reach a compromise with what one diplomat called "an unmovable obstacle" -- Aung San Suukyi, whose nationalist pedigree is impeccable and whose personal safety seems quite assured, given that she is linked by blood to Aung San, mythic founder-hero of both modern
Burma and "father" of the Tatmadaw. 

       The first alternative is one the junta has not yet abandoned.  The most central problem remains the absence of a clear strongman who can unify the military and prevent coups and counter-coups as armed factions compete for dominance.  As mentioned at a couple of points, the absence of such a unifier can lead to intense intra-military conflict, and possibly to the military’s withdrawal from politics, in orderly fashion or otherwise.  (Ne Win engineered an orderly withdrawal in 1960 when he believed his grip on the military was uncertain.). 

       At present, the military and SLORC generals are unified by the residual author-ity of Ne Win, and by the necessity of hanging together lest they hang separately.  Recently, with Ne Win (who is nearing ninety) declining physically, General Maung Aye is reported to be manoeuvring to become the next strongman.  He is currently third in the SLORC hierarchy after Khin Nyunt and Than Shwe.  Though it is uncon-firmed, he is also reported to have been behind the "mob attack" on Aung San Suu-kyi’s motorcade in November 1996.  He is also said to be in control of the most hard-line segment of the USDA (the Union Solidarity Development Association), a milit-ary-sponsored "mass organization" that is slated to become the military’s political party, as Golkar once was in
Indonesia.[279]  Maung Aye has also recently taken over direct command of military operations along the Burmese-Thai border, which means he now controls the teak forests,  border trade routes, along with what opium fields and heroin refineries there are in the area.  Most important, he has gained the power to grant or revoke teak concessions, hitherto held by Khin Nyunt.[280] 

                    If Maung Aye is successful, change is unlikely.  Like Ne Win, he can be expected to depend in large part on the military to maintain his power and personal control.  It is uncertain, though, whether his power-play will be successful.  Much depends on whether he is able to win over MIS cliques, factions close to SLORC chairman General Than Shwe, and the cliques of fence-sitting ''business generals,'' the bogyoke-wungyis (general-ministers). 

       The second alternative – widening the support base of authoritarian rule via selective inclusion – is apparently Khin Nyunt’s strategy.[281]  He has been primarily responsible for some of the SLORC’s successes in this area, and is well-regarded by SLORC’s newly-vigorous foreign patrons and defenders: the leaders of China, Sing-apore, Thailand, Malaysia, and other governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 

       Among Khin Nyunt’s succcesses, two stand out as being of special strategic significance.  The first is that he has won for SLORC the acceptance of some moneyed elements of society by initiating the transformation of
Burma's disasterous "socialism" to a capitalist economic system intent on economic development.  He is largely responsible for de-criminalizing those whom the BSPP regime had labelled "economic insurgents": namely, the trans-border ethnic-Chinese patron-client networks of black marketeers and drug traffickers who control the informal economic sector.  These moves have encouraged some previously deported Indian and Sino-Burmese entrepreneurs -- many of whom have prospered elsewhere -- to return as investors.[282]  Their return has triggered a scramble by investors anxious not to miss out on the opportunity to exploit Burma’s rich natural resources and "repressed consumer demand".[283] 

       Second, credit is due to Khin Nyunt for a move that enabled SLORC politically to outflank the DAB (Democratic Alliance of Burma) -- the opposition front led by the Karen and Dr. Sein Win (who is Aung San Suukyi’s cousin).  Khin Nyunt neutralized the non -Bama resistance "armies" in the alliance by co-opting their military leaders.  The move has weakened the DAB and simultaneously boosted SLORC’s image as a "peacemaker."  It has also allowed SLORC to concentrate on keeping the deeply-alienated Bama majority in line.[284]  Khin Nyunt’s success in this area, though, is largely due to a number of fortuitous circumstances.  After the BSPP’s sudden demise in 1988, its most formidable foe, the White Flag CPB, also collapsed in the wake of mutinies by non-Bama units.  The dissolution occurred just as SLORC was desperately seeking allies.  Fortunately for the junta, Chinese authorities stepped in and persuaded the junta and the CPB mutineers to agree to a cease-fire.  In exchange, the non-Bama, ex-CPB warlords were given a free hand to exploit border trade and "development."[285]  A similar deal was struck in 1993 with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), again with Chinese help.[286] 

       It seems that with Khin Nyunt's partial recognition of important economic-commercial elements and non-Bama military leaders, the groundwork is being laid for a "softer" and relatively more inclusive military-authoritarian order, so long as Khin Nyunt's views prevail.  The "National Convention", the body established to formulate a new constitution, could bring this order about by opening the political arena in a limited way, such as in Suharto's
Indonesia.  To this end, SLORC has established a Golkar-like body, the USDA, which (like its predecessors, the NSA and the BSPP) is controlled and overseen by the military. 

       It is not clear, however, that the "Indonesian model" – a quasi-multiparty arrangement dominated by the government party, Golkar – is exportable, and it may not be possible for SLORC to establish a system that works in a similar fashion to that of Indonesia, or to emulate Suharto’s successes.  Moreover, there has not yet emerged in post-1988
Burma a military politician with skills equal to Suharto’s, or with Ne Win’s authority.  (Ne Win himself might have been able to establish such an order in the 1960s, had he chosen). 

There are other obstacles.  For one thing, the domestic commercial class that benefits from SLORC’s "open economy" is at best a "fair weather" ally.  Many comprising this class are of dubious political value, being either former "economic insurgents", ex-communists, alleged drug kingpins, overseas Burmese investors with roots and interests elsewhere, or what local people call the "new Burmese" – Chinese from
Yunnan.  It is doubtful whether the non-Bama military leaders and warlords who made cease-fire deals with SLORC would stand by the junta in a crisis.  The problems of center-state relations remain unsolved, and in non-Bama areas, local people are abused and exploited as before.[287]   Likewise, the  majority of "investors" would likely view Burma simply as a business venture, and, other than desiring stability, do not have any stake in Burma's political future.  The regime's only staunch supporters are the SLORC ministers, top military brass, some former BSPP ministers and ex-generals, and the "enterprising" children and relatives of Ne Win and the military.     

The third obstacle is the emergence of a highly credible, popular, and internationally-respected challenger, Aung San Suukyi.[288]   She is the daughter of the fabled Bogyoke (General) Aung San, the father of independence and the Tatmadaw, whose name has been exploited by Ne Win and the military to bolster their own legitimacy.  She remains a formidable obstacle to the attainment of SLORC’s goal of prolonging the military’s monopoly of power, and, by extension, wealth.  


Burma’s Struggle for Democracy:    
Burma is currently experiencing a protracted crisis of succession and transition to which, as suggested in the theoretical analysis, military-authoritarian regimes are vulnerable.  Foremostly, there is the problem of who will succeed Ne Win as the ruling strongman.  Such a figure must emerge to balance military factions and arbitrate between them and maintain military unity, or the current military-authorit-arian state will disintegrate.  From appearance, there will likely be a power struggle, perhaps a protracted and violent one.  

In its attempt to resolve the problem of  succession and transition, the military has set in motion a process to legalize and institutionalize the role of the military in politics through a new constitution being slowly formulated by the "National Convention", which first convened in 1993.  From this exercise, SLORC has to accomplish two major interrelated tasks:  first, to organize power in such a way that the state will not only be strong in purely a coercive-repressive capacity, but also in terms of legitimacy based on the ability to solve problems and to remedy the country’s many ailments;  and second, to deal effectively, using a minimum of force, with challenges arising from society, particularly the aspirations for a democratic alternative being articulated by Aung San Suukyi.  Because of who she is, and what she represents, the challenge she poses to the military is the most difficult one for junta to overcome.  As such, the best possible option for the military would be to come to terms with the democratic opposition.  

One important development is Aung San Suukyi’s "unconditional" release, granted in July 1995.  It is said this was ordered by SLORC chairman Than Swe and his trusted aid, Kyaw Sein, deputy head of the DDSI (Directorate of Defence Service Intelligence).[289]   This has led to hope that there will eventually be a dialogue between the junta and the democratic opposition in order to start addressing
Burma's grave problems.  However, if the release has just been a ploy to bolster SLORC’s external legitimacy, as seems quite possible, it is unlikely that SLORC will engage in any real dialogue. 

It is difficult to predict
Burma's future.  Burma may become and remain, perhaps for quite some time, a lucrative back-water for extra-national entrepren-eurs.[290]  Tempting though it is, to think that despised, illegitimate rulers cannot last for long, soldiers who "own" the state and its resources -- and enjoy the support of neighboring governments (especially powerful ones like China)-- may be able to hold onto power for quite a while.  This will make the struggle for democracy long and difficult.  Life for the great mass of the population will remain sad and trying, as it has been in one form or another since 1962.   

As I have shown in this chapter, the military in
Burma is a formidable political force which has stayed on in politics to dominate the state-society order as the power base and political instrument of the military strongman-ruler Ne Win and his successors, the SLORC generals.  The military still rules -- at gunpoint, without even a fiction of constitutional legitimacy. 

The Tatmadaw has always closely identified itself with the state and viewed itself as the creator, guardian, and savior of the state and national unity.  Mainly because  the new state was challenged by armed rebellions (communist, and ethnic) at independence, the role of the military, in both combat and non-military spheres, expanded rapidly.  This in turn reinforced the military's view of itself as indispensible to the existence of the state and nation.  

The pattern of military intervention in
Burma, indirectly in 1958, directly in 1962 and again in 1988, has been shown to be closely linked to concerns about the unity of the state, and as well to preserving the military's privileged place in, and identification with, the state.  It is also clear that the Tatmadaw's decision to "stay on" and reorganize political power, and its ability to stay on for a long period, has been contingent on the presence of a military strongman who has maintained military unity.  Ne Win is still in control, although his "Burmese socialist" BSPP state collapsed in 1988, and he does not now exercise power on a day-to-day basis.  

In the military-authoritarian state set up by Ne Win, state-society relations have been characterized by a state that is highly autonomous from society.  The state in
Burma appears highly authoritarian, as can be seen, with the military occupying a very dominant place in both the political and economic spheres.  At the same time, as predicted in the theoretical discussion, the state has had little autonomy from the strongman-ruler and the Tatmadaw.  There has been an erosion of the integrity of state institutions and apparatuses as the result of the state's low insulation from the personal agendas and preferences of the military power-holders and the personal rule of Ne Win. 


CHAPTER FOUR: 

INDONESIA: MILITARY INTERVENTION AND THE POLITICS
OF AUTHORITARIAN DOMINATION

Introduction: The Military and the Politics of Authoritarian Domination  
       In
Indonesia, as in Burma, soldiers have been more politicians than military professionals. As in Burma, too, the military has been the product of a global war.  The earliest forerunner of the Indonesian armed forces (ABRI)[291] was the Volunteer Force for the Defence of Java (PETA), created and organized by the Japanese.  Unlike Burma's Tatmadaw, though, the ABRI was more fragmented and regionalized, and had to share the political stage with other actors created and/or organized by the Japanese: political militias or irregulars, political parties, and politicized Islamic groups.  Complicating matters was the re-emergence of the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Kommunis Indonesia, PKI), which claimed the right to lead in the emerging "revolut-ionary situation".  The PKI, for the military, was a threat to itself and to the nascent state. 

       The military claimed -- with some validity, unlike in
Burma -- that it fought for and won independence.  But there were other armed units involved.  By contrast with Burma, where the British transferred power to the AFPFL in a relatively peaceful and orderly fashion, Indonesia’s colonial masters, the Dutch, sought to reimpose colonial rule.  The result was an extremely unstable, confused period of fighting between the Dutch and the various nationalist forces, and among the nationalist forces themselves, including intra-armed force clashes.  Intra-military conflicts also arose over the organization, role, and function of the armed forces in the post-independence era. 

       During the early life of the independent state, politics were complex and turbulent.  There was dissension over how the new state was to be organized politic-ally; how state-society relations were to be ordered; and who would do the ordering.  There was very little consensus on these questions: the military had its vision, but so did the PKI, the Islamic forces, the socialist, and various prominent elites. 

       This examination of the military in Indonesian politics will highlight some of the key themes of military interventionism discussed in the theoretical chapters. 


Modern Indonesia: The State and the Seeds of Authoritarianism 
       This section will investigate the pattern and nature of military intervention and the evolution of state-society relations in
Indonesia.  
       In the pre-colonial times of what is now known as "
Indonesia" -- an area en-compassing more than 13,000 islands – there did not exist anything that could be defined as a "core kingdom," along the lines of the Burmese and Thai examples.  Ancient "empires" did exist: Majapahit in the 1400s, and later Mataram, founded by Sultan Agung and lasting from 1615 to 1645 on Java, when the Dutch were already present.  Nonetheless, modern Indonesia is truly the product of colonialism.  What existed prior to the colonial age, as Mochtar Papottingi and many others have indicated, was a collection of fluidly-organized "kingdoms" or "harbour states".  Some of these "belonged" loosely to Majapahit, and still later Mataram.[292]  Relations between kings and vassals, rulers and ruled, were articulated in terms very similar to those operating in the Southeast Asian "kingdoms", as David J. Steinberg points out.[293] 

       By the mid-1600s, Mataram had fallen apart.  By the early 1670s, it had been replaced as the dominant power by the Dutch East India Company (VOC).  By the 1760s, the VOC was supreme.  The remnants of the divided Mataram were constituted as vassals, along the lines of the princely states in
British India; a part of Java was ruled indirectly by regents (bupati, the "bureaucratic" nobles or former sub-lords who formed the aristocratic priyayi class).[294]  In Batavia (later Jakarta) and its environs, the Dutch ruled directly.  For the remainder, they recognized the authority of local regents, vassals, and military allies.  The arrangements varied widely, epitomizing the untidy political-administrative complexity of colonialism. 

       The Dutch occupied the Netherlands Indies for over 180 years, and their policy evolved along with local conditions and changes in the mother country.
[295]  With the VOC’s collapse at the end of the 1700s, a series of Governor-Generals set about "defeudalizing," rationalizing, and modernizing the colony.  They established a net-work of inter-island transport, including railroads, and introduced a modern infrastruct-ure in areas like banking, telegraph communications, and newspapers.  The result was a more vigorous, efficient export-based commercial economy.  Entering the twentieth century, the Netherlands Indies was, speaking in general, a single administrative-political-economic unit, and an integral part of the world economy – but as a colony. 

       Dutch rule was not as direct as British rule in
Burma.  Nor did the Dutch, unlike the British, introduce any form of meaningful representative government.[296]  From 1918, there was modest, although unsatisfactory, participation in a half-elected Volksraad, whose powers, however, were only advisory and whose recommendations were often ignored.  The colonial state was paternalistic and more highly autonomous from local society than was the case in British Burma.  The ruled were shut off from access to the state, and lacked intermediary institutions through which to make demands and voice their aspirations. 

       Still, colonial modernization brought radical change in its train.  Administrative unification, together with the influx of Western ideas of freedom and democracy, national independence, and popular sovereignty, soon gave rise to nationalist sentiments.
[297]  A "national" society had indeed been created, one that spawned among the elites a sense of belonging and togetherness.[298] 

       The earliest nationalist stirring was spearheaded in 1908 by the Budi Utomo organization, an advocate of Javanese nationalism and traditionalism.  Led by "progressive" priyayi, it took a moderate line in opposing the Dutch.
[299]  Next came Sarekat Islam, founded in 1912, with roots in the Islamic Trade Association and an agenda aimed at undermining the economic dominance of the Chinese.  It grew into a sort of mass movement, and by 1918 claimed almost half a million members.[300]  Also prominent among the more radical groupings was the PKI, formed in 1920 -- making it one of the oldest communist parties in Asia.[301] 

       More significant in this early associational life was the Indonesian Association, founded in the 1920s by students in
Holland.  Its members called for an "Indonesian" identity that transcended ethnic differences.  The person most responsible for imbuing this idea of "Indonesia" with a true romanticism was the future "President-for-Life", Sukarno.  Even in these early days his charisma was undoubted, as was his ability to mesmerize the masses and move men to action.[302]   In 1927, Sukarno founded the Partai Nasional Indonesia (PNI); later he led a broad front, the Permufakatan Perhimpunan Politik Kebangsaan Indonesia (PPPKI), which comprised the Sarekat Islam, the PNI, Budi Otomo, and other forces.  Sukarno would leave his stamp on Indonesian politics for another four decades, pushing a leftist-populist amalgam of "Nationalism, Islam, and Marxism", oriented towards "the people" (rakyat).  It was Sukarno’s thoughts and general charisma, as Pabottingi comments, that buttressed the psychological-cultural meaning of "nationhood" in the minds of both elite and masses.  He demystified colonialism and also, one might add, mystified nationalism.[303]  

       Despite the populist orientation embodied in his Marhaen ("little people") doctrine[304] and Pancasila (Nationalism, Humanitarianism, Democracy, Social Justice, and Belief in God), Sukarno was not a democrat.[305]  He subscribed to the ideas of nationalists such as Ki Hadjar Dewantoro (an educator-nationalist and prince of the royal house of
Jogjakarta) and Raden Supomo, a legal scholar.  These figures preached the superiority of "Eastern" values to Western materialism.  Dewantoro’s idea of the proper relationship between ruler-ruled was a benevolent and paternalistic one: the "family principle" equated the nation with the extended domestic unit.  That meant individual rights were to be subordinated to the "demand of the collectivity": the family, the nation, and by extension the state.[306]  He advocated "democracy with leadership".[307]  For his part, Supomo drew on Javanese adat (customary law) to advance an organic, communitarian vision of nationhood, with individuals bound by bonds of duty and devotion to the common good. Here, too, there was no place for individualism or rights transcending those of the collectivity.[308]

       The attraction of a nationalist-statist ideology for anti-colonial leaders is under-standable, the more so for someone like Sukarno who had to fight for sovereignty and, at the same time, acquire and hold onto power.  He favoured a political order in which the ruled were represented by functional groups, "guided" by leaders (or a leader) who knew best what the true national interest was.[309]  As in so many other instances, it is ironic that a movement that promised the ruled a greater voice in politics and the state should give rise instead to authoritarianism, first Sukarno’s, then Suharto’s. 


The Military and the Politics of the Struggle for
Independence, 1945-1949  
       As in
Burma, World War II had a profound impact on Indonesia.  The war years witnessed the wholesale displacement of the ruling stratum and established elites -- Dutch administrators and their Eurasian, native collaborators.  Unlike in Burma, however, the Japanese only promised independence; but they did allow the formation of organizations that became part of a very active political sphere.  Among these were the Masjumi, or Council of Indonesian Muslim Associations; militant youth groups (the pemuda), and armed bodies -- including PETA, the Heiho corps, and Hizbu’llah ("Allah’s Army", under Masjumi).[310] 

       In 1944, a nationalist umbrella body was formed, the Indonesian Preparatory Committee for Independence (PPKI).  Sukarno was its head and Pancasila its guiding principle.[311]  This later was transformed into the Central Indonesian National Comm-ittee (KNIP), which acted as a quasi-parliament until the elections of 1955. 
       In September 1945, a month after
Japan’s capitulation, Sukarno and Mohammed Hatta proclaimed Indonesian independence.  State and administrative structures, though, were not yet in place.  The new leaders confronted a situation where power rested in the hands of various "armies" and militias.[312]  
       The story of Indonesian independence grows more complicated with the Dutch attempts to reimpose control.  Between 1946 and 1948, the Dutch launched numerous military offensives, interspersed with agreements that they promptly broke.[313]  Their final campaign was the attack in December 1948 on the Republican capital,
Jogjakarta, which led to the capture of Sukarno, Hatta, Sjahrir, and most of the cabinet.  National-ist groups and the military under Sudirman and Nasution then launched a five-month "war of independence."[314]  Roundly condemned by the United Nations, faced with American threats to cut off all Marshall Plan aid, the Dutch were forced to negotiate.  In May 1949, the Roem van Royen agreement was signed, and this led to full independence in August of the same year. 
       The struggle for independence was not waged by a united movement.  Friction regularly arose in dealings between Sukarno, Hatta, Sjahrir, Amir Sjarifuddin, Tan Malaka, and the PKI leadership.  Tension was also evident between civilian leaders like Sjahrir and Amir, and the military led by Sudirman.  There were also intra-military disputes over the shape of the new armed forces that saw PETA square off against Dutch-trained officers like Abdul Haris Nasution.[315] 

       The most serious task for the new "government" led by Sjahrir and, nominally, Sukarno,[316] was constructing a national armed forces out of the patchwork of politicized armed bodies.  Again, there was little agreement between civilian and military leaders, and within the military itself, as to how the institution was to be organized.  Civilian control was another sticking point.[317]  The conundrum was deepened by the fact that the leadership of the nascent armed forces consisted largely of Japanese-trained PETA officers.  Like Burma’s military Thakins, they had by no means reconciled themselves to the notion of the military as the apolitical servant of the government of the day.  PETA was nationalistic, but it was also created and controlled by the Japanese.  The "government" of Sjahrir – a socialist who did not collaborate with Japan – was distrustful of PETA for this reason.  Its unease was only deepened by the army’s decision, in late 1945, to choose Sudirman as its chief.[318]  Moreover, the army elected, and proposed that Jogjakarta’s Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX be included in the cabinet as Minister of Security (i.e., Defence).  This Sjahrir viewed as an act of rank insubordination.  To clarify, it was the practice for the Japanese military to elect the ministers of the Army and the Navy to the cabinet.  Sjahrir, who considered himself a staunch "anti-fascist", was deeply suspicious of PETA officers who were trained by, and served with, the Japanese.  He therefore rejected the army's recommendation, and appointed Amir Syarifuddin as Minister of Security (1945-46) instead.[319]  In 1946, in an attempt to assert civilian control, Amir Syarifuddin attempted to post political officers (the equivalent of political commisars) to divisional units.  The above actions by civilian power-holders alienated the army from Sjahrir's government in particular, and "politicians" in general. 
       In response, Sudirman moved closer to Tan Malaka,
[320] a key opposition figure.  Soon the army was embroiled in civilian politics.  At the instigation of his followers, some officers staged an abduction of Sjahrir – the "July 3 Affair" – in the hope that Sukarno would appoint Tan Malaka to the government.  This, one might say, was the military’s first intrusion into politics.  Sukarno instead demanded Sjahrir’s release, then won over Surdirman by declaring the Tentara Republic Indonesia (TRI) to be the state’s sole legitimate armed force and by appointing him its chief. 
       The civilian-military struggle also touched on the crucial question of how the politicized militias (laskars) were to be dealt with.  The military wanted some put under its command and others disarmed, but there was dissension over exactly how this would be carried out.  Thus, when Nasution, acting under Sudirman’s orders, tried in September 1948 to "rationalize" the military in preparation for the expected Dutch offensive, a bloody, futile resistance broke out, waged by communist militias and allied units who refused to disband.  The "Madiun Affair" ever since has been depicted as a communist "stab in the back" to the Republic.
[321]

       It was fortunate that the Dutch chose not to go on the offensive at the time of the Affair.  They did so in December, however, capturing Jogjakarta together with members of the "government."  Despite Sudirman’s pleas, Sukarno refused to leave the Republican capital to lead the resistance.  Thus, when the Dutch were finally forced to cease military actions in mid-1949, the army – which had fought some engagements with the Dutch – was able to claim that it had brought about independence, not the politicians who had refused to fight. 


Indonesia, 1949-1958: Parliamentary Politics and Military Factionalism,   
       The period between independence and the installation of the "Guided Democracy Order" in 1959-60 was marked by the struggle among party leaders to gain the upper hand in an open arena of parliamentary politics.[322]  Parallel conflicts also arose between civilian power-holders and soldiers, and among the various military factions vying for control of the armed forces. 
       A parliamentary system was adopted in accordance with the provisional 1950 Constitution.[323]  The responsibility of day-to-day governance rested with a Prime Minister and cabinet under the guidance of a figurehead President, Sukarno.  Thus, for the first decade of independence, Sukarno was "pushed upstairs".  Politics was dominated by party leaders who sought the suppport of different social sectors.  As Leo Suryadinata notes, the PNI (Partai Nasional Indonesia, close to Sukarno) enjoyed the support of civil servants and the priyayi class (mostly abangan or nominal Muslims).  The Masjumi drew support from Muslim landlords, traders, and modern-minded intellectuals, while the Nahdatul Ulama (NU) targeted more orthodox santri Muslims and commercial elements in the smaller towns of central and eastern Java.  The Socialist Party of Indonesia (PSI), meanwhile, secured a following in the army and civil service, while the PKI -- the only legal communist party in
Southeast Asia -- was supported by the lower priyayi and peasantry (mainly abangan).[324]

       Indonesia’s military rulers have presented this period of parliamentary rule as promoting a dangerous instability,[325] a testament to the military’s powerful distrust of politics and mass political participation, as discussed in the opening theoretical chapt-ers.  The military's depiction of the parliamentary system as unstable is not entirely groundless, however.  Seven years of parliamentary rule saw the rise and fall of five governments, which can indeed be viewed as symptomatic of serious instability.[326]  A closer look, though, reveals that these governments in fact were dominated by two parties, the Masjumi and the PNI.[327]  Nonetheless, constant squabbling flared within the cabinet, in parliament, and within individual parties.  There was corruption, though nothing comparable to the military-dominated New Order, along with smouldering secessionist rebellions in Aceh, South Moluccas, South Sulawei, and West Java (the Darul Islam rebellion).  More seriously, the military involved itself in several power-plays and regional revolts, including the "17th October Affair" in 1952, the "27th July Affair" in 1955, and the revolts of 1957-58.  The significant point is that the military disliked the parliamentary system, and favoured the more authoritarian, paternalistic order embodied in the 1945 Constitution, advocated by Dewantoro and Supomo, and backed by Sukarno himself as President of the Republic. 
       In post-independence
Indonesia, although the military claimed -- and strongly believed -- that it "won" independence, it did not achieve the kind or the degree of dominance it later came to enjoy.  One reason was the death of the charismatic Sudirman in January 1950.  Had he lived, Sudirman might have emerged as unifier and strongman, pulling the military to the centre-stage of the political arena sooner than actually occurred. 
       With his death, Nasution, Simatupang, and other Dutch-trained officers came to occupy the top positions, intensifying intra-military tensions and contributing to the general political instability.  Nasution’s attempts to reform the military, and also to stake out a place for the military in politics, generated opposition from several quart-ers.  Politicians[328] opposed the military’s role in political-administrative affairs, which, thanks to the State of War and Siege (SOB) decree, the military exercised with special alacrity in "insecure areas", similar to the situation in Burma.  Ex-PETA officers, meanwhile, opposed Nasution’s restructuring plans, which involved replacing them with better-trained personnel.[329]   Finally, Sukarno himself disliked and distrusted Nasution, as we shall see below. 
       Nasution’s "
Middle Way" doctrine proclaimed the right of the military to be active in politics.[330]  The military also resented parliamentary attacks on its extra-military functions, and what it termed "political interference" – code for civilian con-trol.  Anti-parliamentary sentiments coalesced in the "17th October Affair" of 1952.  On that day, Nasution loyalists and elements of the Siliwangi Division orchestrated a mass demonstration, accompanied by troops and tanks, in front of the presidential palace.  Top generals, along with Nasution, demanded that parliament be abolished.  A displeased Sukarno responded by mobilizing anti-Nasution, ex-PETA officers, and Nasution was soon faced with mutinies in the Brawijaya Division and other units.[331]  Outflanked, he accepted dismissal meekly in December 1952, an exile that lasted until his reappointment in 1955. 
       Nasution’s absence from the scene did not lead to the subordination of the military to civilian authorities.  Behind the "27th June Affair" lay the machinations of Defence Minister Iwa Kusumasumantri, a Sundanese and follower of Tan Malaka.  The Affair centred on the appointment of a new Chief-of-Staff (KSAD).  Simbolon, the most senior officer, was unacceptable to Iwa, who saw him as Nasution’s man.  Iwa therefore appointed Bambang Utojo.  But Zulkifli Lubis, the Acting KSAD --  Iwa's former ally and foe of Nasution -- refused to step down.  He declared that the army represented the whole nation and would fight attempts by politicians to politicize it to advance sectarian goals.[332]

       Just when Nasution seemed doomed to obscurity following his dismissal and electoral humiliation in the 1955 voting,[333] Sukarno appointed him Chief of Staff in November 1955.  Each seemed to recognize that he needed the other to attain a comm-on goal: the abolition of parliamentary politics and the establishment of a more "Indo-nesian" political order.[334]  Their relationship proved mutually beneficial.  Nasution’s support secured for Sukarno a power base that he could personally command, and use to establish the Guided Democracy order.  Sukarno’s support boosted Nasution’s legitimacy and gave him a firmer grip on the military.  This he consolidated in a round-about, complex fashion by eliminating military rivals and challengers.

       Upon his reappointment, Nasution embarked on a scheme to professionalize the military structure, which meant transferring those who were "setting themselves up as warlords."[335]  This stirred further opposition to Nasution within the military.[336]  The most serious challenge took the form of a series of regional revolts, led by all the Sumatra commanders (North, Central and South) together with the Kalimantan and East Indonesia commands.  Rebel soldiers declared themselves in favour of "firm and revolutionary measures" to realize the ideals of the 1945 Independence Proclamation, including less-centralized control of the outer regions, regional representation, a presidential system, a Sukarno-Hatta dwi-tunggal (joint leadership), and changes to the top brass of the military.[337]  The rebels were joined in their campaign by a number of prominent politicians.[338]  They set up a counter-government (the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia, PRRI), though not a secessionist one as such -- in hindsight, a strange tack for "secessionists" to take.[339] 

       The revolts exploited widespread anti-Jakarta sentiments which coexisted with a strong sense of "Indonesian-ness."  This enabled leaders like the Sultan of Jogjakarta (a Javanese) and Hatta (a Sumatran) to band together to isolate the extremists.  It also assisted Nasution (a Batak) in maintaining contacts with rebel leaders which, in turn, helped to moderate secessionist demands.[340]  Overall, the revolts proved a blessing in disguise for Nasution, ridding him of troublesome officers.  Furthermore, Sukarno’s nationwide declaration of martial law (imposing a State of Siege, or SOB) concentrat-ed more power in the hands of Nasution and the military.  The military, in alliance with Sukarno, now became a dominant presence in politics, and a crucial pillar of support for the Guided Democracy state.

       Of theoretical relevance here is how the military’s lack of cohesion inhibited its ability to intervene in politics and undermine parliamentary rule.  The "17th October Affair" resulted instead in Nasution’s dismissal by Sukarno, who was adept at manip-ulating disunity within the military.  The "27th June Affair" also failed to change the system substantially.  Paradoxically, it was the concerted effort by dissidents -- military, regional, and political – to oust Nasution via the string of regional revolts that ended up strengthening his hand.  The revolts turned him into precis

class=Section10>

ely the kind of strongman-unifier that, in alliance with Sukarno, could override the parliamentary system and impose a more authoritarian "Guided Democracy" order.  This early military intervention in politics confirms my contention that for military intervention to be effective, a prominent leader must arise to unify the military.  It also lends support to the idea that the military usually intervenes as the political instrument of authoritarian leaders like Nasution and Sukarno in Indonesia. 


The Sukarno-Nasution
Alliance: The Establishment of the Guided Democracy State  
       Despite Sukarno’s charisma and symbolic standing, he did not, as noted, exercise power directly in the first post-independence years.  He stood "above politics" as President and supreme leader.  His relations with other power-players, as with Field Marshal Pibul’s in
Thailand, rested on his ability to play off party and military factions against one another.  Though Sukarno’s relationship with the military was difficult at times, he managed to prevent the armed forces from capturing the state or monopoliz-ing the political sphere until he fell from power in 1965-67. 
       Sukarno’s turn towards direct personal rule did not really represent a new direction for him.  He often expressed disillusionment with "Western democracy" and parliamentary politics.  As David Reeve notes, he had always favoured the notions of "Indonesian democracy" and "democracy with leadership" that early nationalist thinkers had advanced.  These revolved around governance and decision-making strategies that would represent "functional" groups, not through open party competition, but by musyawarah and mufakat (consultation and consensus).[341]  He felt the system of parliamentary politics and governance had been imposed on him by political parties and rivals;[342] he resented his role as "a maker of speeches, a host at official receptions, and a man to whom ambassadors presented their credentials."[343]  Nor should it be forgotten that Sukarno was, at least for rhetorical purposes, a pseudo-revolutionary Marxist, as his NASAKOM formula (Nationalism, Religion, and Communism) attested.[344]  His "revolutionary" leftist orientation drew him into a closer relationship with the PKI, with the latter becoming, over time, the second pillar of the Guided Democracy state.[345] 
       The military, of course, shared Sukarno’s distaste for politicians.  As Sukarno moved away from supporting parliamentary politics, the military began to assert its own anti-democratic views more forcefully.  Nasution, for example, blamed disorder, instability, and the ongoing regional revolts on "cow-trading" politics.  He rejected the "Western European model" and proclaimed that soldiers would not become the "dead tools" of government.  He also reiterated his "
Middle Way" doctrine, stressing the military’s right to participate in policymaking at the highest level, in such areas as state finance, economic planning, and representation in the "more Indonesian" political order that both Sukarno and Nasution were pushing for.[346] 
       Despite the antipathy and mutual suspicion between these two leading figures, then – and despite the ideological distance between the leftist "revolutionary" and the staunch anti-communist – their strategic goals converged.  Ironically, as noted, it was a crisis within the military, the regional revolts, which strengthened the duo’s position politically.  The revolts gave Sukarno grounds to extend martial law throughout
Indonesia in 1957, which in turn extended the military’s influence in the civil administration.  The PKI made its own inadvertent contribution to the military’s growing strength when its trade unions seized control of Dutch estates and firms in late 1957.  It ended up being forced to hand them over to the military to be run as state enterprises.  In this fashion, soldiers gained an important economic base within the state, which they used to recruit supporters from a pivotal economic sector – the labour force of the state enterprises.  
       The kind of state-society order that Sukarno desired was outlined in his Kon-sepsi formula.  He envisioned supreme power as lying in a "servant-leader" who embodied the people’s aspirations.[347]  Below him would be a cabinet of gotong-royong (mutual assistance) in which all parties would be represented, including the PKI.  A National Council of functional groups would represent workers, peasants, intellectuals, women, and adherents of religious faiths (Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic).[348] 
       In May 1959, the Constituent Assembly – elected in 1956 and composed of party politicians – rejected Konsepsi and Sukarno’s call for a return to the 1945 Con-stitution.  Nasution, now Chairman of the Supreme War Authority and in full control of the military, banned all political activity and urged Sukarno to adopt the 1945 Constitution by presidential decree.[349]  In early 1960 did exactly that.  He dissolved the Constituent Assembly and brought the era of parliamentary rule to a close.[350] 
       This analysis of the roots of the Guided Democracy state testifies to a fund-amental shift in the prevailing mode of interaction between state and society.  Intermediary institutions, those that stand between the state and society, hitherto had not been directly controlled by state officials.  Now they were remodelled and replaced by institutions and bodies directly linked to state officials or key power-holders, and subject to their control.  Thus was established a state-centric configuration that boosted the state’s autonomy from society, but also made it less insulated and autonomous from dominant social actors, which lends support to the observation made in the theoretical framework with respect to the reorganization of power in non-democratic or authoritarian orders. 
       The reorganization of power in this instance was achieved by Sukarno in what might be described as a "presidential coup".  On the face of it, this would seem to disprove the argument that military intervention and the authoritarian reorganization of power are different sides of the same coin.  But since Sukarno and Nasution, shared a common goal, and since it was Nasution that actually initiated the move towards authoritarian rule by banning all political activity and calling from adoption of the 1945 Constitution by presidential decree, the argument might provisionally be allowed to stand.  The events of 1959-60 might best be seen as an indirect intervention by the military in Indonesian politics. 


Guided Democracy Politics, 1960-1965: Sukarno, the Military, and the PKI 
       In the Guided Democracy order, although dominant, the military was kept in check by Sukarno, who was a master at political manipulation.  In 1960, for example, he separated Nasution from his power base, the key Siliwangi Division,[351] replacing him with Ibrahim Adjie, a Sukarnoist whose morals Nasution disdained. He appointed Nasution’s old foe, Hidajat, as deputy Defence Minister.  He successfully exploited inter-service and personal rivalries (for example, those between Nasution and Air Force General Suryadama, and later Omar Dhani).[352]  And he reduced the power of the Defence Ministry to that of an administrative centre, rather than the command-and-control apparatus envisioned by Nasution.

       In June 1962, Sukarno kicked Nasution upstairs, appointing him Chief of Staff and forcing him to turn over the post of Army chief to Ahmad Yani.  The latter was, according to Harold Crouch, Nasution’s main rival, and had a warm relationship with Sukarno.[353]  Nasution’s position eroded further when Sukarno established the Supreme Operational Command (KOTI) with himself as head and Yani as Chief of Staff.  The KOTI was responsible for executing governmental and economic programs, as well as combatting counter-revolutionary forces and the Nekolim. 

       Despite Nasution’s sidelining, however, the military’s position as a whole was firm.  The forces that had tended to challenge it – especially civilian parties and pol-iticians – had been "tamed," or co-opted into the Guided Democracy framework.  Its rivals, the PSI and Masjumi, had been expelled from the political arena because of their opposition to Guided Democracy and their involvement in the regional revolts.  As well, the SOB decrees Sukarno imposed to counter the revolts served to buttress military power; Sukarno’s foreign adventures – the West Irian campaign and the "Crush Malaysia" campaign[354] – further entrenched it within the state.  By virtue of Nasution’s Doctrine of Territorial Warfare,[355] the military was also able to extend its presence in administrative bodies.  Military men were made governors and district officers (bupati).  A comparison with Burma is apposite: the system was similar to the hierarchies established by the military after 1962, under the auspices of the Security and Administrative Committee (SAC) and Law and, after 1988, the Order Restoration Committee (LORC).  Indonesian officers heading the Regional War Authority bodies could claim to speak and act as representatives of the President who, in turn, depended on them for the administration of martial law.[356]  The military undertook Civic Action and "development" projects, like the Thai military under Sarit and Thanom (as well as Praphat).  Finally, and even more significantly, the military set up a series of "funct-ional" groups -- youth, peasants, labour, women, and so on -- under its own control. 
       Sukarno’s notion of functional-group representation was in fact a godsend for the military.  It was in line with the armed forces’ distaste for parliamentary politics,[357] and dovetailed also with its self-image as a functional group.  That image, sanctioned by Sukarno in 1958, was later legitimized in Suharto’s New Order via the Dwi Fungsi (Dual Function) formula.  The military thus affirmed it's status as a socio-political grouping, one responsible for both defending and developing the nation.[358]  This reinforced its mystique as "guardian of the nation".  
       The functional-groups concept enabled the military to build a civilian base, known as Sekber Golkar (the Joint Secretariat of Functional Groups).  In essence, this was an anti-PKI front composed of over ninety functional groups[359] – the forerunner of Golkar, the government’s party which today dominates the representative-legislative sphere of Suharto’s New Order. 
       In the Guided Democracy years, however, the Sebker Golkar did not enjoy dominance.  It could only compete with other fronts affiliated to political parties and the PKI.[360]  All of them competed for the favour of Sukarno, the man at the center of things.  This arrangement can be contrasted with
Burma under Ne Win, where the mil-itary monopolized the political arena and was subordinate only to Ne Win himself. 
       In the bid between power players in Sukarno's order, the PKI seemed to be gaining more influence owing to its ideological affinity with the "President for Life".  Sukarno, for example, endorsed the PKI’s proposal to "nasakomize" the military through the dispatching of advisory teams to ABRI.  He even supported arming work-ers and peasants as a "Fifth Force", threatening the military’s monopoly over the legitimate means of coercion.[361]  Owing to Sukarno's growing pro-PKI stance, the military, ABRI, felt, as Nasution puts it, "pushed into a corner."[362] 
       However, despite ABRI's growing unease with Sukarno’s increasing close alliance with the PKI and by the spectre of a communist triumph, the PKI was actually in a desperate "race against time".
[363]  Crouch notes that the ideological affinity between Sukarno and the PKI was not mirrored by a significant PKI presence in the state sphere, and its position was still far from secure.[364]  The military, by contrast, was firmly entrenched in the state apparatus, as we have seen.  In addition, the struggle between the PKI and the military over the "functional group representation" sphere of the Guided Democracy order was still unresolved.  The PKI’s fronts -- which included the Central Organization of All Indonesian Workers (SOBSI), the BTI (a peasant front), the League of People’s Culture (LEKRA), and Gerwani, a women’s front -- were all challenged by military-backed fronts, just as the latter felt threatened by the PKI’s organizing efforts. 
       The PKI’s ascent, like that of its military nemesis, was a difficult one.  After being nearly decimated by Nasution and the Siliwangi Division in a skirmish that became known as the "Madiun Affair" of 1948, the party made a comeback, winning 16 percent of the popular vote in the 1955 general elections.  Led by Dipa Nusantara Aidit, it chose to support Sukarno in all his endeavours.[365]  In return, it gained the latter's protection from its bitterest foe, the military, and from socialist and Islamic rivals as well. 
       Most scholars have seen Sukarno’s attitude toward the PKI as prompted by political expediency, or by a desire to outflank the military and Islamic forces.[366]  There is certainly much truth in this evaluation.  What also needs to be considered, though, is the close ideological affinity between Sukarno and the PKI.[367]  It made sense for the PKI to support a sympathetic and all-powerful ruler like Sukarno.  After the 1955 elections -- the only genuine elections in
Indonesia thus far -- Sukarno pressed successfully for the PKI to be included, albeit indirectly, in the government of Ali Sastroamidjojo.  PKI leaders (Aidit, Lukman, Njoto) found themselves appointed to executive positions in the National Front in 1960, and the cabinet-like State Consultat-ive Body in 1962.

       Equally valuable to the PKI was the actions Sukarno took against parties and fronts linked to ABRI or otherwise anti-PKI.  In 1960, for example, Sukarno banned the League for Democracy, an anti-communist front drawn from the ranks of Masjumi, PSI, NU, and IP-KI (a party with close ties to the military).[368]  In the same year, he banned the PKI’s (and the military's as well, ironically) political rivals, the Masjumi and PSI, for different but rather good reasons – their involvement in the regional revolts.  In 1964, The Body for the Upholding of Sukarnoism (BPS), a front led by Trade Minister and Murba leader Adam Malik that opposed "nasakomization," also was banned.  Thanks to Sukarno’s active assistance and Guided Democracy politics, then, it can be said that the PKI gained a great deal of capital from its junior partner-ship with the "Great Leader", while the military increasingly came under ideological and political siege from Sukarno and the PKI.

       The PKI gained further support among Java’s rural poor with its aksi sepihak, or unilateral actions -- peasant seizures of land considered already distributed under land reform laws of 1959 and 1960.[369]  These often-violent actions polarized the rural areas along class and religious lines: landowners and rural elites were mostly santri, or orthodox Muslims, and largely affiliated with the NU, while the poor were mostly abangan (nominal Muslims).  PKI gains in this area, though, were offset by growing fears of lower-class violence and "Red terror."  Many members of the socio-economic elite were pushed away from Sukarno and the PKI, and into the arms of the military,

       Still, if ABRI enjoyed a "competitive edge" over its rival and enemy, the PKI’s long-term prospects were quite encouraging, given its closeness to the leader on which all actors in the Guided Democracy state depended.  Things seemed even rosier when Sukarno’s relations with ABRI worsened as a result of the latter’s alleged foot-dragging on "nasakomisation" and the "Fifth Force".  Sukarno even accused military leaders of becoming "reactionary".[370]  Adding fuel to the fire was Sukarno’s accusat-ions that Nekolim forces planned to assassinate him together with Dr.Subandrio and Yani, and that a coup by a CIA-backed "Council of Generals" was in the planning stages.[371]

       Unfortunately for the PKI, Sukarno vomited and collapsed while receiving a Sekber-Golkar delegation.  This spawned speculation about his health and rumours of impending coups and power struggles.  Tensions increased; the balance of power was growing unsettled as mutual suspicions deepened among the twin pillars of Sukarno’s order, the PKI and the military.  This set the stage for the dramatic and traumatic violence that exploded in late 1965. 
       The above analysis of the Guided Democracy state lends credence to the assertion in the theoretical framework that in an authoritarian order, military or otherwise, the political centre of gravity shifts towards the personal ruler, who holds the lion’s share of power.  In the Guided Democracy order, this was Sukarno.  He was in almost complete control of the state and its institutions, which largely became extensions of his will and vision.  In this sense, the state was non-autonomous, malleable, and not insulated from Sukarno’s preferences. 
       We have seen that Sukarno was able to maintain quite a stable surface balance, despite the mutual antagonisms of the two pillars.  ABRI’s entrenchment in the state apparatus was offset to a large extent by the PKI’s ideological closeness to Sukarno.  But the fact that his two powerful subordinate forces were implacable enemies proved destabilizing at a deeper level.  As it transpired, doubts about Sukarno’s health trigger-ed the kind of crisis of succession and transition to be expected, given the earlier discussion of the vulnerability of authoritarian systems when the ruler is weakened, physically or otherwise. 


The “Succession” Crisis: Gestapu and the Birth of Suharto’s
New Order State   
       Soon after Sukarno’s collapse, on October 1, the Gestapu (30th of September Movement) staged its coup attempt.  It was led by Colonel Untung of the Presidential Guard and "radicals" from the Diponegro and Brawijaya Divisions.[372]  Yani and five top generals were killed, along with Nasution’s daughter and an aide.  Nasution himself narrowly escaped death.  Inexplicably, General Suharto, head of the counter-coup reserves (KOSTRAD), but not one of the Council of Generals, was not on the hit-list.  This oversight proved fatal.[373]  
       Untung announced he had acted to pre-empt a coup by a CIA-backed "Council of Generals," to safeguard the President, and to purge ABRI of corrupt "power-mad generals".[374]  He proclaimed a Revolutionary Council, which he headed, and which included the Air Force’s Omar Dhani, Sukarno’s protégé and Foreign Minister Subandrio, the Navy chief, and other pro-PKI figures.  Sukarno’s name, however, was absent.  In this respect and others, Gestapu is a mystery that has generated considerable debate.[375]  The official version is that it was a PKI plot to split the army and secure its position after the death or incapacitation of Sukarno.[376]  The roles of Sukarno and Suharto are also intriguing.  Was Sukarno involved in the coup, or did he know about it, and if so how much?  Was Suharto simply an innocent beneficiary?[377]

       Suffice it to say that by the second day, Suharto, with Nasution’s advice and with minimal fighting, had regained control.[378]   Nasution was, for the most part, in shock: he had been injured while escaping from the team sent to abduct and kill him, and his daughter had been mortally wounded.  Sukarno was now in an awkward position.  He had gone to Halim Air Base, the coup headquarters, along with Omar Dhani (who had openly endorsed the coup), Subandrio, Aidit, and other PKI leaders.[379]  That night he made for his palace at Bogor (not too far from Jakarta).  The following day, Suharto visited Bogor, where Sukarno charged him with the task of restoring security and order.  On 14 October, Sukarno retreated still further, appointing Suharto as Army Commander.

       Taking advantage of public horror at the murder of the generals and Nasution’s daughter, the military set out swiftly to destroy the PKI.  It joined with other anti-PKI elements – Islamic parties and youth organizations, the right wing of the PNI, and old political foes, along with anti-communist intellectuals and students.  Its anti-PKI camp-aign included a televised exhumation of the dead generals, and a public funeral for them and Nasution’s daughter.  Soon mobs looted and gutted PKI offices and property, first in Jakarta, then throughout the country.  PKI members and alleged "communists" became fair game for frenzied mobs, egged on by Muslim leaders, local and rural notables, and anyone with a score to settle.[380]  John Hughes and Brian May claim soldiers took part in or encouraged the killings.[381]  The estimates of those killed, includ-ing women, children, and even babies, range from a low of 78,000 to half a million or more.[382]  Most of the victims were likely the poor, landless coolies and peasants who had participated in PKI rallies and "unilateral actions".[383]

       Whatever their character and extent, the massacres served the New Order rulers in a number of key ways.  First, it rid them of their main rival, the PKI.  Second, as Julia Southwood and Patrick Flanagan suggest, the trauma turned survivors into "obedient collaborators and victims",[384] and made many of those involved in the kill-ings the "partners in crime" of the regime.  The bloodbath allowed New Order power-holders to present themselves as standing guard over society to prevent a replay of the traumatic events.  The slaughter thus provided the regime with a negative kind of legit-imacy: as noted in the theoretical discussion, the fear of disorder and bloodshed may induce a degree of acceptance of authoritarian control, given the likely alternatives. 
       With the PKI annihilated, ABRI was the only significant force left.  The time was near to get rid of Sukarno.  Ironically, Sukarno then precipitated his own downfall.  Misjudging his popularity, in early 1966 he dismissed Nasution as Defense Minister and ABRI Chief.[385]  In response, Ali Murtopo, an intelligence man and hard-core Suhartoist, stepped up his support for anti-Sukarno students who had taken to the streets under the banners of the Islamic University Students Association (HMI) and the Indonesian Students Action Group (KAMI).  He orchestrated mass rallies together with attacks on Subandrio’s Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy.  The climax came on
March 11, 1966, when the palace was surrounded by "unidentified" troops -- actually paratroops led by Sarwo Edhie, a hardline anti-Sukarnoist.  Sukarno panicked and fled to Bogor on a helicopter.  Suharto promptly sent three generals to the palace, and they convinced Sukarno to sign an order authorizing Suharto to "take all necessary steps" to guarantee secure, calm, and stable government.  Suharto interpreted this "11th of March Order" (Supersemar) as a legal transfer of power.

       Thus emboldened, Suharto took decisive action.  He dissolved the Presidential Guard, arrested Sukarnoist ministers (including Subandrio), and formed a new cabinet with himself as Defence Minister.  The Sultan of Jogjakarta was brought into the cabinet to lend Suharto an aura of legitimacy.  He also forced the PNI (Sukarno’s informal power base) to hold a special congress under the eyes of the Siliwangi Division.  This ensured that a Suhartoist chairman was "elected."

       Next, Suharto purged the military of Sukarnoists.  His own loyalists -- Sumitro, Dharsono, Surono, and so on -- were appointed as commanders of the Siliwangi, Diponegoro and Brawijaya Divisions, respectively.  The civil service and the National Front were also purged.  The final blow to Sukarno was delivered by none other than Nasution, as Chairman of the Provisional People’s Consultative Assembly (MPRS), the "king-making" body of the 1945 Constitution.  In March 1966, this body stripped Sukarno of his title of President for Life.  Later, symbolizing his total disempower-ment, he would be called to account for his role in Gestapu and "the economic and moral deterioration of the nation."[386]  In March 1967, the MPRS named Suharto as Acting President, officially withdrawing the mantle from Sukarno.  The formal transfer of power was effected a year later, when Suharto was confirmed as President.

       Of theoretical relevance in this discussion of the crisis and Suharto’s rise to power is the fact that the military establishment did not initiate the intervention, nor could it have.  Its leaders were not united enough to move against Sukarno.  They, especially Yani, had accepted Sukarno as a supreme leader, whatever differences existed over the role of the PKI.[387]  Finally, its place in the Guided Democracy regime was secure.  Moreover, the military had no pressing reason to intervene.  It would not necessarily be threatened even by Sukarno’s death or incapacitation.  Actually, it was the PKI that stood to lose if any such misfortune befell Sukarno.  One might surmise from the ease with which the top brass were eliminated in the Gestapu that they were not expecting trouble, much less contemplating a coup of their own at that point.

       On the other hand, Gestapu itself was, strictly speaking, an act of military intervention.  After all, it was carrried out by a military faction.  It may thus be viewed as an attempt by a segment of the military to reorganize political power on behalf of a political leader or leaders – Sukarno and perhaps some PKI figures (probably without their full knowledge or involvement).

       Gestapu suggests that military intervention is a phenomenon that is closely tied to the politics of the state, and as discussed theoretically, it will be ineffectual if carried out by a divided military or in the absence of a strongman-unifier.  It also serves as further evidence that authoritarian orders, being dependent on the balance of forces that the ruler establishes, are vulnerable to system instability whenever the ruler shows signs of physical or political decline.

       Regarding Suharto, he cannot, unlike Burma’s Ne Win (or Pibul and Sarit in Thailand), be classified as a military usurper.  His rise, the inquiry shows, was not the result of military intervention per se, but rather was an outcome of the military’s response to a situation in which both the state and its position within it was threatened.  The power vacuum within the military establishment created by Gestapu unified the military behind him -- making him as it were a de-facto military strongman-unifier -- and pushed him to the top.  This buttresses the theoretical observation that military intervention is highly likely when the military is unified under an undisputed leader, and the stability of the state is gravely threatened.  Further, Suharto might even be categorized as a constitutional authoritarian ruler.  This seems particularly apt given that he gained power constitutionally: Sukarno was eased out by maneouvres well within the framework of the 1945 Constitution, which is still in force and serves as the legal basis of Suharto’s state order. 


The Military and the Golkar Formula: The Simplification of State-Society Politics 
       The contours and structures of Sukarno’s Guided Democracy were intrinsically authoritarian; thus the transition from Sukarno to Suharto did not involve fundamental changes in the way power was organized.  In fact, Suharto was careful to preserve the form and structures of the "old" order as set out in the 1945 Constitution.[388]   The same basic structures of political power obtain in his "New" Order: namely, a strong presid-ency; a largely "elected" legislative body or parliament (DPR); and the representation of regions and relevant functional groups, symbolized by the MPR (People's Consult-ative Assembly).[389] 

       Both Sukarno and Suharto based their rule on the 1945 Constitution and the five principles (or pillars) of Pancasila:  Belief in One God, Humanitarianism, National Unity, Social Justice, and People's Sovereignty.  It was primarily meant as a unifying doctrine.  Both leaders used Belief in One God to thwart Islamic goals, and National Unity was an overriding preoccupation.  Both leaders honored the other principles more symbolically than in practice, and they were able to manipulate all the pillars to serve their strategies of rule.  But in this respect, Suharto was the more skilful political craftsman, and he was more successful in implementing an authoritarian state under the 1945 constitution framework.  
       After Gestapu, Suharto was faced with the task of firming up a badly-shaken authoritarian order.  Fortunately, there was at that time no one to challenge the legitimacy of Sukarno’s hegemonizing-legitimizing formula, built around the 1945 Constitution and Pancasila,[390] which all elite groups -- including ABRI and even the PKI -- had accepted as a "sacred" legacy of the revolution and integral to Indonesian nationhood.  Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski have pointed to this feature of authoritarian orders: that some degree of consensus may coexist with coercion.[391]  The constituting of the New Order was no easy task, however.  It involved rearranging forces to restore a balance among the constellation of state factions.  It also meant "taming" forces unleashed by Gestapu, especially Islamic forces, which had become politicized during the transition period.

       Suharto’s main problem at this juncture was how best to engineer the entrench-ing of what was then his only power base – the military – in the New Order’s political arena, where it could serve as a controlling and stabilizing force.  The politically sophisticated solution was a remodelling of the functional-group representation prin-ciple provided for in the Constitution.  The Sekber-Golkar, used to counter the PKI during the years of Guided Democracy, was revived.  It became Golkar, the govern-ment’s party, and was placed under ABRI control (though this control slackened over time, as explored below).  Golkar as the electoral machine of the regime.  Its overriding function was to win votes and seats, and thus allow ABRI and Suharto to control the representative-legislative sphere.  To this point, it has been successfully employed in six elections – 1971, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, and 1997 – that have served to stabilize and legitimize the New Order. 
       Golkar underwent several organizational reformulations before it was decided that Suharto, as chief supervisor, would be the supreme head.  He was empowered to dictate or veto any Golkar appointment.  Next in line came a Leadership Council consisting of a central executive board, along with executive boards from the provinces and regencies (administrative units).  The chair and other top positions on these boards were held by active or retired ABRI men.  Later they would pass to anyone particularly favoured by Suharto and ABRI.[392] 
       As Reeve notes, Golkar is a versatile vehicle facilitating ABRI’s entry into politics and state institutions.  It also facilitates the movement of ABRI men among posts in the military, the Golkar leadership, and the representative-legislative sphere.[393]  Conceptually, Golkar can be likened to the Burmese Socialist Program Party (BSPP).  Both were the instruments of the military and, ultimately, the ruler – Suharto and Ne Win respectively.  Certain differences should not be overlooked, however.  Suharto did not permit ABRI totally to dominate Golkar (and over time the military has ceased to dominate it), whereas the BSPP was simply a powerless façade for military rule.
       Worse still for ABRI’s power prospects, Suharto strengthened the civilian presence in the upper reaches of the New Order power structure.  At the end of 1993, he selected Harmoko as the first civilian chairman of Golkar – formerly ABRI’s political fief.  Harmoko is said to be an ally of Habibie -- Suharto's protege (and Minister of Research and Technology) -- and a rising star himself.[394]  In addition, two of Suharto’s children – his daughter Tutut and son Bambang Trihadmodjo – were named vice-chair and treasurer of Golkar, respectively.[395]  Suharto clearly is attempting to build up a civilian-Islamic bloc through Habibie and others, as well as to strengthen the civilian component of Golkar.  He is trying to consolidate Golkar’s position as a political party that is able to withstand ABRI’s pressure and influence and which operates in the manner of, say, Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).[396]   If he is successful, the sophisticated authoritarian order Suharto has so cleverly constructed may be maintained and even more firmly institutionalized.   In the future, presumably, Golkar will be led by his children and whichever ABRI figures or factions can be won over as allies.[397]  
       Golkar’s importance in the New Order scheme cannot be overemphasized.  It ensures the closure of the representative-legislative sphere to societal forces.[398]  In addition, Golkar’s ability to fill representative-legislative bodies at all levels with a majority of loyal members has enabled ABRI (and ultimately Suharto) to dominate the MPR – the nation’s supreme body, which elects the President and draws the broad outlines of state policy.[399]  Without Golkar, ABRI would not easily have been able to assert its control over the representative-legislative sphere and politics more generally.  In short, the Golkar formula has enabled the New Order state to maintain an apparently open political arena, and to rule constitutionally while effectively marginalizing opposition parties and forces (like the Islamic groups) that might, given the opportunity, challenge the regime.  

       Unlike Bama and Thai strongmen, therefore, Suharto has succeeded in establishing restrictive control over a state-society framework that in principle is somewhat open and pluralistic -- in Linz's term, a "limited pluralism", where those who are allowed to participate in politics do so at the sufferance of those holding power.[400]  In Burma, Ne Win and the military could maintain their hegemony only by completely closing the political arena through a one-party state-society arrangement.  In Thailand, as will be shown, military leaders have had to live with a progressively more open political arena, as a result of the influence of the constitutional monarch on the political system. 

       The key to creating a subordinate but nominally pluralistic political arena lay in Suharto’s ability to "simplify" politics.  In this he was assisted by a succession of versatile aides: among them, Ali Murtopo, Sumitro, Sudomo (a naval admiral), and Benny Murdani.  In 1973, disparate and competing political parties were merged into two "opposition" or "minority" parties, with very little chance of one day becoming a ruling or majority one.  The result was two parties in permanent opposition, divided by their different views and platforms, and composed of squabbling camps and factions.  This made them highly vulnerable to the blandishments and threats of Suharto’s aides and their handpicked men in the DPR and MPR.  Further restrictions were imposed on campaign platforms and the use of certain symbols (the Kaaba, for example); other laws forced the adoption of Pancasila as the only creed.  Thus these parties became, as intended, shadows of political parties.[401] 


The Military: The New Order’s Dominators, Stabilizers and Dynamizers  
       Apart from this "simplification" of politics, the military exerted control over the population by dominating the public institutions with which ordinary people had to interact on a daily basis: the administrative machinery of the state.  Civil servants were forced to join Golkar or functional groups such as the Civil Servants Corps (KORPRI), and to swear loyalty to the state.  This meant they had to cut their ties to other parties and join Golkar.
[402]  ABRI’s reach extended still further, in the form of a military-dominated hierarchy of extra-administrative bodies that oversaw (and intervened in) administration down to the village level.  Public servants and policy-implementing bodies were thereby deprived, to a large extent, of autonomy.[403]  Noteworthy here is that although soldiers could be said not to monopolize administrative bodies as in the past, the fact remains that ABRI is able to intervene when and where desired.  It has the clout to prevent actions that run counter to its interests or threaten its overall dominance.  In the early years, the presence of ABRI in the administrative sphere was almost as conspicuous as with the BSPP in Burma.  So, too, was the subordination of civilian bureaucrats to military men, who governed 17 out of 24 provinces and constit-uted over half of all bupatis and mayors.[404]  
       The ABRI further sought to impose control through surveillance and coercion, another feature that resembled
Burma under Ne Win and presently.  Pivotal in this respect are intelligence and security agencies like the National Stability Coordination Board (BAKORSTANAS) and its predecessors, the State Intelligence Coordinating Body (BAKIN) and the Operational Command for the Restoration of Security and Order (KOPKAMTIB).  These enjoy wide powers to spy, intimidate, search, and arrest.  Like Burma's military intelligence agency (MIS), they are accountable only to the military ruler.[405]  KOPKAMTIB, for instance, was empowered to intrude in all spheres of society.  It intervened in police work and labour disputes.  It kept a watch on students, censored the press, spied on military officers, harassed Islamic parties and groups, and exerted pressure on ministries and administrative agencies as the situation demanded.  This is not to say, however, that Indonesia is a police state.  The degree and character of state intimidation varies and is dependent on the locality and situation.  Intimidation was more open and pervasive in the early years of the New Order than today.[406]   In East Timor, though, coercion and state terror remain facts of life.[407]  
       Control of the press is seen as particularly important to the regime’s control over society.  It is exercised in many ways, including outright banning.  More common is a telephone call requesting editors not to print certain articles or report on events, on pain of having the publication’s permit revoked or subscriptions cancelled.  Another is the "press briefing", where the press is given the "facts" of certain events.  Fear and self-censorship are the results, as well described by Adam Schwarz.
[408]  Largesse may also be provided: an air-conditioned secretariat for the Indonesian Journalists Association; soft and long-term loans; cash favours or "envelopes"; substantial governmental subscriptions; free airline tickets for pilgrimages to Mecca; or dinners for senior editors with ministers and top military brass.[409]   In sum, the press in Indonesia undergoes periodic but regular liberalization -- usually followed by re-imposed restrictions.  In the open periods, the press has been surprisingly and remarkably free.  It has tended to push the limits and a clampdown inevitably follows when taboo topics -- for example, Suharto's retirement, his children, criticism of Islam -- are discussed.  (In Thailand, the taboo topic is the monarchy and the royal family). 
       ABRI’s success in entrenching itself in the state, and its position above society, have shaped the contours of the relationships that constitute the New Order.  First, its dominance has given soldiers the opportunity to become decision-makers, "legislators" in local assemblies and the national parliament, political managers and "politicians" in Golkar, and important administrators and policy formulators, as well as business man-agers.  As Andrew MacIntyre and Jamie Mackie note, ABRI is allocated one-fifth of parliamentary seats, in addition to the "elected" but military-nominated Golkar MPs.  Its members also hold important posts in key ministries (Home and Justice, for example) and the position of secretary of state.  The military exercises "wide powers of supervision and control over local officials and societal organizations throughout rural society."
[410]

       Second, military control of political-administrative offices have allowed top officers to use the state apparatus and political power to amass wealth.[411]  As a consequence, an entire class has emerged whose standing is based almost solely on political power and/or state connections – a common feature of such authoritarian arrangements, as noted in the theoretical framework.  A case in point is Suharto himself.  Michael Vatikiotis claims he used his position as commanding officer of the Diponegoro Division and, later, as President to accumulate about US $2-3 billion; these were 1990-91 figures and were projected to grow rapidly.  The key to this wealth has been business deals or connections with Chinese cukong-entrepreneurs such as Liem Sioe Liong and Kian Siang (Bob Hassan).[412]  Other generals – for instance, Ibnu Sutowo, and even dissidents like Jasin, Sukendro, and Dharsono – have obtained state favours and used them to generate wealth.[413]  According to Murdani, a former Defence Min-ister and once a close aide to Suharto, an ordinary retired general could easily make US $1-2 million through contracts and tenders.[414]  ABRI’s dominance is such that, in Schwarz’s words, it would have been the envy of soldiers of several Latin American states.[415]  
       Third, and most important, the fact that the military wore three hats -- those of soldier, politician, and administrator -- knitted the four million civil servants together under military tutelage.  The result has been a relatively cohesive state stratum of armed and unarmed bureaucrats.[416]  In the three decades since the birth of the New Order, members of this stratum have formed a cohesive social web, a "sub-society" separated especially from lower social strata.  One might add that, as in other
Third World areas, the state has consciously created a collective awareness among state officials.  The identity is bolstered by provision of special privileges and prequisites, increased opportunities for family members, and the higher social status that accrues from "belonging" to a ruling or administering class.[417]  It can be seen as well in routines and rituals like the wearing of uniforms, Monday morning parades, member-ship in KORPI (or their wives’ in Dharma Wanita), and "P4" courses of Pancasila indoctrination (which is also taught in all the schools). 
       Members of this state stratum have also established links with elites in other spheres: businessmen, professionals, and intellectuals, as well as local notables and community leaders.  The regime’s carrot-and-stick strategy of co-option, combined with the social and patrimonial linking of the official class to other societal elites, has created a national "elite network" and an important degree of consensus.  Certain rules of the game have been established, based on not rocking the boat too vigorously, or seeking support outside elite circles (for example, by championing the cause of sub-ordinated social strata).[418]  Such linkages, rules, and points of consensus are vital to the stability of authoritarian orders.  Non-state elite groups gain access to state resources; state elites live very comfortably, partly as a result of their extra-state connections.[419]  Like the Thai strongmen-rulers, then, but unlike Ne Win and the Tatmadaw in
Burma, Suharto and ABRI have been able to broaden the base of authoritarianism and create an elite consensus.  In this manner the state has been strengthened and its autonomy heightened, particularly vis-à-vis the excluded and disenfranchised forces it dominates. 


Suharto and the Politics of Personal Domination  
       The view presented here of New Order Indonesia as a military-dominated polity is not meant to suggest that it is a military state – though in many ways it is that as well.  ABRI is certainly the main pillar of the New Order.  But it stands at the pinnacle of a state in which power, control, and key resources derive from the president and his close aides.[420]  In his amassing of personal power, Suharto’s brand of authoritarianism is similar in many aspects to Sukarno’s, Ne Win’s, and the version implemented by Thai strongmen-rulers -- Pibul, Sarit, Thanom, and Praphart. 

       Still, Sukarno and Suharto do differ, notably in their personalities and visions.  Sukarno was impelled by a vague "Marxism" and a populist-nationalist romanticism which saw national politics as part of a struggle of the world’s downtrodden against global exploitation and oppression.  His enemies were more external than internal: Britain, the United States, and associated client regimes.  In this respect, Sukarno’s political vision was rather cosmopolitan.  By contrast, Suharto, who attained power fortuitously after the Gestapu, has necessarily been more narrowly focused.  Not exactly an insider in the pre-1965 ABRI hierarchy, despite his distinguished record,[421] Suharto nonetheless had the capacity to pursue his goals by means both pragmatic and manipulative.  His primary concern was to hold onto the power that fell into his hands and prevent the disintegration of a very shaky authoritarian state order.  This involved transforming ABRI into a loyal political tool that could be used to stabilize and strengthen both the state and Suharto’s dominance within it. 
       It is to Suharto’s great credit that he was able to restore and preserve an authoritarian order in a situation in which disparate forces, each with its own agenda, intruded into politics and sought to extract benefits from the new man at the centre.[422]  The situation was dangerous, but provided Suharto as pivotal power-player with the opportunity to exploit these forces and the prevailing climate of anxiety.  He benefitted from the trauma of a "mass insanity": the communal killing throughout
Indonesia.  Many hungered for a strong figure to stop the "madness," making the imposition of order the overriding priority. 
       Suharto seized the opportunity to remodel and refine the Sukarno system.  He focused his attention on the principle of functional group representation.  He used Golkar, which ostensibly existed to represent these groups, as a means of entrenching his power base in the military, politics, and the state, and the military's in politics.  It was also the method by which he dominated the legislative-representative arena, neutralizing political parties and Islamic forces.  Suharto loyalists – aides such as Ali Murtopo, Sumitro, Darjatmo, Amir Murtono, Sokowati, and Sapardjo – consolidated Golkar through their patient legwork, and steered it to victory in the first New Order elections of 1971.  With a majority in the new parliament (DPR), the Suharto group moved to simplify and re-structure the political parties, reducing them to two – the PPP (United Development Party) and PDI (Indonesian Democratic Party)– which were no match for Golkar. 
       The remodelling of the representative-legislative assemblies, the DPR and MPR, eroded whatever functional purpose they might have served.  As Vice-President Adam Malik put it, a parliamentarian’s life came to consist of the "four D’s" (in Bahasa Indonesian): clock in, collect your pay, sit back, and keep quiet.[423]  Despite some more recent tendencies towards independence among legislators, the power of the representative-legislative bodies has been effectively circumvented, and deliberations skewed in favour of those who control Golkar – Suharto and ABRI.[424]   To clarify parliamentarians, especially those in the military and Golkar fraksi (division), have debated and expressed concerns over specific issues, and delayed some government bills.  They have even campaigned against the government in connection, for example, with public lotteries and increase in electricity prices.  But, as McIntyre points out, the DPR (parliament) has been unable to change government policy, and its ability to constrain government actions remains very limited, however.
[425]
       After establishing unchallenged hegemony in this sphere, Suharto moved swift-ly to tame the only force left that was capable of challenging him.  Well aware of ABRI’s history of insubordination, he set out to set his personal stamp on its function-ing.  First, he rallied those who had dutifully served him, largely in an intelligence or special-operations capacity.[426]  The "special aides" (for example, Murtopo, Sumitro, and later, Murdani) were drawn into the inner circle, and charged with managing "general and specific affairs".  That meant their jurisdiction and power were unlimited – or rather, limited only by Suharto.  They also moved into key positions within ABRI, the ministries, security and intelligence bodies, economic and development agencies, and the Golkar machinery.  Because they owed their status to Suharto, he was able effectively to play one off against the other.  This "palace polit-ics" kept the "palace generals" divided.  The man at the centre, ever vigilant, could clip the wings of excessively ambitious up-and-comers.[427] 
       Suharto likewise moved to rid ABRI of rivals and potential challengers, like
Burma's Ne Win.  The first to go was Nasution, the only general officer who outranked him, thanks to Gestapu.[428]  He was shifted upstairs as MPRS chairman, used to discredit and sideline Sukarno, and then marginalized himself.  Next to go (in the late 1960s) were the "New Order radicals" -- Sarwo Edhie, Kemal Idris, and Dharsono.  They had played pivotal roles in installing Suharto and destroying both the PKI and the Sukarnoists, just as Sarit rid himself of the Phao-Phin faction, and Ne Win of most members of the original Revolutionary Council.[429]  Over the years, other generals were jettisoned.[430]  By the 1980s, Suharto had successfully weathered challenges from both ABRI and the inner circle.  He was his own man.  Suharto’s long tenure as President further elevated his status to that of supreme-leader and father figure – not just for New Order acolytes, but for the nation as a whole.

       ABRI was also restructured to diminish the power of those in the formal chain of command.  A series of military reorganizations reduced the autonomy of the Air Force and the Navy, bringing them under the control of the Department of Defence and Security (HANKAM).  This, in turn, was always controlled by a Suharto loyalist.  The operational capacity of Area Command was likewise reduced.  Crack units were placed under HANKAM and came to form part of the Strategic Reserve (KOSTRAD) and the Secret Warfare Force (Kopassandha), both under loyalist direction.

       Suharto also initiated what Jenkins has called a system of "doubling-up of functions", wherein powerful aides hold each other in check.  In the late 1970s, for example, Chief Mohammad Jusuf, who served as ABRI Chief, Minister of Defence, and head of HANKAM, had Murdani and Sudomo as deputies.  Sudomo, as head of KOPKAMTIB, had Murdani and Yoga under him; Murdani also served as Yoga’s deputy when the latter headed BAKIN.  All were granted direct access to Suharto, turning the strongman into their chief manipulator and arbiter.[431]  
       ABRI as an institution was kept happy and busy through the political openings provided to active and retired personnel alike.  This opened up new career paths and avenues of influence for military men, who served as Golkar functionaries and appointed or "elected" members of the DPR and MPR.  In addition, as noted, soldiers held positions in ministerial bureaucracies, the judiciary, the military-territorial administration, the civil administration, and the state enterprises – Pertamina, Bulog, Inkopad, Perhutani, Berdikari, and the state banks.[432]  Top-echelon soldiers were well-positioned to grant or withhold permits, licenses, contracts, credits, and protection to local entrepreneurs (mainly ethnic Chinese) and domestic or foreign entrepreneurs.  In exchange, top ABRI men would receive a share of the profits, commissions, board memberships, and jobs for family members and clients.[433]  Being so well-rewarded, these figures were unlikely to risk their future prospects by moving against a ruler who had become their father-benefactor.  This is a useful reminder that while disgruntled or idealistic officers might arise to challenge the status quo, the vast majority tends to be occupied taking advantage of the opportunities the military system has to offer to risk challenging the system.  The pivotal role of Suharto, the military strongman-ruler, as described above, is in agreement with the theoretical observation that states that military-authoritarian rulers play a pivotal role in the re-structuring of the state and that to a large extent they determine the configuration of power among state elements, and in particular, the military's position within the system. 
       And yet challenges to Suharto did arise within ABRI.  The earliest, albeit indirect, occurred in 1973-74.  It was rooted in the rivalry between intelligence men: Sumitro of KOPKAMTIB and Juwono of BAKIN, on the one hand, and Suharto’s staffers Murtopo and Humardhani, on the other.  The challenge coincided with turbulence linked to Islamic protests against the Marriage Bill, which gave non-Islamic groups an equal voice in marriage and family-related matters.  A rice crisis and student protests against the technocratic economic strategy and Japanese "domination" added to the volatile brew.  Sumitro and Juwono sympathized with the protesters and their attacks, not just against ABRI’s Dual Function doctrine, but against corrupt members of the elite, including those close to Suharto and his wife.  Typical of the opaque "palace politics" that predominate in authoritarian orders, there were even allegations that the students had been egged on by the Sudomo-Murtopo clique and used to discredit Sumitro.  The climax was widespread rioting and the "Malari" incident, followed by repression, mass detentions, and the muzzling of the press.  An important consequence of "Malari" was the purging of Sumitro and his group, which marked Suharto’s rise to full supremacy.  No subsequent challenge to Suharto has ever arisen among officers on active duty.  Nor have elite challengers sought to forge linkages with subordinated elements in waging their intra-military or intra-elite battles.[434]  
       Opposition to Suharto emerged again in the late 1970s.  This time it was led by former generals, with Nasution at the forefront.[435]  They were eventually joined by well-known former leaders like Mohammed Hatta (co-founder, with Sukarno, of modern
Indonesia).  Former Prime Ministers and ex-cabinet ministers joined the cause.[436]  They expressed concern over the direction of Suharto’s profit-driven development strategies, the growing gap between rich and poor, and the pervasive corruption.[437]  Their allegations reached into the inner circle, targetting "Pak (Father) Harto", Mrs. Suharto, and business cronies of the President.[438]  The group’s main focus, though, was on Suharto’s "distortion" of the Dual Function doctrine, the Pancasila principle, the 1945 Constitution, and the close identification between Golkar and ABRI.  The challengers contended that ABRI’s fused identity with Golkar, and by extension with the personal ruler, had turned it into nothing more than the tool of the ruling group.  They argued, instead, that ABRI should stand "above all groups".  Their campaign culminated in May 1980 with the "Statement of Concern" signed by fifty prominent figures (the "Petisi 50" or Petition 50 Group).  The statement charged that Suharto, in consolidating his personal position, had divided rather than united the nation.

       The challenge by Nasution and the others seemed to gain adherents in the inner circle, including Adam Malik,[439] Generals Alamsjah, Jusuf, and Widodo.  The last two produced the Jusuf "blue book" and the Widodo Papers, which sought to redefine ABRI as a force that stood "as one with the people," independent of the government of the day and particular power-holders.  They advocated the reduction of ABRI’s involvement in non-military affairs, and proposed that it be placed above all political groups, including Golkar.[440]

       But the opposition withered when Suharto lashed out, warning ABRI would have to "choose friends", and that "enemies" would be isolated and destroyed.[441]  The ease with which Suharto was able to overcome this challenge indicates just how strong he had become, and how pervasive was his aura of power and invulnerability.

       The President’s dominance was further reinforced in 1983, when a substantial number of officers reached retirement age and Benny Murdani was made the new ABRI Chief.  He set about "rationalizing" ABRI’s command structure, further central-izing control in the hands of Suharto loyalists.  As Schwarz, Vatikiotis, and others have pointed out, increasingly, ABRI brass found themselves outside the decision-making loop.[442]  A case in point is Suharto’s appointment of General Sudharmono, whom ABRI disliked, as Vice President in 1988.  Sudharmono was viewed by ABRI, while chairman of Golkar (1983-88), as building a rival civilan power-base through the diversion of tenders and contracts to non-military clients and cronies.  ABRI’s attempts to block his "election" as Vice-President in 1988 proved futile (although it was able to replace Sudharmono with it's candidate, Wahano, as Golkar chairman in 1988).[443]  This is not to say ABRI has not been able, subtly, to assert a degree of autonomy.  For instance, it did manage to get its choice, Sutrisno, selected as, Vice-President for the 1993-98 term (before Suharto made known his choice).[444]

       The absence, as Schwarz and Vatikiotis note, of credible opponents within the military in the 1990s has meant that Suharto can largely ignore the military’s political opinions.[445]  As part of his effort to gain wider support, Suharto has worked to mend fences with a faction of "political Islam".  In December 1990 he sanctioned the establishment of the Association of Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI), led by a rising protégé, the Minister of Research and Technology B.J. Habibie.[446]   Significantly, not a single ABRI man attended Habibie’s inauguration.[447]  Suharto followed this up with a 1991 pilgrimage to Mecca, his family and loyal retainers in tow.[448]
       Suharto is very much in control of ABRI.  According to one long-time observer, all military promotions receive the President’s personal approval.
[449]  Suharto also handpicks the heads of the military services and the police.  He has final say over who commands KOSTRAD (the Strategic Reserve), the Jakarta regional command, and the special strike force, the Kopassus Regiment.[450]  The new Army Chief of Staff, Raden Hartono, is reportedly close to Suharto’s daughter, Tutut (Siti Hardijanti Rukmana).  He also has close ties to current Suharto protégés B.J. Habibie (Minister of Research and Technology and head of the Association of Muslim Intellectuals, ICMI) and Harmoko (civilian chairman of Golkar).[451]   On the whole, ABRI has been loyal to Suharto for almost thirty years, serving the ruler as a power base and instrument of the New Order state.    
       Suharto has, as a personal ruler, certainly been an astute observer and manipulator of his lieutenants and clients.  He has also taken great care to cultivate the loyalty, cooperation and support of groups within an oligarchical ruling circle.  And at the time, he has been quite successful in eliminating their autonomous political power and influence.  In the context of personal rulership style as discussed by Robert Jackson and Carl Rosberg, one might describe Suharto's rulership style as that of a prince and an autocrat.
[452]   Small wonder that William Liddle refers to Suharto as the "Indonesian king".[453]

       The distinction between public and private spheres in strategies of rule is essentially a Western concept.  But it not a concept that can be easily ignored.[454]  On the other hand, the notions of "mandate of heaven" and divine right that once justified personal rule lack legitimacy nowadays.  All contemporary states, including Suharto’s, formally subscribe to the notion that the state and/or government are public institutions serving the common good.  In Indonesia, however, there is a wide gap, as Liddle stresses, between "the proclaimed democratic values and authoritarian practices"[455] -- that is, between the public orientation of rulership and the private exercise of power by a ruler who is "unaccountable to constituencies beyond the army ... [and] most of the time not even to the army".[456]  This may not augur well for Indonesia’s future. 
       As indicated by the analysis, above, Suharto's New Order state is, unlike Ne Win's BSPP state, a complex military-authoritarian state.  It is also quite a distinctive one, being more open than many such orders.  There are three political parties that "compete" in periodic, regular elections, and there are legislative assemblies that debate issues, elect the chief executive, and lay down state policies.  On the other hand, however, the configuration of state-society interaction and the pattern of relative-autonomy relations in Suharto’s New Order evince all the central characteristics, as Heeger notes -- and discussed in the theoretical chapters -- of military-authoritarian orders. 
       These include: (a) the transformation of political roles and actors into bureau-cratic ones; (b) key powerholders’ increasing personal control over the political-administrative bureaucracy and state institutions; and (c) the erosion of rational-legal bureaucratic norms throughout the polity and their replacement by personal, particular-istic practices.  There obtains a pattern of autonomy relations where the pre-eminent ruler enjoys the greatest degree of relative autonomy vis-à-vis the state and its institutions.  Possessing a somewhat lesser degree of autonomy are military men and other subordinate power-holders.  Thus, both Indonesian state institutions and Indonesian society enjoy less autonomy vis-à-vis Suharto and subordinate key officials.  The state is more malleable, less insulated, and more responsive to state officials (especially Suharto); it is the opposite where society is concerned.[457] 


The Problem and Politics of Transition:
Indonesia After Suharto  
       We have seen that the New Order state is, on balance, Suharto’s creation and most responsive to him.  His authority and influence is firmly anchored in the state, and extends into the political sphere as well.[458]  This situation is inherently unstable, as the discussion in the theoretical chapters (Chapter 2, in particular) suggest -- more so when the strongman-ruler is in physical decline and/or, with the passage of time, approaching the end of his rule.  Like all men, Suharto is mortal.  The fact that he is not a dynastic ruler means that whatever stability and legitimacy he has won for both the Presidency and New Order institutions could be reversed without him at the helm.[459] 
       A further complication is Suharto’s seeming unwillingness to designate a military man in active service as his successor, which keeps both aspirants and analysts guessing.[460]  As Vakiotis notes, all vice-presidents either have been ABRI men not on active command, or civilians.  This is true of the Golkar chairmanship as well.[461]  Suharto’s strategy here apparently aims to ensure that his grown children, who head vast economic "empires", are protected into the future.[462]  Knowledgeable sources in
Jakarta suggest that a military successor to Suharto would not likely be kind to them.[463] 
       As Suharto’s departure from the scene looms closer,
Indonesia faces a potentially grave problem of succession and/or transition.  This is exacerbated by the tension between notions of popular sovereignty and the practice of personal rule, and complicated too by far-reaching changes in the country’s economic base, owing to resource exports (particularly the oil boom of the 1970s), inflows of foreign aid and capital, and the "liberalizing" reforms of the late 1980s.[464]  The transformations have led to the evolution of a distinct economic sphere closely tied to regional and global regimes of finance, investment and trade.  These would seem to require a more legal-rational orientation and reduced state control and corruption.[465] 
       The more complex capitalist economy has given rise to a small, but vibrant "middle-class" stratum and has engendered the hope that authoritarianism might be diluted by the new stratum’s aspirations for greater participation and more rights.  It has been argued, for example, that the "new"economy gives greater space to organized business interests to exert their influence.  Bargaining relationships have arisen, as Andrew McIntyre suggest, between the state and some industry groups -- especially in the insurance, textile, and pharmaceutical sectors.[466]  Further evidence of the new middle-class assertiveness is the proliferation of NGOs representing those adversely affected by existing development policies.  Among these are the Legal Aid Institute (LBH), the Democracy Forum, the Institute for the Defence of Human Rights, a state sanctioned labor union (the SPSI, or the All Indonesia Workers Union), and an independent, not legally registered labor union, along with a range of non-profit social and charity concerns.[467]  Recent years have also seen the rise of numerous small self-help groups under such umbrellas as the Institution for Promoting Self-Reliant Community Development (LPM) and the Self-Reliant Community Development Insitute (LSM).[468]   As Liddle cautions, however, most of these NGOs are tiny and resource-poor.[469]

       Another line of argument is possible.  Despite economic "modernization," Mackie stresses that both the middle class and the bourgeoisie are small and hetero-geneous; the bourgeoisie, in addition, is mostly ethnic Chinese.[470]   The rural and urban propertied class is prevented by state elements from intruding into politics or exerting political power.[471]   Given the nature of the middle class and the hierarchical social order, not to mention the social structures that shape political culture, hopes for a middle-class-led democratic transition may be misplaced.[472] 
       Future state-society arrangements in
Indonesia therefore rest largely in the hands of state elements and Suharto himself.  Suharto’s main problem is how to extend his "consolidated or mature authoritarianism" into the future, and prevent power from falling under the sway of a military strongman who might be hostile to his children and their wealth.  An equally important concern is to prevent the rise of other forces -- for example, Islamic extremists -- who might overturn the institutions that Suharto has so skilfully crafted. 
       For ABRI, the challenge is more or less to maintain the status quo.  It would like to regain some of the dominance it has lost under Suharto recently.  Mostly, ABRI wants a successor chosen from its combat ranks (not officers from the legal or bureaucratic sections, like Sudharmono).  Its worst nightmare would be a successor whose power-base is in the civilian sectors of Golkar or the bureaucracy, or -- worse still -- one beholden to political Islam.[473]  This scenario would almost certainly invite military intervention.  The political game in
Indonesia thus may come to centre not on the configuration of state-society relations as such, but on competing elements of the state stratum.  But because ABRI is not monolithic and is politically cohesive only when unified by a strongman, it is possible that there may be a round of vigorous and possibly protracted military intrusions.


CHAPTER FIVE:

THAILAND: MILITARY INTERVENTION AND THE POLITICS OF AUTHORITARIAN DOMINATION


Introduction: Military Intervention and State-Society Politics

       The military has had a dramatic presence in the politics of
Thailand.  This is obvious from the confusing array of coups and coup attempts that have occurred since 1932.  The first coup, in 1932, was an anti-monarchical "revolution" led by the Promoters, a coalition of military and civilian bureaucrats bonded together in the People's Party.  The following year another coup was staged against the government of Phya Mano by Phya Bhahon Yothin and Pibul Songkhram, a future Field Marshal.[474]  This second coup consolidated the dominance of the military Promoters.  Pibul established a quasi-fascist regime which "modernized" the country. 

       Pibul's authoritarian regime was not, as will be discussed, a simple military dictatorship.  Pibul retained the King as a constitutional monarch, as means to provide his regime with legitimacy.  Pibul's military rule with a constitutionarch monarch -- the "Pibul system" -- permitted, in Linz's terms, "limited pluralism", as discussed in the opening theoretical chapters.  This pluralism entailed a limited participation of the bureaucracy and certain elite groups in electoral and legislative politics.  The legislat-ure appointed Prime Ministers and debated issues, sometimes rigorously.[475]  Pibul relied upon the military to maintain his personal grip on power and he rewarded it amply. 
       Pibul was ousted from power in 1944 by Pridi Banomyong, the regent and the head of the anti-Japanese Free Thai movement.  Pridi presided over a period of "democracy" or civilian rule but it lasted only three years. The military returned to the political stage in 1947 and re-installed Pibul as Prime Minister.  This coup represented an attempt by the military, discredited by being on the losing side of the war, to dis-lodge civilian politicians who had gained footholds in the state under Pridi.

       In 1957, Sarit Thanarat staged a coup against Pibul -- or against a rival military clique, the Phin-Phao clique, as will be discussed.  He was much more authoritarian than Pibul, and established a more cohesive military-authoritarian order.  Like Ne Win, he abolished representative institutions and he restricted popular access to the state.  Unlike Ne Win, however, Sarit co-opted the civilian bureaucracy and, like Suharto, he developed a more cohesive military-civilian bureaucratic base.  Sarit had little regard for the democratic forms -- legislatures, competitive elections, and so on -- which had come to be associated in Thailand with the constitutional monarchy.  But  he adeptly exploited the pomp and ceremony of the monarchy, with its inherent legitimacy, to bolster his personal rule.  In sum, Sarit successfully presented himself as a firm yet benevolent ruler, a "father of the people" who held and exercised power as a loyal servant of the crown.

       Sarit's successors, Thanom Kittikachorn and Praphart Charusathien, continued the "Sarit system" and ruled as military dictators.[476]  By the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was growing pressure for political participation from below.  This pressure stemmed from economic development under military tutelage and American aid.  The Thanom-Praphart regime fell in 1973, following a student-led mass uprising and a royal intervention by the King to stop the bloodshed.   When the Thanom-Praphart military-authoritarian regime was toppled in 1973, the military lost much of its political cohesion due to the absence of an effective authoritarian strongman.  After 1973, there was a protracted period of transition and struggle.  This period was marked by a series of rather ineffectual military interventions, violence, and intense conflict involving military factions, civilian elite groups, subordinate forces, and palace factions, and the King.  For the first time in Thai history, political elites, both conservative and radical, attempted to mobilize the masses and win their support.
       Subsequently, a substantially "democratic" order, with an open political arena, and legislative sphere, was established.  This civilian interlude was presided over by Sanya Thammasak, Kukrit Pramoj and Seni Pramoj.  This proved to be a politically turbulent period and consequently the military intervened again in 1976 under the leadership of Admiral Sangad Chaloryu.  The military installed Thanin Kraivichien -- an authoritarian, staunchly anti-communist, and royalist civilian -- in power.  He was deposed one year later by "Young Turk" officers, who put General Kriangsak Chomanand in power.  In 1980, the Young Turks, the "king makers" of those years, replaced him with General Prem Tinsulanonda. 
       The post-1973 years, until the 1992, were marked by a struggle to define the shape of the political contours of the state.  The struggle was won by the King and Prem, who favoured a democratic, constitutional order.  Nonetheless, in 1991, after a decade of parliamentary rule initiated by the King and Prem, the military, led by Suchinda Kraprayoon, stepped onto the political stage once more to topple the civilian government of Chatichai Choonhavan, a former General.  The military, however, was forced to step down when Suchinda had himself named Prime Minister following elections, and this resulted in public protests in May 1992 and a royal intervention by the King.
       What is distinctive about Thai politics is that the political arena was, until the 1970s, characterized by an absence of the phu-noi, the small people or subordinated segments.  Politics was dominated, until 1973, by the phu-yai, the big men -- especially by military strongmen-turned-rulers.  In contrast, in
Burma and Indonesia, the masses were politicized much earlier.  They were courted as early as the 1920s by anti-colonial nationalists.  During the war, moreover, the Japanese encouraged the formation of "revolutionary", "mass-based" nationalist forces which involved the masses or subordinated segments in nationalist, anti-colonial politics.  In Thailand, the masses were more firmly subordinated because there was already established a more or less modernized authoritarian state, the legacy of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), in particular.  In addition, as Thailand was not colonized, there was never an anti-colonial nationalist awakening among the masses.  There was very little reason for kings, the military, strongmen-rulers, bureaucratic elites, or even local notables, to mobilize the masses or otherwise bring them into the political arena. 

       Another characteristic of Thai politics in regard to military intervention, especially, is that, unlike in Burma and Indonesia, the military has occasionally been pushed back into the barracks by popular forces -- in 1973 and again in 1992, as mentioned.  Thailand, furthermore, has experienced a tentative transition to democracy.  As will be discussed, as the 1980s progressed, the business elite gained the ability to influence the state via political parties, elections and Parliament, and thereby gained greater autonomy.  They have further consolidated their position by securing alliances with elements in the military and the bureaucracy.  Although there was an attempt by the military to reassert its dominance in 1991, one could say tentatively that the democratization process has taken hold in Thailand. 


Coups D'etat and the Politics of the State in
Thailand
       The patterns of military intervention in
Thailand and the consequent reorganiz-ation of power affected by the military indicates that Thailand is very different Burma or Indonesia.  As Chai-Anan Samudavanija notes, the pattern of military domination usually begins with a coup and ends with another.[477]  To elaborate, the phenomenon begins with a successful coup, followed by the abrogation of the constitution and Parliament; political parties are banned, and political activity is suspended.  This is followed by the adoption of a new constitution based on parliamentary forms and structures.  But, after a period of "Thai-style" democracy, parliament is abolished by yet another coup, launched to exorcise corruption, save democracy, protect the nation, and so forth. 
       The cycle of coups, military rule (or rule by military strongmen) and "Thai-style" parliamentary rule indicates that for all its energy, the military (or the strongman-ruler) has never been able to close down the political arena completely.  Nor has it, as in
Burma, been able to encapsulate politics within a military-dominant party, or control politics within an ostensibly plural political arena as in Indonesia. 

       The military has had to be content with the capture of the crucial government ministeries or to hold power without assuming full responsibility.[478]  Also, it has had to respect the operational autonomy of the civilian bureaucracy, and share power with societal elites -- after the 1980s, with economic-business elites.  In terms of state-society relations, the military's dominance has been and continues to be constrained by a constellation of civilian bureaucratic and non-bureaucratic elites.  Nonetheless, one might also say that it has also succeeded in maintaining a system of authoritarian rule or, according to Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski, an autocracy.[479]  

       Despite the ideological break with absolutistism in 1932, it is interesting to note that the Revolution did not disrupt the initiatives set in motion by royal reforms, particularly the centralization and concentration of power in the hands of rulers and officials.  This continuity has resulted in the consolidation of a kind of state-society order termed by Riggs and others as a "bureaucratic polity".[480]  What has been "normal-ized", not withstanding the 1932 Revolution, is the entrenchment of armed and unarm-ed bureaucrats in politics.  Military coups and the manipulation of electoral processes have been, as Chai-Anan notes, the primary forms of bureaucratic involvement in politics.[481]  
       The numerous instances of military interventions, fifteen in all, makes the Thai military the most politically energetic of the armed forces examined.[482]  In contrast, there were only three interventions in
Burma, an indirect intervention in 1958, and direct coups in 1962 and 1988, as already discussed.  In Indonesia, after independen-ce, the military did not intervene prior to 1959.  In 1959-1960, as shown, it intervened indirectly in support of Sukarno, who abolished the parliamentary system and established the system of Guided Democracy.  Suharto's action in 1965 was more a reaction to an attempted coup by a radical-leftist military faction, than an attempt to topple the existing regime. 

       The frequency of coups has created an impression that Thailand is a Hunting-tonian praetorian state.  However, except during coups, Thai soldiers have been largely confined to the barracks.  They have not, in contrast to Burma and Indonesia, figured prominently in the administrative machinery of the state.  In this respect, the Thai military, despite its many incursions into politics, is a much more professional-ized body. 

       The greater complexity of military intrusion in Thai politics, compared to Burma and Indonesia, raises some questions about the discussion in the opening chapters concerning the nature and scope of military coups: Are coups in Thailand linked to the politics of the state?  Do they occur because the state is threatened, as observed theoretically?  Does the frequency of military coups in Thailand -- ruled by military strongmen for quite a long time --  mean that the military is quite autonom-ous, vis-à-vis its chief-turned-ruler? 
       Inquiring closely into the dynamics of Thai coups, they seem to fit roughly into four categories:  1) coups geared toward the reorganization of political power to make the state more authoritarian and to establish (or reestablish) military dominance;       2) coups arising from attempts to resolve problems and contradictions arising because of the democratic forms adopted by ruling military strongmen themselves and their unreformed inclinations favoring authoritarian rule;   3) coups aimed at restoring order or "saving" the state from a crisis;   4) coups stemming from factionalism between aspiring military strongmen, or arising from intra-military politics.  These factional struggles usually occur when the personal ruler is suffering a political or physical decline, or alternatively when there is not a military strongman to unify the army or maintain an intra-military balance.  These categories, however, are not exclusive.  Coup plotters are usually motivated by mixed motives.  

       The first category of coups is well illustrated by the 1932 Revolution led by the Promoters.  In theory, its goal was to reorganize political power in a democratic mold. Indeed, the regime attempted to present itself as effectuating a transfer of power from the king to the "people".  In actuality, however, it resulted in the transfer of the monarch's power to non-royal military rulers: from the king and the aristocracy to the military ruler and civilian bureaucrats.  The following coups may also be included in the first category:  the 1933 Bhahon-Pibul coup which resulted in Pibul's dominance as the strongman; the 1947 Phin-Phao-Sarit coup against Pridi, aimed at restoring authoritarianism and military dominance;  Sangad's coup, with the support of the Young Turks, against Seni in 1976 which restored authoritarian rule under Thanin, a civilian; and the 1991 Suchinda coup against Chatichai which terminated parliament-ary rule and attempted to restore the military's political dominance.  One might also include in this category the Young Turks' coup attempts against Prem in 1981 and 1985. 

       In the second category of coups, strongmen-rulers strike against their own governments.  This type of coup is aimed at circumventing the slow and sometimes difficult semi-democratic processes which the military strongmen have adopted to try to legitimize their rule.  The second type of coup is illustrated by Sarit's coup against his protege Thanom in 1958, and Thanom's coup against his own government in 1971.  Both coups were directed against difficult-to-control parliamentarians. 

       The third category of coups involves the restoration of order or "saving" the state from a crisis or protecting the state during a transition from one order to another.  In this category, one could include Admiral Sangad's coup, with the Young Turks providing the muscles, in 1976.  Sangad's coup followed a period of open, unstable, democratic politics and the massacre of student protesters by Village Scouts and the Border Patrol Police (see below).  In addition, the 1932 "revolution", which entailed a transition from a monarchical to commoner joint civilian-military rule, and the 1933 Bhahol-Pibul coup, which signalled a transition from the provisional regime to a more "permanent" military order, could also be included in this category.

       The fourth type of coup involves intra-military politics and rivalries between aspiring strongmen.  These factional struggles usually, but not always, occur when the military ruler is suffering a political or physical decline or when there is not a military strongman-unifier to maintain a balance between military factions.  The following coups could be included in this category:  the 1951 Navy's "Manhattan" coup against both Pibul and the Phin-Phao-Sarit clique; Sarit's coup in 1957 directed against his rival Phao Sriyanond; and the 1977 Young Turks' coup against Thanin on behalf of Kriangsak.  The 1985 Young Turks, or Colonel Manoon's, coup attempt against Prem might also be included in this category since military leaders -- Serm na Nakorn, Yos Thepasadin, and Kriangsak -- were allegedly involved. 

       With reference to the subordination of the military to its chief-turned-ruler, the Thai case seems to contradict this theoretical observation most of the time.  The evidence, however, indicates that military strongmen, with the exception of Prem, fall -- if they do -- for reasons other than because of a coup against them.   During Sarit's rule and until he died, and that of his co-successors, Thanom and Praphart, there were no coups, except the ones they themselves staged in 1958 and 1971 respectively, as noted above.  The Thanom-Praphart team was not overthrown by a military coup; it was ousted due to a number of non-military, socio-economic and political factors, as will be discussed, and because the King could no longer support them.  General Krit Sivara's refusal to crack down on the protesters also played a significant role.  Pibul had to step down in 1944 because he had supported the Japanese, but he was not over-thrown by a military coup.  From 1947-57, Pibul was, strictly speaking, not a ruling strongman, but more of a compromise figurehead leader of rival military factions vying for control.  
       Prem (1980-86), was the only strongman-ruler who has had to overcome two coup attempts, both by the Young Turks, in 1981 and 1985.  As a democratizing (non-authoritarian) strongman, he was intent on ending
Thailand's "vicious cycle of coups".  In these instances, the coup attempts were, one might say, the "natural" responses of a powerful military clique not accustomed to being confined to the barracks.  


From King to Commoners: The Modernization of an Autocracy
       Modern
Thailand begins with the reorganization of the state by Rama V (Chulalongkorn, 1868-1910).  The new dynastic state that was established was quite substantively different from the traditional kingdoms, particularly its structural organization.  Traditional Siam was, like precolonial Burma and Indonesia, a non-territorial, uninstitutionalized polity ruled by one man, the king.  The monarch typically encountered manpower shortages and his resources were often depleted by overextending patronage to sub-lords.[483]  When Western pressures on local kingdoms were first being felt in the mid-1700s, Siam was just being liberated from the Burmese, and a new kingdom was being jointly founded by King Taksin (1767-1782) and Phya Chakri (Rama I, 1782-1809), founder of the current (Chakri) dynasty. 

       As Hong Lysa notes, Taksin and Rama I were compelled to stimulate the economy in order to obtain needed resources.  They were aided to a large extent by trade with China and an inflow of Chinese immigrants skilled in commerce, trade, shipping, navigation and other professions.[484]  Because of their dependency on the external environment, the Chakri kings were aware of the powerful forces reshaping their world.  They were particularly alert to the dangers and opportunities extant in the Western desire for trade and commerce.  Unlike the kings in Burma, they recognized the need to open up, adapt, and modernize, and they attempted to reform the country accordingly.[485] 

       The opening of the kingdom had far-reaching consequences.[486]  The reforms achieved what the colonial powers accomplished in Burma and Indonesia:  the integration of the local economy with a global economy dominated by the West.  The Thai polity was consequently exposed to Western influence.  The Bowring Treaty with Britain -- signed by the initiator of the economic reforms, Rama IV (Mongkut, 1851-1868) -- further rationalized trade with the West and deepened the modernizat-ion and commercialization of the Thai economy.[487]  The state structure was later reformed by Rama V (Chulalongkorn).[488]  

       The new state was given what Thongchai Winichakul calls a "geo-body"[489] -- a bounded territory conforming to the European concept of modern statehood.  The new state was defined and guaranteed by Britain and France, and it was restructured to conform to the Western model.  Chulalongkorn, for example, created a Ministry of the Interior which unified the kingdom and centralized administrative functions, and he established a Ministry of Finance to consolidate all revenue functions.[490]  The King also developed a Ministry of Defence and founded a modern armed forces.  In addition, he created Ministries of Justice, Public Works, Education, Post and Telegraph, Agriculture, and the Ministry of the Royal Household and Royal services.  The last two signified a separation of royal affairs from that of the government, a radical departure from tradition.  Thus, Siam became a modern kingdom, not much different in form from modern Western monarchies.  This was not a surprising development since Western advisors -- who "ran the show" as it were -- were hired to establish and operate the bureaucracy.[491] 

       The royal reorganization of the state meant that there was an enlargement of the state as more common people were recruited.  Thus, there arose a new body of hierarchically organized men paid by and dependent on the state, what we might call the state stratum.  Because of its advantaged position and solid organizational struct-ure, the state stratum quickly became the most powerful interest group in the king-dom.[492]  Their only rivals were their masters -- the monarch, princes, and the nobility, who were few in number. 

       Although reforms strengthened the monarchy, there emerged in time signs of elite discontent.  Even as early as 1886, a petition was submitted to the king by some Western-educated princes and officials urging the adoption of a constitution.[493]  There also arose conflicts in elite circles, between high and middle bureaucrats, with the latter feeling that promotions were blocked by the former, who were primarily princes and nobles.[494]  

       The reign of Rama VII (Prajadhipok, 1925-1935) was not a happy one.  His reign fell in the turbulent inter-war years and coincided with the depression.  Faced with diminishing revenues, rising expenditures from the steady expansion of the state and the spectre of national bankruptcy, the king reduced the budget of all ministries, including defence, in 1926 and 1930.  He also imposed a salary tax in 1932.[495]  These measures affected the core interests of bureaucrats who were increasingly frustrated and disenchanted with royal absolutism.  This bureaucratic discontent established the context for the 1932 Revolution.  The manifesto of the Promoters, as the revolution-aries were called, was bold and brave.  It accused kings of treating the people as animals and it asserted that Siam did not belong to "selfish royalty and favorites".  The Promoter's manifesto, moreover, proclaimed that the kingdom should be "govern-ed by the people and for the people".[496]  There was a radical shift in the ideological basis of rule, a shift from kings to commoners.  It seemed that a democratic polity was about to emerge. 

       The revolution, however, was staged by a small group of official insiders.  It did not involve the great mass of the Thai people.  The most prominent figures of the revolution were Pridi, Pibul, Bhahon, Song Suradej, Ritti Arkhane, Prasas Pittaya-yudh, Khuang Aphaiwong and Thawee Bunyaketu.[497]  Hence, although the revolution had all the verbal trappings of a real one, it did not result in an order based on the people as promised.  However, the decision to retain the King as a constitutional monarch, as one who reigns on behalf of the people, had an enduring consequence. 

       Although most revolutionaries establish republics, the Promoters did not.  This was a wise step.  After the revolution, the monarch served as a mediator in the frequent intra-bureaucratic, intra-elite struggles.  The new role of the monarch as the constitutional ruler also had the effect, ironically, of making the monarchy more or less the guarantor of a constitutional order increasingly based on democratic forms.[498]  The monarch's evolving position as a supporter of democratic constitutionalism has made it difficult for any strongman-ruler since Sarit to ignore utilizing some democratic procedures.  On the other hand, the autocratic aspects inherent in the monarchical form of government have also served to legitimize authoritarianism and thus the rule of strongmen. 

       The democratic promises of the Revolution could not be fulfilled for many reasons.  First, the People's Party was really a political club and did not possess organizational depth.  Like political parties in Burma, Indonesia and even today in Thailand, it was an aspirational party.  Second, the Revolution occurred in a dynastic state where politics had never been a public activity.  Democratization entails the opening up of politics to non-elites, and the acceptance of a plurality of political parties and societal associations.  This principle was not a part of the Promoters' worldview.  Third, they became embroiled in intra-elite struggles within the state sphere.  In short, the Promoters represented only themselves and a few followers.  The fact that the political stage was empty and the King was unable or unwilling to resist, made it easy for the Promoters to fill the state's power structures with cronies, clients, and followers. 


From
Siam to Thailand: Pibul and the Consolidation of Modern Nationhood
       It was during the early years of the post-absolutist state that the threat of communism was raised.  For the next five decades, the military used this fear as a handy pretext to intervene in politics. The spectre of communism stemmed from Pridi's socialistic "Economic Development Plan".  He proposed the issue of state bonds in exchange for private property, and the employment by the state of citizens via a nation-wide co-operative scheme.  It ran into stiff opposition and was dropped.  Pridi was subsequently labelled a communist and surpassed by Pibul, his military rival.[499]  Pridi, however, played a major role in drafting
Thailand's first constitution.  Unlike his economic blueprint, the constitution he drafted was conservative.  It established a state-society framework with a parliamentary, but not fully democratic, system:  one half of parliament was to be appointed by the government and the other half was supposed to be elected indirectly.  It was expected that the government appointees to parliament would be leading Promoters. 

       In 1933, Bhahon and Pibul, respectively the commander and deputy command-er of the armed forces, staged a coup, signifying the ascendancy of the military Prom-oters.  Pibul's position was further strengthened when he put down Prince Bowaradet's coup attempt later that year.  Pibul held the real power in the Bhahon regime from behind the scenes.  He assumed de jure power when he was named Prime Minister by the new assembly in the elections of 1938.[500]  With the military as his power base, he proceeded to consolidate his position.  He purged a number of potential rivals, impris-oned real or imagined foes, including several princes, and executed a few suspected plotters.  After 1938, he was so powerful that he was widely regarded as an uncrown-ed monarch.[501] 

       Pibul was very much influenced by ultranationalistic, authoritarian European regimes and Japanese militarism --as were the young military Thakins in Burma.  He strove to emulate the "great leaders" of the time, especially Mussolini and Hitler.[502]  Thus inspired by fascism, he introduced measures to instill a nationalistic, militaristic spirit in the Thai people and to socialize them in the ways of modern nationhood.  In typical nationalist fashion, Pibul changed the name of the country from Siam to Muang Thai or, more formally, Prathet Thai, the land of the Thai, hence Thailand in English.[503]  He also decreed a set of "cultural mandates", the Rath Niyom, which compelled Thais to learn the national anthem, buy domestic goods, eat healthy food, wear hats, and dress in Western garb, among other things.  He employed the mass media and educational system to popularize a new history.  It was filled with prideful ethnonational rhetoric, and tales of great savior-kings, ancient empires, and glorious wars.  This history was plotted by Luang Wichit Wathakan, Pibul's cultural czar and later Sarit's intellectual mentor.[504]  It deliberately emulated contemporary Western history books which aimed to provide the nation with an organic-historical link to its "golden past".[505]  They also promoted tradition, fabricated from obscure folkways, such as the verbal greeting sawasdi, the ramwong songs and dance steps, and a variety of other practices.  Many of these "traditional" national ceremonies are today accepted as authentic[506] -- although, it might be added, many were not invented; they had just fallen into disuse, as had the monarchy until Sarit. 

       Pibul's cultural reforms and nation-building efforts were very successful because signs of it are still evident today.  Indeed, he contributed immensely to the modern national identity.  He inculcated a sense of "Thai-ness".  On the other hand, as Chai-Anan notes, the creation of national identity is, analytically, more than a benign sangchart or "nation-building" exercise.  The ordering of state-society relations -- the relative degree of state autonomy, the distribution of power, and the structure of political relationships -- involves the questions of who defines national identity and how it is defined.  Thus, the creation of a national identity cannot be divorced from the ideological location of the state and the ruling or official stratum.  As Chai-Anan argues, Pibul's nation-building exercise represented a project by military and bureaucratic elites to impose a form of nationhood based on supposed ethno-cultural "qualities" of the Thai "race" and to marginalize the democratic principles and the state-society order promised in the 1932 revolution.[507] 

       Pibul's nation-building strategy made the Thai "race" the centerpiece of the state.  Bureaucratic officials were regarded as the vanguard of the Thai nation-state and they were thus elevated above ordinary citizens.  The nation, state, rulers, and the bureaucracy became merged into a single mystical entity.  This fabricated entity, along with the political-cultural elevation of the state and its leaders, legitimized and normalized the authoritarian order.  Political decision-making became an exclusive prerogative of the national vanguard.[508]  In short, Pibul's national formula, rather than being merely a scheme of a copycat Fuhrer or a statesman-like bestowal of Thai-ness, served to provide the bureaucratic elite, including the military, with a convincing ideology for the exercise of power, however unaccountable.  Politics was once more, to quote Ruth McVey, "relocated in the state sphere, making it the main theatre of politics".[509] 

       Pibul's projection of himself as a warrior-leader of a "martial race" invariably led him to translate his militaristic-nationalistic postures and drum-beating into action.  His first incursion into modern war was in 1941, when he challenged French claims to disputed territory along Thailand's borders with Laos and Cambodia.  France was a good enemy to fight as it had already been trounced by Hitler in Europe, and by the Japanese in Tonkin.  In a treaty brokered by Japan after a four-day Franco-Thai war, Pibul regained some "lost" territories in Cambodia and Laos, in return for financial compensation. 

       Pibul's second military escapade was less fortunate.  As World War II spread to Southeast Asia in December 1941, he allied himself with Japan.  He probably did not have much choice in the matter given the impressive Japanese victories in the region.  The Japanese rewarded his loyalty with more "lost territories" from Malaya and Burma.  Pibul should be credited with sparing Thailand the extensive war damages suffered by neighbouring Burma and Malaysia.  Thailand also avoided the wholesale displacement of its old elites, a fate suffered in Burma and Indonesia.  His alliance with Japan, however, was personally costly.  With Japan's defeat, Pibul and his supporters in the military were displaced, albeit only temporarily.  Meanwhile, the hitherto eclipsed royalists and their conservative allies regained influence in the post-war state. 

       The above indicates that the state in Thailand under Pibul was, with reference to the theoretical discussion, relatively autonomous from society but highly responsive to the dominating personality of Pibul.  Unlike Ne Win in Burma, however, Pibul --and other military rulers -- have had to be sensitive to the quasi-democratic principles associated with the 1932 Revolution while exercising their quite considerable personal power.[510]  There was some space in the "Pibul system" for rigorous politics, at least among elites within the bureaucracy and, to a limited degree, outside the bureaucracy.  Indeed, the system was characterized by considerable competition among elite factions and, as will be discussed, frequent coup attempts.  


The Rollback of Pridi's Incipient Democracy: Pibul's Post-War Order
       Pibul's alliance with
Japan was not popular, even within the ruling circle.  Thai royalists abroad -- notably Seni Pramoj, Thai ambassador in Washington, and Prince Suphasawat in London -- denounced Pibul.[511]  In Thailand, Pridi, who was shunted aside as Regent, was contacted by dissident cabinet members.  Contacts were made by Pridi and his followers with the Kuomintang in Chungking, and the Americans in Washington and Chungking.  In short order, an anti-Japanese, and by implication anti-Pibul, coalition was formed, the Seri Thai or the Free Thai movement.  As the war progressed, the Free Thai movement obtained Allied recognition and aid.  Pridi was joined by Pibul's deputy prime minister, Police-General Adun Decharat.  Pibul was thus isolated.  It then seemed that Pridi loyalists and royalists would hold power in the new post-war order in Thailand. 

       Pibul was ousted by a coalition led by Pridi in 1944 and a new government headed by Khuang Aphaiwong was established.  By the end of the war, the Free Thai were, as Thawee Bunyaketu claimed, able to field a -- more or less "invisible" -- 12,000 man guerrilla force.[512]  The anti-Japanese stand of the Free Thai movement (and assistance given to Allied agents) and the post-war support of the United States allowed Thailand to escape from its war time alliance with Japan relatively unscathed.  After the war, with Seni as Prime Minister and Pridi as the leading light of a new era, it seemed that Pibul was doomed to obscurity, and that a fundamental shift to a democratic and parliamentary framework of governance was at hand.

       The post-war Free Thai civilian rule represented an incipient opening for subordinated forces to participate in politics and the affairs of the state.  Pridi's Free Thai followers were less state-oriented, and many of the post-war politicians were from the northeast region of Isan, who were regarded with some derision by the Bangkok elite.  The years 1944-1947 were, according to Thak Chaloemtiarana, the "apex of civilian rule".[513]  However, democratic development was not considered desirable by the hitherto dominant segments, soldiers and bureaucrats.  The military, as the theoretical analysis would suggest, became increasingly disturbed by the reordering of the traditional political hierarchy.  Soldiers feared that the opening of politics would give rise to disorder, lawlessness, strikes, and protests, and thereby endanger the stability of the state. 

       The move towards democracy and parliamentary rule was particularly vexing to the military leaders who fell with Pibul at the conclusion of the war.  These leaders were known collectively as the "Young Lions".  They played pivotal roles in the authoritarian reorganization of the state and restoration of military dominance.  They were, to name the prominent ones, Phin, Phao Sriyanon, Sarit and his proteges, such as Thanom, Praphart, and Krit.  They, like soldiers in Burma and Indonesia, had no use for the "undignified politics to which constitutionalism gave rise".[514]  They hoped to replace it with a more "dignified" system of politics.  The Young Lions were particularly disturbed by the 1946 Constitution, which provided for an elected House and forbade officials and soldiers from sitting in the legislature.  It also sanctioned the creation of political parties for the first time.  The recognition of political parties amounted to an acceptance of societal autonomy and the legitimacy of opposition, as discussed in the analytical framework.  The Young Lions, furthermore, viewed the subordination of the military to civilian rule as an affront to their self-respect as soldiers.[515]

       While civilian leaders were grappling with the complex tasks of post-war reconstruction and lawlessness resulting from the demobilization of soldiers of Pibul's army and Seri Thai fighters, disgruntled officers plotted coups.  They were aided by an unexpected national trauma -- the death of young Rama VII (King Ananda) in June 1946.  Rama VII died from a gun-shot wound but it was not clear if the King had been murdered or had committed suicide.  Pridi, who became prime minister after the 1946 election, was unable to solve the mystery -- although eight years later, three of the King's servants were executed for his death.[516]  Pridi's reputation as a communist did not help, and he resigned amidst charges of regicide.[517]   The Young Lions were furth-er aided by the nature of democratic politics.  Strikes and public protests supported their contention that democracy produced instability and placed the state at risk. 

       In November 1947, the military staged a coup, led by Phin, Phao and Sarit.  The coup ended the short interlude of democracy and spelled the beginning of over two decades of military dominance.  The coup-makers announced that they stood for "Nation, Religion and King."  They claimed to have acted only to uphold military honour, solve the assassination of the king, and rid the country of corruption and communism.  Pibul, who escaped being imprisoned as a war criminal because of Pridi's refusal to humble a fellow Promoter, was installed as Prime Minister by the coup leaders.  Pibul was this time not the "Great Leader", but a ruler squeezed between powerful rivals, namely Sarit and Phao.  His position, however, was enhanced when the United States accepted him as a staunch anti-communist leader. 

       Despite his collaboration with Japan, Pibul gained considerable leverage in the post-war, bi-polar world.  The late 1940s was a time when the United States was worried about communist expansion.  Communist-inspired revolutions in emergent states were viewed by the Americans as threats to the "free world".  Communist revolutions in China, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines raised fears that the Soviets might break through the Western line of containment in Southeast Asia.  They also feared that once one country in the region fell to communism others would follow.  This is the well-known "domino theory" believed by American foreign policy experts in the 1950s.  The prescribed antidote to the communist movement was to strengthen "free" nations by identifying with fiercely anti-Communist leaders and helping them accomplish the tasks of state and nation-building.[518] 

       Pibul's friendly relations with the United States endeared him to the Thai military, which desired American armaments.  However, as seen from the Navy's 1951 "Manhattan" coup attempt, his indispensability was not total.  While Pibul was being held hostage on the ship "Sri Ayuthia", Sarit and Phao ordered the ship bombed.  Pibul swam to safety, but the trauma may have caused him to seek a new constituency by espousing democracy in 1955.  Pibul's democratization experiment, however, did not go as well as expected.  His encouragement of free speech, as a move toward democratic politics, not only resulted in attacks on Phao's terror tactics, but on him as well.  For example, there were allegations that he won the election in February 1957 by fraud.  Moreover, Members of Parliament, despite being dependent on Pibul, Phao, and Sarit, became more assertive.  When university students protested, Pibul declared an emergency.  However, Sarit, the appointed keeper of the peace, used this opportunity to polish his image as a just leader and boost his popularity.  Instead of suppressing the students, he allowed them to march peacefully.

       In addition to the election scandal, there were others:  the Phin faction was allegedly involved in a one-billion baht timber concession linked to the Bhumipol Dam project; the government was accused of covering-up a serious drought in the Isan region by attempting to bribe Isan MPs with 53 million baht; and there were articles criticizing the monarchy in a newspaper financed by Phao.  The public was disillusioned by the arbitrary use of power displayed by the governing elite, the unfettered competition for the spoils of office, and their constant obsession with money.  In September, Sarit resigned as the Defence Minister and disassociated himself completely from Pibul and his regime.  Sarit was thus astutely positioning himself to assume office by exploiting the public disenchantment with the political system.

       The above analysis indicates that military's incursion into politics in 1947 was, as suggested in the theoretical discussion, propelled, as in Burma and Indonesia, by the military's perception that disorderly elements and forces (usually portrayed as communist), were endangering the stability of the state.  This perception was height-ened by the suspicious death of King Ananda.  The incursion of the military was aimed, as suggested in the theoretical framework, at "saving" the state, restoring order, and reestablishing military dominance.


Field Marshal Sarit: The Consolidation of Thai-Style Authoritarianism
       Sarit was a soldiers' soldier but he was also a consummate politician.  Until he was ready to seize power in 1957, he remained in the background, quietly reorganiz-ing the military and making it his personal instrument of power.  The military thus became subordinate to Sarit, the new strongman-ruler.  It remained subordinate, moreover, to Sarit's co-successors, Thanom and Praphart. 

       Sarit was better able to gauge the public mood than his rivals.  He knew what he wanted and he obtained it by manipulating the public's anti-regime sentiments.  He attempted to legitimize his usurpation of office by claiming that he acted on the behest of the media and in the people's interests.  He also claimed to be defending the constitution and democracy from the corrupt phu-yai, the political big men.  Finally, he presented himself as the man best able to stop communism, which he warned endangered the monarchy, Buddhism, and Thai values -- the usual "Nation, Religion, King" formula.  In effect, he echoed the promises of the 1932 Revolution to bolster his position.

       Before he was ready to seize power, Sarit cunningly left the task of restoring public order to Phao, his arch rival and the chief of police.  Phao's support base was the powerful paramilitary police force, whose strength rivalled that of the army, largely as a result of American aid.[519]  Phao was pivotal in the regime's consolidation of power: he destroyed the Seri Thai, eliminated potential rivals, repressed the opposition, and generally struck fear in the populace by police terror.  Hence, Phao reaped popular hatred and scorn, but not Sarit.

       Sarit was adept at exploiting, but also enhancing, the crown.  Soon after coming to power, Sarit obtained a royal appointment as "Defender of the Capital".  In contrast to the 1932 generation, Sarit had genuine respect for the monarchy.[520]  He also correctly assessed that it was, as a fount of legitimacy, an asset rather than a threat.  Sarit created an aura of glamour and romance by associating his rule with the pomp and ceremony of the monarchy.  His task was made easier by the presence of the dynamic young King, Bumiphol Adulyadej, and his vibrant consort, Queen Sirikit.

       After seizing power, Sarit was content to leave the Pibul system of state-society relations in place for a time.  After purging Phao's followers and reorganizing the Navy and Air Force, he left the country for an entire year to receive medical attention abroad.  In his absence, he left the task of ruling the country to his protege, Thanom Kittikachorn.  Thanom, however, proved unable to cope with Parliament, both on the government and opposition sides.  His government, Sarit's clients in particular and the military in general, was in danger of being dislodged from power by Parliament.

       In October 1958, Sarit returned to Thailand and staged a coup against his own government.  His primary objective was to weaken the increasingly assertive Parliam-ent.  He proceeded to reorganize power in a more authoritarian and autocratic mold.  Like Ne Win, he placed the constitution aside, banned all political parties, cracked down on the press and the opposition, and arrested or executed alleged communists and/or sympathizers, which included labor leaders.[521]  Social forces were consequently almost completely suppressed.  In Sarit's new order, like Ne Win's, the political arena was highly circumscribed and power was concentrated in the hands of a strongman, whose support lay primarily in the military.  Sarit held all the major posts of the state -- prime minister, supreme commander, army commander, minister of national development, head of police and fourteen other agencies.[522]  Despite holding dictatorial power, Sarit appreciated the need for the support of civilian bureaucrats.  In this respect, he was much like Suharto.  He obtained their support by respecting their expertise and operational autonomy.  He selected civilian officers to attend the prestigious National Defence College, which raised their morale and created a sense of solidarity among members of the state stratum.[523]

       Sarit was deeply conservative, obsessed with order, neatness, spiritual and physical cleanliness and propriety.  He regarded democracy, with its contending parties and politicians, competing thoughts and conflicting prescriptions, as untidy and dangerous.  His vision of political order was hierarchical.  The nation and govern-ment, chart and ratthaban respectively, were located at the apex of his worldview, followed by the official or Kharatchakan class, and the people, the Prachachon, at the base.[524]  In this paternalistic vision, rulers and officials were like wise parents who, for the sake of order, were obliged to promote the well-being of their children, the people.  This pattern of rule -- the Ramkhamhaeng model -- was based on Luang Wichit's reconstruction of Ramkhamhaeng's kingdom of Sukhothai.  Luang Wichit portrayed the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai as the genesis of Thai culture, uncontaminated by Hindu-Khmer concepts of sacred kingship and the caste-like divisions of the later Ayuthian kingdom.[525]

       Sarit was a true believer of the Ramkhamhaeng ideal.  He toured the country frequently and he became conversant with the concerns of "the people", the phu- noi or the small people.  He strove to alleviate their hardships.  For example, he lowered electricity, water, telephone rates and school tuition fees and he abolished fees for other social services.  He tried to improve public transit and he provided free textbooks and health care.  He ordered the navy to supply consumers with cheap coconuts and he encouraged the development of open-air markets in Bangkok for the benefit of both consumers and producers.  By responding to the immediate needs of the people, he gained an image among the populace as a strict but benevolent father-ruler. 

       Sarit also pledged to eliminate a plethora of socially undesirable elements.  He made it a point to be on the scene of big fires and personally "investigated" their causes.  In consequence, he had five Chinese publicly executed for arson.  His fixation with fires may have stemmed from a personal quirk, but it also successfully portrayed him as a protector-avenger of the people.  In addition to arsonists, Sarit identified a number of groups as undesirable -- hooligans, drug-pushers, addicts, prostitutes, pedicab peddlers, beggars, lepers, unrepentant politicians, supposed Isan separatists, non-conforming intellectuals, critical thinkers or writers, alleged commun-ists, hippies and stray dogs.  Undesirable elements were often arrested and many were dealt with decisively.[526] 

       The success of Sarit's leadership formula can be gauged from the fact that a yearning for a Sarit-like leader still prevails in some quarters.  Sarit is remembered fondly by many people as a firm leader who cared for the phu-noi, despite posthum-ous revelations of his corrupt ways.  After his death, it was learned that he had accum-ulated a fortune of over $20 million, owned shares in forty-five enterprises, possessed vast land-holdings, and maintained a harem of wives.[527]

       The most important contribution Sarit made to Thai politics was, what Thak calls, "a dualistic type of leadership": the King (and the monarchy) was elevated as a sacred embodiment of the nation and its glorious past, while the strongman exercised real power.[528]  As the monarchy remained popular in many segments of Thai society, Sarit's ability to reconcile the monarchy with non-monarchical personal rule provided him with a significant degree of legitimacy.  In this regard, he was much more successful than Pibul.  It was very difficult for the opposition to mobilize the people, especially the peasantry, against a regime identified with the monarchy. 

       The promotion of the monarchy as a unifying symbol situated above politics was a brilliant strategy which allowed Sarit to exercise power as if he were a king.  But the use of the monarchy has also had its disadvantages for would-be strongmen.   Over time, the monarchy has increasingly come to be associated with constitutional rule -- as opposed to military dictatorship.  The notion of a constitutional monarchy, especially the notion that soldiers, including military strongmen, are servants of the crown, subverted the military's claim to a monopoly of power.  This constrained them from pushing aside other servants of the crown, particularly the civilian bureaucrats, and also other subjects of the King.  It may even be argued that the monarchy, paradoxically, kept the quasi-democratic promises of the Revolution alive.  This eventually led to the political eclipse of the military when the monarchy over time accumulated much de facto power and the King became, as will be discussed, the savior of the country at a time of great turmoil and communist victories in adjacent countries to the East. 

       The above account supports the suggestion offered in the theoretical analysis regarding the pivotal role of ruling strongmen in shaping the contours and structures of military-authoritarian regimes.  The centrality of military strongmen will yield -- because of differences in strategy adopted, personal character and agenda, styles -- different kinds of military regimes.  The regimes established by Pibul and Sarit were vastly different.  Although they both accepted and honored the constitutional monarchy, they manipulated it in different ways, just as Sukarno and Suharto worked with the 1945 Constitution in different ways.  Although Pibul ruled as the chief officer of the King, he did not rejuvenate the monarchy, as did Sarit.  However, Pibul's late regard for constitutional principles when he was losing power provided social forces a certain degree of autonomy from the state and consequently a certain ability to influence the state.  In short, the state was somewhat malleable during Pibul's tenure.  This is the crucial feature of the "Pibul system". 

       By contrast, Sarit ignored democratic forms of governance.  His regime was personalistic and dictatorial, perhaps even despotic.[529]  His power base was the official stratum, the kharatchakarn, both armed and unarmed, especially the former.  Sarit projected himself as a father-ruler of the phu-noi, and they consequently revered him.  One might even say that, in many ways, he usurped the role of the monarch.  He could not, however, and did not want to, eliminate the monarchy because he relied upon it to boost his legitimacy and sanction his grip on power.  The pattern of state-society relations that emerged during Sarit's rule was mixed.  On the one hand, his state was highly repressive; social forces were provided no space to articulate their concerns.  In this regard, Sarit's state may be considered highly autonomous from society.  On the other hand, Sarit was also responsive to the needs of the business class and the underprivileged segments of Thai society, albeit it in the most paternalistic manner. 


The 1973 October Revolution and the Fall of the "Sarit System"
       Sarit recognized the value of economic development.  He adopted a two-pronged strategy.  The private sector, foreign and domestic, was entrusted with economic growth along the profit-making route, while the state provided security and the institutional infrastructure.  The first five-year National Economic Plan was adopted in 1961.  The government created the Board of Investment and the Industrial Development Corporation to oversee the development process.  The introduction of the Industrial Investment Promotion Act encouraged and protected investments through tariffs, tax holidays, and lower duties.  In the interest of a stable investment climate, the state prohibited strikes and unions.  The state also provided roads, a national communication network, and educational infrastructures.  Most importantly, it undertook anti-communist rural development projects to enhance security, protect commerce and investment, and to facilitate their expansion beyond
Bangkok.[530] 

       As a result of Sarit's anti-communist development initiatives, Thailand's annual growth rate was about seven percent annually throughout the 1960s.  Rice exports were supplemented by expanding sales of tin, rubber, seafood, canned fruits, tapioca, and other natural resources.  The industrial sector was developed with an import-substitution strategy.[531]  The economy was further boosted by the flow of American military and development aid.  Indeed, the economy benefitted tremendously from American military operations in Vietnam.  Bangkok's entertainment industry flourished with the invasion of dollar-rich American soldiers on leave from the war.[532]  The economy also profited from the political instability and dysfunctional economies of neighbouring countries -- Burma, Laos, and Cambodia.[533]  In short, Thailand was a growth area in the 1960s and 1970s.

       Economic development in Thailand represented a deepening entrenchment of the capitalist market economy.  The spread of capitalism effectuated a wide range of social-economic changes, most especially rapid urbanization, shifting employment patterns, population growth, land pressure in rural areas, and growing income disparities.[534]  These changes were accompanied by cultural changes.  The Thai people -- especially the educated young -- became more assertive and less deferential.  In particular, educated youth, the product of the rapid university expansion in the 1970s, began to question the status-quo and the supposed benevolence of the regime's paternalism.

       After Sarit's death in 1963, his co-successors, Thanom and Praphat, continued ruling with the "Sarit system".  However, the "Sarit system" without Sarit was quite different, as will be shown.  As the theory predicts, it is the strongman-ruler, rather than the system, which is pivotal.  In 1968, the constitution earlier promised by Sarit was finally promulgated.  An election was held and won by the regime-sponsored UTPP (United Thai People's Party).  Thanom was selected as the non-elected Prime Minister, as allowed by the new Constitution.  The new constitution signalled a return to the "Pibul system".  However, as in 1957-1958 when he ruled temporarily, Thanom again proved unable to manage his own MPs.  Thus, in 1971, he staged a coup against himself.  He immediately dissolved Parliament and banned political parties.  In short, he re-established the "Sarit system". 

       The Sarit system, however, no longer "met the needs of the present, and certainly did not promise to meet those of the future".[535]  Economic development had changed the socio-economic landscape.  The inflexible political structure of Thanom’s regime, like Ne Win's rigid BSPP structure, only fueled resentment.  The middle classes, which had attained a comfortable lifestyle in the new economy, were particularly disenchanted.  Educated youth, in addition, were increasingly troubled by dismal employment prospects.  They also became skeptical of the "Nation, Religion, and King" formula that the regime continued to propagate.  Youth disenchantment with the regime in Thailand paralleled the disillusionment felt by their counterparts in neighbouring Burma with state socialism.

       At the same time, conservative elites became concerned with the prospect of an indefinite power monopoly by the Thanom-Praphat clique.  The grooming of Thanom's son, Narong, as successor, was seen as a possible non-royal dynasty in formation.  This prospect was regarded as a presumptuous challenge to the monarchy.  Military men were also alienated by the Narong factor.  They believed that their careers were being blocked by Narong's ambitions and the rise of his clique.[536]  Thanom's regime was unable to manage these contending factors.  The regime began to unravel in October 1973 when the left-leaning and quite radical National Students Centre of Thailand (NSCT) organized protests against despotic rule.  The students demanded the termination of military rule and insisted upon the adoption of a democratic constitution.  In short, they called for the fulfillment of the ideals of the 1932 Revolution. 

       The student's protest precipitated a violent confrontation with the regime.  Much blood was shed but the violence was mercifully cut short when King, in effect, exiled the tyrants.[537]  Thanom's fate was sealed when Krit Sivara and Prasert Ruchira-wong, the commander of the army and the chief of police respectively, refused to repress the protests.  After the crisis, the King appointed Sanya Thammasak, a former supreme court justice, as interim Prime Minister.

       The above account highlights the themes discussed in the theoretical chapters concerning the possible outcomes of protracted military-authoritarian rule.  When the state becomes too autonomous from society, it may become less able to resolve the challenges posed by economic change.  The emergence of new social groups resulting from economic development may place new demands on the state that the regime is unable to meet.  Over time, furthermore, intra-elite tensions and rivalries may develop.  Thanom and Praphart were not unifiers as Sarit had been, and the military was increasingly divided. 
       The analysis here shows that the Thanom regime was unable to accommodate the demands of middle class students.  Conservative elites and military factions were alienated by the Narong factor.  In short, the Thanom regime was unable to maintain its ruling coalition nor coopt new social groups.  The regime thus collapsed. 


Thailand in 1973-1976: The Intrusion of Society into Politics
       The three years after the fall of the Thanom-Praphart regime were turbulent years.  They were marked by the "intrusion" of long suppressed, newly politicized subordinated forces -- peasants, urban labour, and students -- into politics.  This democratic interlude began when the King appointed a National Convention to function as an interim governing assembly.  In 1974, a new constitution was adopted by the interim National Assembly,[538] and an election contested by 42 parties was held a year later.[539]  Seni's Democrats won the most seats but he was unable to form a stable coalition.  Instead, a coalition headed by Seni's brother, Kukrit Pramoj and his Social Action Party (SAP), was formed.  He skilfully managed to maintain order in an increasingly polarized society. 

       After 1973, the military was, as Chai-anan observed, like a firm without "its president and executive vice-president".[540]  It was divided into factions:  the Krit faction; the Air Force-Navy faction of Admiral Sangad (and Air Chief Marshals Dawee Chulasap and Kamol Dechatunga); Thanom-Praphat loyalists led by Yos Thephasdin; and the Supreme Command faction of Kriangsak and Saiyud Kerdpol.  The military, however, was in disrepute after years of corrupt rule and it now found itself excluded from politics.  It was in no position, especially with the reduced American presence after the withdrawal from Vietnam, to assert its dominance openly. 

       The task of maintaining order fell on the shoulders of the monarchy -- in particular -- and royalist leaders, the civilian bureaucracy, especially the Ministry of the Interior, the police and special military-security agencies.  All of these agencies were linked to various palace factions.  The realignment of global forces in the region complicated the task of maintaining order.  After the Americans lost the war in Vietnam, Thai conservatives feared that communism would triumph throughout the region.  Conservative fears were heightened when the King of Laos was forced to abdicate and was imprisoned and slain by communist leaders.  They were convinced that Thailand would be the next domino to fall to communism.  As these fears were raised, the Thai economy worsened.  American aid fell from $39 million in 1973 to $17 million in 1975.  The withdrawal of American troops stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam war also adversely affected the economy.[541]  The global oil crisis further hurt the Thai economy.  The economic recession precipitated a drop in foreign investment and capital outflow.[542]  Conservative royalists, the military, and bureaucrat-ic and business elites blamed student radicals, labour unions, peasants, and democratic politics for the economic downturn. 

       In the aftermath of the toppling of the "Sarit system", the hitherto subordinated forces took advantage of their entrance in to the political system to press their demands.  The subordinated forces were led, or encouraged, by university students, especially the NSCT.  Student activists were iconoclastic, and sceptical of the prevailing "truths" imposed upon Thai society by the ruling elite.  They were inspired by ideals of a society free of exploitation and corruption,[543] and embraced the thoughts of Jit Phumisak, an early Thai Marxist.[544]  They were pivotal in enlarging access to the political arena to previously excluded groups. 
       Consequently, labour unions organized frequent, and often violent, strikes to improve wages and working conditions.[545]  Kukrit consequently enacted laws to protect labour and he increased the daily wage rate.[546]  The peasantry also began to organize and defend their interests against local officials, moneylenders, landlords, and the Bangkok-centric policies.  They formed the first nation-wide peasant organization, the Farmer's Federation of Thailand (FFT).  Kukrit responded to their demonstrations and petitions by implementing various rural reform laws.  Rural elites were naturally highly alarmed by the emergence of peasant activism.[547] 

       With the military sidelined and discredited, the monarchy was forced to become in active political player in the political arena.  The monarchy's main concern during those uncertain years was to prevent the rise of communism.  Its most crucial task was to win over the middle classes and the peasant masses.  This was vital in view of the challenge posed to the state by the emergence of radical student and peasant organizations.[548]  In those precarious years, the King and Queen toured the country widely to touch base with the peasants.  The King also worked closely with the civilian bureaucracy and the less visible agencies of the armed forces, especially the Internal Security Operations Center (ISOC) and the BPP (Border Patrol Police, a paramilitary police force), and made effective use of military-owned radio and television stations.  The King consequently succeeded in rallying the "patriotic silent-majority". 

       The royal palace, furthermore, sponsored or sanctioned the formation of right-wing mass organizations dedicated to the defense of "Nation, Religion, and King."  These organizations included the Nawaphon, the Red Gaur, and the Village Scouts.[549]  The Village Scouts were the most important of these organizations.  Its role was to mobilize the peasant masses in support of the state -- or as put to the peasants, in defence of the monarchy.  Village Scouts units were organized and supervised by the Ministry of Interior, and led by village headmen, the rural elites, and rural school teachers.  The organization was unabashedly nationalist.  It promoted Thai culture, and endeavoured to eliminate foreign communist influences.  Most notably, it warned of the dangers of Chinese-Vietnamese-Khmer communism and other treasonous lackeys or nak-phendin, i.e., "those uselessly weighing down the earth".[550]

       The upper segments of society, with much to lose from the political intrusion of subordinated forces and the strengthening of the left, rallied around the King and the "Nation, Religion and King" formula.  Under royal leadership, military and bureaucratic elites orchestrated a mass mobilization campaign to win back the populace.  Their campaign relied upon jingoistic, anti-communist slogans which, as noted above, portrayed students and other activists as communist dupes and anti-monarchical (and hence, anti-Thai). 

       The mobilization of society by elites and counter-elites gave rise to a highly polarized political environment.  This political polarization, coupled with sporadic violence, provided the military another opportunity to intervene in the political system.  In January 1976, Krit, the leader of the dominant military faction, demanded that Kukrit call new elections.  Kukrit capitulated and after the elections, Seni formed a new government with Krit as the Minister of Defense.  Krit appeared to be position-ed as the emergent strongman, but he unexpectedly died.  In October of 1976, Seni was deposed by Admiral Sangad Chaloryu after a bloodbath at Thammasat University precipitated by Thanom's return from exile.

       Seni had been placed in an untenable situation by Thanom's return.  On the one hand, the King had granted Thanom, now a Buddhist monk, royal refuge.  On the other hand, however, student activists demanded his immediate expulsion.  The students organized a protest at Thammasat University.  It was alleged that the students were communists or communist dupes, and some of the top leaders were Marxists.  The tension was exacerbated when pictures portraying a young man dangling on a noose -- whose features quite closely resembled the Crown Prince -- appeared on the front pages of almost all the newspapers.[551]  For the conservatives, especially Village Scouts contingents (selected from units from all over the country) which had encamped outside the campus, this was the last straw.  Led by Border Patrol Police detachments, they stormed into the campus, and brutally attacked the students gathered there.[552]  At that point, Admiral Sangad moved to restore order.  Seni was deposed, and Thanin Kraivichien, an ultra-conservative royalist, was installed as Prime Minister.[553]  The intrusion of subordinated segments into politics thus came to an abrupt end. 

       The above analysis demonstrates that the collapse of the Thanom-Praphart order in 1973 was quite different from the regime changes in Burma in 1988 and Indonesia in 1965.  As discussed, Ne Win and Suharto were in control of their respective armed forces, the former from behind the scenes.  This enabled the military to restore authoritarian rule quickly, albeit with much blood and violence.  In Thai-land, the military did not have a strong leader after 1973.  The task of maintaining political order fell on the shoulders of the King and Kukrit, supported by civilian officials and conservative elements, after the collapse of the "Sarit system". 

       The military intervention in 1976 was an attempt to restore order and authoritarian rule.  However, the 1976 coup was supported by radical Young Turks, who, as field grade officers, were not part of upper echelon of the military hierarchy.  Because they did not control the armed forces, they were unable to re-establish the military's political dominance, nor re-establish the "Sarit system" -- as suggested in the theoretical analysis.  The best they could do was play the role of "king-makers", as will be shown below. 


The Politics of Transition in the 1980s: The Monarchy, Prem, and the Young Turks
       Thanin Kraivichien, who the military installed in power in 1976 -- and who was the King's choice -- proved to be a disaster.  He was a fanatical cold-war warrior, obsessed by perceived communist threats.  He cracked down on peasant and labour leaders and anybody else who looked like a communist.  Thanin's approach  intended to generate more American aid, frightened domestic and foreign investors.[554]  Even the conservative elite became uneasy with Thanin,[555] who seemed to be relying too heavily on the departed Americans, who had by this time become disillusioned with fighting a land war in
Asia. 

       In March 1977, Chalard Hiransiri attempted to topple Thanin, and remove Admiral Sangad's faction from the dominance it enjoyed.  Chalard's failure, however, did not deter others who were disillusioned with Thanin.  The Young Turk officers, who were instrumental in putting Thanin in power in 1976, were now determined to oust him.[556]  They constantly lobbied their military superiors to remove him.  In October 1977, they finally staged their own coup and installed Kriangsak as the new head of government.

       The Young Turk phenomenon represents quite a fundamental change in the power configuration of the Thai military.  After 1973, the balance of power gradually shifted downward to regiment and battalion commanders, while general officers became less powerful.[557]  As Chai-Anan notes, this change was a result of a fragment-ation of power at the apex of the military and the politicization of field grade officers.  The Young Turks, furthermore, were generally impatient and less subservient officers.  They had served in counter-insurgency campaigns and fought in Laos under American special forces.  They were dynamic and tended to play by their own rules, and did not hold their military superiors in high esteem except, ironically, Prem -- eventually their nemesis.  In the words of their leader, Manoon Rupekachorn, the top brass had "allowed themselves to be subservient to the rotten political system just to live happily with benefits handed to them by [corrupt] politicians".[558] 

       The ideology of the Young Turks was quite contradictory, which explains their rude impact on politics.  They shared a purported concern for the underdog.  Their radicalism, however, was subverted by their structural position -- and conviction -- as special guardians of the state.  They believed the state stood above politics and they accepted the sacred Trinity of "Nation, Religion, and King".  They also believed that military intervention in politics was a normal part of their professional duty.  Thus, the politicization of the Young Turks[559] and their perceived duty to enter politics to sweep away corruption, made them a force to be reckoned with in this time of political uncertainty.  They were particularly prominent for about a decade, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s.  They acted more as king-makers and spoilers rather than as rulers.[560]  They were instrumental in putting Thanin, Kriangsak, and Prem in power.  However, they failed to dislodge Prem in 1981 and 1985, when he was perceived as betraying their ideals.  The political role of the Young Turks was complicated by their reverence for the monarchy, and by the fact that Prem was their mentor.[561] 

       Thai politics in the 1980s was dominated by a conflict between the monarch and Prem on one side and the Young Turks on the other side.  The conflict was not so much about basic values -- Nation, Religion, and King -- but about the organization of political power and the methods to bring about political change.  The Young Turks were firmly wedded to the notion of political change via coups, despite their supposed loyalty to the crown.  By contrast, the crown increasingly preferred orderly change by constitutional means.[562]

       In the early years of his reign, though, the King was unable to uphold the constitution or to prevent coups.  He often legitimized coups by recognizing strongmen-rulers after they seized power.  However, by the 1970s, the King and Queen had survived many military strongmen and numerous constitutions.[563]  In the October Uprising of 1973, the King finally had sufficient influence to intervene and resolve the crisis.  The King's interventions in 1973 and 1976 greatly boosted his stature and reinforced the impression that monarch was the nation's saviour. 

       The monarchy also played, as noted, a pivotal role in rallying the state stratum and the socio-economic elite in the years following the collapse of the "Sarit system".  The King skillfully guided Thailand through the turbulent post-Vietnam war era, a time characterized by the rude and noisy entrance of repressed forces onto the political stage.  The King consequently gained immense stature and enormous power, although he usually refrained from exercising it openly.  Thus strengthened, the King was able finally to express his preference for constitutional rule,[564] and to act against military elements that attempted to bring about political change by violence.  For example, the King was able to foil, as will be discussed, an attempted coup against Prem by the Young Turks in 1981 by declaring support for his Prime Minister.

       As mentioned, the monarchy by itself could not always prevent coups or oppose extraconstitutional actions.  The king has had to accept many political actions of the military as fait accompli.  The limitations of the King's power in this respect were evident with Suchinda's coup against Chatichai Choonhavan in 1991, and the toppling of Suchinda's technically constitutional government by extra-constitutional mass action in May 1992.[565]  The monarch's ability to guarantee the constitutional order is also, to a quite large extent, dependent upon the availability of a leader who understands intra-military politics.  Prem, who became prime minister in 1980, was precisely such a man.  Although a military man -- in fact, a defacto military strong-man-- and very soft-spoken and seemingly apolitical, Prem was a superb politician.  He successfully juggled the diverse interests of contending political parties, various parliamentary coalitions, cabinet cliques, and competing military factions during his eight-year tenure as Prime Minister.[566]  He also remained loyal to the crown, which earned him full royal support. 

       It was precisely Prem's skill as a politician which caused the Young Turks to turn against him in 1981.  The Young Turks were disturbed by what they viewed as political instability flourishing under Prem's leadership, especially allegations of government corruption surrounding sugar and oil purchases.[567]  They were also highly displeased by the extension of Prem's tenure as Army Commander (Prem was re-appointed by the King at the request of General Arthit Kamlangek[568]).  They were further angered by the appointment of Sudsai Hasdin to the cabinet -- Sudsai was a personal friend of Prem, the godfather of the ultra-rightist Red Gaur, and regarded by the Young Turks as a corrupt opportunist.  In short, the Young Turks believed that they had been sidelined from the political process. 

       On April Fool's Day 1981, the Young Turks staged a coup with a force strong enough to vanquish any opponent they encountered.  However, the Royal family, with Prem in tow, flew to Korat, leaving the Young Turks in precarious occupation of Bangkok.  The King's departure and his open support for Prem changed the strategic calculus of the coup. The Young Turks could either repudiate the King, and under-mine their image as defenders of the Nation, Religion and King, or they could admit that they had been out manoeuvred.  As the Young Turks contemplated their options, they were dislodged by a bloodless counter-coup, launched from Korat by Arthit with the support of Suchinda's Class Five Group.[569]  

       The above account lends strong credence to the theoretical observation which holds that military intervention will be unsuccessful in the absence of political cohesion forged by a military strongman-unifier.  The Young Turks were the most dominant, most cohesive, and most dynamic military faction to arise, and for a while were able to "enthrone" the leader of their choice in the seat of power.  But they were unable to reorganize power as the military in the past had been able to do.  The difference was that the military under authoritarian leaders, such as Pibul and Sarit, was unified.  The man chosen by the Young Turks, Prem, as their mentor and leader, proved, however, to be a different kind of strongman -- as will be shown below. 


Prem and the Politics of Military Factionalism
       Prem regained power after the counter-coup, but the military continued to believe it had a duty to assume the reins of political power to protect the nation in times of crisis.  The military's political views are contained in orders No.65/2523 (1980) and No.66/2523 (1982).[570]  The line drawn in the West between civilians and soldiers was viewed as artificial.  As in
Indonesia, the Thai military viewed themselves as being of the people.  They therefore believed that military intervention was proper.  Indeed, they contended that military involvement in politics was part of the march toward perfect Thai-style democracy and socioeconomic justice.  As the military had been engaged for decades in coup politics and in various development-security projects, its claim to a special place in politics was not all that extra-ordinary.[571] 

       The defeat of the Young Turks in 1981 was not interpreted by the military as a significant watershed in state-military relations.  Instead, it was understood by Suchinda's Class 5 group in a conventional manner.  They viewed it as an opportunity to fill positions vacated by the Young Turks.  Indeed, after saving the regime, they believed it was their turn to shape politics.  Suchinda's group, unlike the Young Turks, were conventional soldiers and they cultivated linkages with the phu-yai.  By 1984, its members controlled all key divisions, while some served in the upper echelon of the state apparatus, for example, as top aides in the Prime Minister's Office and the ministries of interior and defence.  In short order, the Suchinda group became indispensable to the top military brass, especially Prem and Arthit, but also to Chaovalit Yongchaiyuth and Pichit Kullavanij. 

       In addition to having to deal with the "Young Turks", Prem also had to maintain control over the military as a whole.  Prem's tenure was made more difficult by the rise of Arthit, the hero of the 1981 counterattack against the Young Turks.  By 1983, Arthit was Army Commander and concurrently Supreme Commander.  Sarit and Thanom were the only men who had previously held both positions concurrent-ly.[572]  For Arthit, a soldier of humble background, this was a remarkable achievement.  Many people expected that Arthit, a strongman-in-the-wing, would become the next prime minister.  There was wide speculation that Arthit was being groomed for such a role by a palace faction.  This impression was reinforced by his daily television appearances, often with members of the royal family.[573]  Arthit was not the only big man lurking in the wings.  Prem also had to contend with veteran leaders Kukrit, Chatichai, Kriangsak, and Parmarn Adireksan, among others.  While he was fending off potential rivals, Prem also had to manage the normal political instability generated by squabbling parliamentarians and politicking cabinet ministers.  Severe economic problems were also emerging, such as a chronic government deficit, a balance of payment problem, falling commodity prices, sluggish investment, and a global economic downturn.

       In September 1985, Prem was challenged by a coup attempt by Manoon Rupekachorn, a cashiered colonel and a leader of the Young Turks.  Manoon timed the coup superbly:  Prem was on a visit to Indonesia, Arthit was in Europe, and the Royal family was touring in the south.  The coup attempt was extraordinary in that it was led by an ex-colonel.  Manoon was easily defeated by Suchinda's group after a short battle.[574]  This coup is interesting, however, because it highlights the complexity of military politics.  The details of the coup were not satisfactorily clarified in the subsequent trial of the alleged plotters which included former Prime Minister Kriangsak, former Supreme Commander Serm Na Nakorn, and the Air Force Chief Praphan Dhupatemiya.  None of the key plotters was sentenced and all the defendants, including Manoon, in quite typical fashion, were granted parliamentary amnesty by the Chatichai government in 1988.[575]

       The Manoon coup is thus, like Indonesia's Gestapu, still shrouded in mystery.  In particular, there is the question of how Manoon, who was cashiered in 1981 and was exiled abroad until the coup attempt, was able to carry out a complex military operation.  The involvement of Ekkayudh Anchanbutr, a wealthy businessman, remains intriguing.  Ekkayudh operated a five billion baht pyramid scheme, along with Mae Chamoi, properly known as Chamoi Thipso, the wife of an Air Force officer.  The beneficiaries of this scheme were mainly military officials and their families, including the alleged coup plotters.[576]  Mae Chamoi enjoyed the support of top military officers, including Arthit, members of the royal entourage,[577] and Kittivutho Bhikku, a powerful ultra-rightist monk.[578]  One month before the coup, the government moved to ban the pyramid scheme established by Ekkayudh and Chamoi.  The latter was formally charged with fraud.  Although no link has been established between actions of Mae Chamoi and Manoon's coup, it must be noted that the government's crackdown on the pyramid scheme angered many members of the military and left them feeling ill-disposed towards Prem.[579]

       Prem displayed an uncanny ability to foil the military and to prevent soldiers from assuming power.  He also managed to govern without employing the military to solve problems (although his government included some appointed military and civilian members).  Prem proved to be a particularly skilled player of intra-military politics.  Although he owed his position initially to the Young Turks, he subsequently cultivated close ties with their main rivals, Suchinda's Class 5 group, and he also successfully controlled Arthit's ambition to become the next Prime Minister. 
       Prem deftly played these three factions against one another.  For example, the coup attempt by the Young Turks in 1981 was foiled by Arthit and Suchinda's group.  Prem also pitted Chaovalit (a Prem loyalist and later, mentor of Suchinda's group) against Pichit (a staunch Arthit supporter).  Arthit's bid to extend his tenure as army commander for the second time, which Prem was reluctant to grant, was opposed by his former allies, the Suchinda group, and in 1986, with Chaovalit's and Suchinda's support, Prem dismissed the increasingly ambitious Arthit.[580] 
       Prem's mastery of intra-military politics was such that he was able to keep the military in the barracks and control their political ambitions.[581]  He must therefore be credited for laying the groundwork to end the Thai political tradition of alternating unstable parliamentary rule with authoritarian military rule.  However, he received little reward for his accomplishment.  Instead, his tolerance for the vicissitudes of parliamentary politics and his willingness to negotiate political solutions -- his democratic orientation -- earned him the reputation of being indecisive, dull, and weak. 

       Political developments in Thailand after 1973 shed much light on the dynamics of intra-military politics and the politics of democratization.  The analysis shows that when the military was divided, it was unable to intervene in politics successfully.  Moreover, the fact that Prem did not use the military as a political instrument to accomplish his objectives, diminished the military's dominance.  Indeed, his refusal to use the military to reorder politics in an authoritarian direction may be considered the decisive variable in removing the military as an effective force in politics.  In short, Prem's relative autonomy served to reduce the hegemony of the military.

       In the Thai case, the reorganization of political power in a democratic direction was accomplished by two actors with different but complementary political resources.  Prem, on the one hand, had the ability to manipulate and control various political factions in the military.  On the other hand, the King, who worked closely with Prem, provided the source of legitimacy.  His distaste for coups and a general preference for parliamentary politics, coupled with Prem's ingenuity, increased their autonomy from the military.  This enabled the King and Prem to foil the military's attempt to re-assert itself and reorganize political power in an authoritarian direction. 

       As shown this far, the trajectory of politics in Thailand -- and, correspondingly, its state-society configuration -- took a very different path from that in Burma and Thailand, despite its experience of frequent coups.  At this point, the unique variables of the Thai case should be stated.  The monarchy is obviously the most salient feature.  It is an institution which is of the state, but which neither the military nor its strongmen can effectively dominate after they seize power.  The monarchy thus has a certain degree of inherent autonomy.  Although the Thai King has not always been able to exercise his autonomy, the balance of power has turned in his favor over time.  Having outlasted various military strongmen, his autonomy has increased.  With enhanced autonomy, the King has been able to reorganize politics in his preferred direction, towards constitutional democracy. 


The Military and "Soft" Democracy: Suchinda's Coup and Aftermath
       Prem retired in 1988 following elections, and was succeeded by Chatichai, leader of the Chart Thai party, as head of a coalition government.  The military, it seemed, was willing, as Yos Santasombat notes, to leave the field of politics to "professional politicians".[582]  Many politicians were businessmen linked to a complicated web of patrons and clients inside and outside the state structures.  A number of politicians were involved in shady business deals.  Indeed, prominent members of Chatichai's cabinet were tycoon financiers who were tainted with scandals.  In fact, his cabinet was frequently referred to as the "buffet cabinet", for "browsing on the tastier parts of the economy".[583]  For example, the minister of the interior, Banharn Silpaarcha, was accused of conducting shady deals in connection with the skytrain mass transit project in
Bangkok.[584]  The allegations, however, did not hamper Banharn's career; he served as prime minister from 1995-1996.  Montri Pongpanich was allegedly involved in irregularities regarding a $7.5 billion telephone project, and Sanan Kachornprasat became embroiled in a logging scandal.[585]  Most of these politicians are still prominent in politics.  Indeed, some are currently ministers in Chaovalit's cabinet.[586]

       Chatichai's free-market policies were appreciated by big business and industry, but long-term issues were ignored, however.  Education and health services were not improved.  Problems related to land tenure, rural dislocation, and environmental degradation were allowed to accumulate.  Industrial pollution, chaotic traffic, floods, and overcrowding in Bangkok were similarly neglected.  Chatichai's relationship with the military was also unstable.[587]  In February 1991, when Arthit, who the Suchinda's group had helped oust from command in 1986, was given the defence portfolio,[588] the military, led by Suchinda, once more entered the political arena.  Suchinda claimed that he acted to bring an end to the rampant corruption of civilian politicians.

       The public, tired of political corruption, welcomed the coup, but Suchinda's position was evidently not very strong.  For one thing, there was some doubt about Suchinda's standing with the King.[589]  The coup leaders felt compelled, with the King's urging, to appoint a civilian prime minister, Anand Panyarachun, who was adamant that soldiers not be involved in politics.  Anand also vetoed a request for a large arms purchase, and ensured that fresh elections were held in 1992 as promised.[590]

       Suchinda's downfall came soon after the 1992 elections.  After promising that he would never accept the prime ministership, he did so on being nominated by a pro-military parliamentary coalition.  Suchinda's acceptance violated the broad consensus established following Prem's tenure that a Prime Minister should be elected.  Although Suchinda was appointed by Parliament, it did not sit well with the public, especially in Bangkok.  Suchinda's public credibility was further eroded when he appointed eleven ministers from the corrupt Chatichai cabinet to his own cabinet.  Some of these men -- Banharn Silpaarcha, Montri Pongpanich, and Sanoh Tientong, for example -- were already under investigation for corruption.[591]  Worse still, the top military posts were monopolized by Suchinda's Class 5 cronies.  He even appointed his brother-in-law, Issarapong Noonpakdee, as the Chief of the Army. 

       Suchinda seemed to be undoing the democratization process previously initiated by Prem and the King.  Anti-Suchinda forces soon coalesced and widespread protests broke out in May 1992.  The protests gathered strength when the former governor of Bangkok, Chamlong Srimuang, a former Young Turk -- a faction which Suchinda's group had displaced -- staged a hunger strike.  Suchinda responded with harsh repression, which was captured on video and seen worldwide.  This action was condemned globally, and the King intervened to remove Suchinda from power. 

       The military's intrusion into politics under Suchinda's incompetent leadership was a disaster.  The military was further humiliated by Anand during his second stint as caretaking Prime Minister in 1992-93.  He swiftly dropped the four top Class 5 leaders from their positions.[592]  The military's acceptance of Anand's appointment by the King also suggests the military may have finally realized that the King is opposed to its participation in politics.[593]  Also, the fact that the public accepted the King's choice of a non-MP, Anand -- after mass demonstrations against a non-elected Prime Minister -- shows the credibility and esteem accorded to the King, and indicates the extent to which the King has become a pivotal political force. 

       Thailand has clearly experienced, unlike Burma and Indonesia, a substantive re-alignment of political power.  It is likely that the foundation of democratic politics, laid by the King, with assistance from Prem and Anand, will grow stronger.  With the monarchy actively involved in promoting democratic constitutionalism, it will be difficult for the military to dominate politics.  If the military wishes to regain full political control, it will probably need to stage a republican revolution, or at the very least wait for the passage of the present King from the scene.[594] 
       The King has now truly become a "father-of-the-nation" figure and, for most Thais, stands as a sacred symbol of the Thai state and nationhood.  He has become a force with whom almost all groups and actors in society -- the military, the bureaucracy, political parties and their respective leaders, social leaders, business-financial elites, religious figures and leaders, peasants, students, even reformers -- are linked.  He represents, and tries to speak for, all Thais.  In this respect, one might say that the King has gained a position of pre-eminence to which all military strongmen everywhere aspire, but rarely attain.  In an ironic way, the decision of the "revolution-ary" Promoters in 1932 to retain the monarchy as a powerless, legitimating device, and Sarit's rejuvenation of the institution in the late 1950s and early 1960s, has served to undermine the system of rule by military strongmen, and military-authoritarianism, the subject of this study.  Unless the King for some reason wants it (for example, to save the monarchy from a republician reformer), it is now very unlikely that another strongman  like Sarit or Pibul, or the kind of system which they employed, will emerge again in
Thailand.  


The Consolidation of "Thai Democracy" and the Politics of Business Elites
       It seems that a state-society order based on democratic electoral politics has been stabilized in the 1990s, as can be seen from the constitutional, albeit frequent, changes of government.  A coalition led by Chuan Leekpai and the Democrats governed without much disturbance from the military, until it was replaced, via an election in 1995, by a new coalition headed by Banharn's Chart Thai.  The Banharn government was replaced after an election in 1996 by a coalition headed by Chaovalit, a former military chief, and his New Aspiration Party (NAP). 

       Although the ghost of military intrusion has possibly been put to rest, the expectations of further democratization engendered by the May 1992 "people's power" uprising have not been fulfilled, in the opinion of Kusuma Snitwongse.[595]  Chai-Anan even argues that the victory of the middle class over the military cannot be interpreted as a fundamental break with authoritarianism.  Rather, the realignment of politics in a more open democratic mold represents a compromise between the military-civilian components of the state, on the one hand, and top elements of the capital-holding elites, on the other hand.[596]

       Benedict Anderson's thoughts on "Thai democracy" are illuminating.[597]  He argues that Thai democracy is a system that mostly serves the interest of "the all ambitious, prosperous and self-confident bourgeoisies".[598]  Electoral politics "maximizes their power and minimizes that of their competitors" and best protects their interests against both the state and popular forces.  Moreover, the democratic system gives provincial businessmen the opportunity" to short circuit the Ministry of the Interior's powerful, territorially-based hierarchy" by becoming MPs and ministers.[599]   Finally, since the most crucial resource in democratic politics is money, a commodity that the capital-holding elites hold in abundance, they can hope to buy political power. 

       Thai politics has become a politics of spoils, with political entrepreneurs jockeying for power and for the benefits that accrue from the control of ministries and state projects.  Political reforms have been blocked by deeply entrenched bureaucratic forces.[600]  Indeed, the bureaucratic elite has forged profitable linkages with the business community.  A new, and potentially insidious, governing arrangement seems to have developed.  The business elite, which controls the Thai economy, now dominates the open political institutions, parties and Parliament, and this elite rewards its allies in the bureaucracy from private payrolls.[601]  Politics has become, as Sulak Sivaraksa, a veteran human rights leader and long-time democrat, puts it, kanmuang turakij, which means roughly "politics for businessmen, by businessmen",[602] which may be an exaggeration, but not too far from the truth either. 
       The picture of state autonomy in
Thailand is more complex.  The state, on one hand, appears to be highly malleable by one part of Thai society -- the bureaucratic-social-business elite groups.  But on the other hand, it is essentially unresponsive to, and still insulated from ordinary citizens and their interests and concerns in many ways.  The success of Thai democratization will depend on the degree to which political power is devolved downwards, into the hands of ordinary citizens.  More importantly, it will depend to a large extent on the degree to which the state can be insulated from the private preferences and agendas of power-holders, bureaucrats, and the economic elites and their patronage networks. 
       Many people in
Thailand fear that there is a growing gap between politicians and the public.  Politicians are increasingly seen as uninterested in resolving problems that adversely affect the lives of ordinary citizens.  The public now believes that the political system affords them little protection from the dominant economic interests and they are afraid of the new criminal elements linked to the political power-brokers.[603]  The Thai experience suggests that democratization is more complex than simply evicting soldiers from public office.  While Thailand is further away from military-authoritarian rule than either Burma or Indonesia, the waning of military dominance is, one might theoretically surmise, only the first step on the long road towards democracy.[604] 



CHAPTER SIX

CONCLUSION: THE MILITARY AND THE POLITICS OF AUTHORITARIAN DOMINATION


The Diversity and Complexity of Military Intervention and Authoritarian Regimes  
       Soldiers in Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand have participated in politics and related processes in roles that are "normally" associated with politicians and political parties.  The armed forces, by being deeply involved in politics and the socio-economic affairs of the state, have become the power base and political instrument of their respective chiefs and strongmen-rulers. 
       Military leaders who have "captured" the state have established authoritarian orders which they believe are most congruent with their goals and vision of state-society order.  As David Beetham found, they imposed an authoritarian domination of the state over society by removing the freedom (or autonomy) of organized groups to pursue their interests independently of the state.[605]  Typically, power is concentrated in the hands of the strongman-ruler, trusted subordinates, or the bureaucracy, as noted by Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Fred Riggs, Juan Linz, Gerald Heeger, and Beetham.  Importantly, intermediary institutions that mediate state-society relations are abolished or manipulated and marginalized by the state. 
       The country studies (Chapters 3-5) show that military intervention occurs in complex, diverse historical, socio-economic, and political settings, and is triggered by diverse events and factors, in line with the observations of Christopher Clapham, Edward Feit, T.O.Odetola, and others.  That political orders established by the military and its chief-turned-ruler are not identical, as Clapham, Samuel Finer, Harold Crouch, among others, note, has also been shown in these chapters.  Although "military regimes" are authoritarian, this thesis has shown that the complexity and degree of authoritarian control exercised by the state varies from regime to regime.  It has also been found that these regimes vary not only in the degree of authoritarianism imposed, but also in the extent to which the military is autonomous vis-à-vis other state actors and elites, and relative to social forces. 
       I have examined the phenomenon of military intervention in
Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand, in the context of three interrelated factors that delineate the variance between military-authoritarian regimes.  To reiterate briefly, they are:   (1) the military and the politics of military intervention as they relate to the reorganization of power in the state;  (2) the pivotal role of, and strategies employed by, the military strongman in the reorganization of political power, and the relationship between the ruler and the military; and  (3) the degree of authoritarianism exercised, and the extent of military dominance. 
       Four interrelated questions that are crucial to understanding military rule have been posed in this thesis.  They are, first, why the military decides to stay on to rule and to reorganize political power;   second, how the military decides to reorganize state power;   third, what kind of military authoritarian pattern emerges when the military chief becomes the state strongman-ruler;   and fourth, how the differences between, and within regimes, over time, are to be explained?


Military Intervention, the Politics of "Staying On", and the Reorganization of State Power
       With respect to the politics of military intervention, I have found, in agreement with Crouch, that the phenomenon is related to what he calls "the total situation" of politics, where the military is a participant in a "free-for-all" struggle for power, dom-inance, control, and advantage, within a Huntingtonian "praetorian" environment.[606]  In this struggle, the prize is the state, and, as Clapham observes, it is almost inevitably won by the military. 
       I have found, first, that the military stays on to rule because of its close identification, and self-image as, the creator, guardian, protector, and savior of both the nation and the state, and as well, as Samuel Fitch notes, the redefinition of its role expressed in terms of "national security" imperatives, broadly defined.  The subsequent extension of military activities into non-military spheres, combined with the perception of its indispensibility, and/or perceived threats to the state itself or national unity, strongly compell it to take charge of, and run, the state and the political arena.  In consequence, it is more closely linked to the "new" state, serving as its power base and the political instrument of its chief-and-ruler and his regime.  Once in charge of the state, the military gains one more incentive to "stay on":  the perquisites of political and economic power and enhanced status.  Effective intervention and the military's ability to reorganize power is, however, contingent on its political cohesion, forged by a military strongman-and-unifier.  
       In
Burma, as in Indonesia (examined in Chapters 3 and 4), soldiers were polit-icized as part of the respective anti-colonial, nationalist movements.  As discussed, after independence, the newly-installed powerholders -- the AFPFL Thakins and Sukarno, respectively -- depended heavily on the military to fend off a variety of forces which challenged the state in each of these.  Moreover, military elites in both countries subscribed to a vision of state-society order which, as Manuel Garreton, Heeger, and Feit note, precludes the political participation of social forces which, in the military's view, exacerbates social conflicts, leads to general disorder, and subverts national unity. 
       As shown, however, military intervention has not always led to the reorganiz-ation of political power as desired.  In
Burma (as seen in Chapter 3), the Tatmadaw stepped in to "save" the country from being fragmented due to the split within the rul-ing AFPFL party in 1958.  The intervention was short-lived primarily because, as discussed, Ne Win was apparently not yet in undisputed control of the armed forces.  He returned power to civilian rule.  Military intervention in 1962, after Ne Win unified the military, led to the reorganization of power. 
       Likewise in
Indonesia (examined in Chapter 4), although the military strongly claimed dominance for itself as a revolutionary, socio-political force, its early incursions were ineffectual.  It was only in 1959 after Nasution gained control of ABRI (after numerous failed regional-military rebellions), that ABRI was able to play an effective role in helping to reorganize the state, but in subordinacy to Sukarno.  In 1965, ironically, it was the trauma of Gestapu in 1965, endangering both the state and the military itself, that united the military behind Suharto.  It was this very tight cohesion, never before achieved, which allowed ABRI to assert its dominance effectively. 
       In
Thailand (Chapter 5), the phenomenon of military intervention has been, as in Burma and Indonesia, closely tied with the politics of the state.  The military first participated in politics in 1932 as a political instrument of the "Promoters," whose goal was to reorganize power after the overthrow of the absolutist monarchy.  However, due to the frequency of coups -- fifteen successful and failed coups between 1932 to 1991 --  the phenomenon is more complex, and even quite confusing.  I have classified Thai coups into four general categories: one, coups that are aimed at re-organizing political power;  two, those arising from problems with the functioning of the democratic process as being tried by authoritarian rulers;  three, coups arising from a crisis situation, where the military can claim to have "saved" the state;  and four, those arising from intra-military friction.[607] 
       I have found that the Thai case highlights a situation where military intervent-ion, in the absence of an authoritarian strongman-unifier, does not lead to the reorgan-ization of power or the state.  The military was not unified between the fall of Thanom and Praphart in 1973 and Krit's death in 1976.  After that, Prem, a de facto military strongman and yet democratically inclined, refused to restore military author-itarian rule.  Thus, despite their importance as "king-makers" and "spoilers" from 1976 to 1985, the Young Turks were not successful in restoring authoritarianism or the military to political dominance. 
       Secondly, regarding the question of how the military reorganizes the politics of the state, I have found that the organizational configuration of the state is restructured by the military so that political roles and institutions are transformed into bureaucratic ones.  These are then usually placed under military control, or tutelage.  Typically, the military regime seeks to limit participation by closing or restricting intermediary institutions and societal associations.  This results in high state autonomy vis-à-vis society, and, correspondingly, the low autonomy of society relative to the state.  However, military rulers  -- Ne Win, Suharto, Thanom and Praphart -- have also set up political parties (or ruling parties) aimed at controlling, channeling, and limiting political participation, while at the same time, using them to gain legitimacy (with varying results).[608]  
       In
Burma, Ne Win -- the undisputed military leader in 1962 -- employed the Tatmadaw to set up a military-"socialist" authoritarian state, where it served as the sole constitutive element of the BSPP regime.  All political roles were bureaucratized, and, as discussed, were monopolized by soldiers.  The political arena and legislative sphere were insulated by the military from society, and the state was made non-malleable, even by civilian bureaucratic elements, unlike in Indonesia and Thailand. 
       In
Indonesia, investigated in Chapter 4, I have found that since both the Guided Democracy and the New Order state are based on the 1945 Constitution, there is a continuity in the organizational configuration of the state.  Suharto skillfully made the constitution work for him.  Suharto and ABRI quite effectively depoliticized and deprived most of society of meaningful access to the state and politics, thus insulating the state and making it somewhat non-malleable by, and highly autonomous from, society.  However, Suharto and the regime have established a quite effective mechan-ism to respond to the needs, mainly economic, of the politically subordinated (especially, rural) segments via patrimonial linkages and networks through village heads.   
       However, in contrast to the BSPP regime, Suharto's New Order has allowed for a degree of what
Linz terms as "limited pluralism": an ostensibly "open" political arena with more than one political party participating in politics.  Also, in recent years, some Islamic elements have been given some access to politics as part of Suharto's power-balancing strategy.  Those with economic clout -- ethnic Chinese business elites -- have also been provided with some access to the state, mainly via patrimonial, informal, mutually beneficial links with Suharto and other subordinate power-holders and/or officials, armed and unarmed, in the state's bureaucracy. 
       In Thailand, the military's endeavors to reorganize political power in an author-itarian direction were, I have found, constrained by the institutions of the constitution-al monarchy, which the Promoters and Pibul, the first military strongman, accepted because the monarchy was (and is) the font of legitimacy, and is held to be by the majority of Thais as a mystic embodiment of Thai nationhood.  There are, therefore, found in
Thailand, three types of regimes: one, a less authoritarian military regime (which I term, the "Pibul system");  two, a more authoritarian military regime (the "Sarit system");  and three, the non-military, "Thai-style democracy" regimes that have existed  or operated between coups.  
       The Thai military, unlike its counterparts in
Burma and Indonesia, has not been able effectively to deny civilian elites and social forces access to the state, or to effectively restrict the operation of intermediary institutions and associations for long periods.  However, Sarit did succeed in establishing a military-authoritarian regime for a time.  This he accomplished by associating his personal authoritarian rule with the populist-paternalistic kingship style of the Sukothai period, and by elevating the status of the then young King and Queen, and exploiting their youthful glamor and the history, pomp, and legitimacy associated with the monarchy (which had been downplayed after 1932).  However, by the end of the Thanom-Praphart regime in the early 1970s, the King's political stature had grown, and he had accumulated de facto power by "out-lasting" military strongmen, governments, and constitutions.  The monarchy -- an institution which, although of the state, was also above the state -- became accordingly more autonomous .  It became quite impossible for the military, or military-backed rulers, to manipulate, as in the past, the monarchy or the King.  Rather, it was the monarchy which became a pivotal force in Thai politics. 


Military Strongmen as Rulers, and the Military and Authoritarian Regimes   
       With reference to the question of what kind of military authoritarian pattern emerges after the military captures the state, I have found that in military-authoritarian regimes, as observed by Heeger, the armed forces as a whole do not rule.  It is the military strongman-ruler who exercises significant power, while the military plays a pivotal role as the subordinated political instrument and primary power base of the regime and the ruling strongman.  The military is therefore dominant relative to societal forces, but its dominance vis-à-vis other state elements will vary -- being contingent on the vision, goals, and strategies of ruling strongmen to consolidate first, their personal control of the state, and second, the state's control over society. 
       The relationship between the military chief-turned-ruler and the military, in terms of their respective autonomy, or dominance vis-à-vis the other, has been found to be a dynamic one.  The military-authoritarian regimes investigated -- being basically systems where the military leader-rulers are personally dominant -- share many features in common with the system of personal rule, as theorized by Robert Jackson and Carl Rosberg, among others.  As discussed in Chapter 2, this system is characterized by a political arena where rules and institutions do not effectively govern the conduct of rulers and other political actors.  There obtains a situation where the system is structured by the politicians themselves, in particular by the person who wields the most power -- the personal ruler or, in "military" regimes, the strongman-ruler.  In this respect, I have found that
Burma's Ne Win, roughly fits the type of personal ruler classified by the authors as a tyrannical ruler.  Thai strongmen-rulers, Pibul and Sarit, and Suharto in Indonesia, are, I have found, less tyrannical, and fall broadly into the categories of princely and autocratic rulers.[609]  The type of ruler, his mind-set, style, and vision, in turn, determines the contours and complexion of the system that emerges as a result of the ruler's endeavours.  
       I have found that the relationship between the strongman-ruler and the military is contingent on the personal skills of the military ruler in playing intra-military politics -- in rewarding, manipulating, purging, and shuffling subordinates, thus diminishing their ability to mount any challenge to the ruler.  It is also shaped, as I have maintained, by the strongman's agenda, his vision, goals, and style, and hence it varies from regime to regime.  In this regard, in Burma, the relationship has, as found in Chapter 3, been mutually close, with the military remaining highly dominant, despite the "civilianization" of the ruler, Ne Win.  In
Indonesia (Chapter 4), the relationship has changed.  Suharto has, as a ruler of the whole nation, counter-balanced the military's dominance with Golkar politicians, government "legislators" and "representatives", presidential aides, favored ministers, valued and useful techno-bureaucrats, business associates, and so on.  In Thailand, typically, the military returns to the barracks after its chief captures the state, although some top brass are given cabinet portfolios, and some are rewarded with position in state, or military-owned, enterprises.[610] 
       Regarding the re-shaping of the state by strongman-rulers, in
Burma, Ne Win drastically reorganized power in a highly authoritarian direction and manner -- and attempted to reorganize the economy as well.  His power base was the Tatmadaw, and he relied on it alone to maintain his grip on power.  The BSPP party-state structures set up in 1974 were dominated by the military which, in turn, enabled it to exclude all non-military elements, even those within the state's bureaucracy, from meaningful roles in the affairs of the state and politics.  It has been found that the military penetrated almost completely the administrative, political, and economic ("socialist") bureaucracy of the state at all levels, and also controlled the legislative-representative sphere. 
       In comparison, Suharto has, as mentioned, been a much more astute, sophisticated soldier-politician.  He did not abolish the constitutional framework of the "old order", but reorganized power by manipulating its provisions.  Primarily reliant on the military, Suharto was careful to entrench the military in politics through "constitutional" and "institutional" channels, interpreting and using the provisions of the 1945 Constitution.  The vehicle he chose was Golkar, the government's large, civilian- and military-based, bureaucratically-organized party.  Golkar enabled Suharto and the military to manipulate the political arena and control the legislative sphere, ensuring a quite high degree of dominance for ABRI, relative to other constitutive elements of the state and also to other social-political groups and segments.  Golkar's dominating presence in the political arena and the legislature, coupled with the "floating mass" concept that disallowed politicking in the rural areas, has resulted in the depoliticization of a large part of society.  I have found that Golkar is not a mass party, but rather an election vehicle for the government.    
       The examination of the New Order state shows that Suharto has made effect-ive use of Golkar.  Its electoral "successes" have given the New Order regime a semblance of legitimacy and a "civilian", more inclusive, and "democratic" mantle.  Over time, it has also established Suharto's stature as a somewhat inclusive, broad-based, "father of the nation" type of ruler, and has ensured his many terms as Presid-ent.[611]  In recent years, as the regime "matured" and Suharto's position solidified, Golkar officials, along with favored ministers, bureaucrats, and technocrats have been used to counter-balance the military's dominance.  This development underlines the shift in the hitherto very close relationship between Suharto and his military power base.  
       I have found that ABRI's dominance in the bureaucratic sphere, compared to the early years of the regime, has been somewhat diluted.  However, it still maintains a territorial, quasi-administrative framework, and in this aspect, the military is still more or less involved, especially, at the local level in administrative affairs.  Military personnel also control, or are present in, the many state agencies, especially those dealing with security and commerce.[612]   
       In
Thailand, the inquiry in Chapter 5 shows that parliamentary politics and institutions, along with the constitutional monarchy, co-existed with authoritarian rule.  This contradiction between authoritarianism and the parliamentary form and practices was resolved for a time by Sarit who, like Ne Win, abolished parliament and related processes in 1958.  His co-successors, Thanom and Praphart, carried on with the "Sarit system" until it was challenged and toppled (in 1973) by new forces that emerged as a result of deep socio-economic changes, in a environment of regional uncertainty and tension. 
       With reference to the relationship between the strongman-ruler and the mil-itary, the inquiry shows, that successful strongmen-rulers -- Ne Win, Suharto, Pibul, Sarit (and co-successors) -- dominated the military, and ensured its subordinant status by a system of purges, surveillance, transfers, promotions, appointments to high or lucrative positions, ample budgets, funds for projects, and opportunities to make money or engage in business and commerce.  Importantly, they juggled and shuffled military positions, and manipulated and exploited personal rivalries and interpersonal tensions, even among and between close aides and loyalists.  However, soldiers in
Thailand have, as mentioned in Chapter 5, been more professional and less involved in everyday political or administrative roles than those in Burma and Indonesia. 
       In the Thai case, the frequency of coups and coup attempts seems to contradict the subordinant status of the military to its chief-and-ruler.  However, I have found that the soldiers have been, for the most part, loyal to ruling strongmen.  There have, nonetheless, been occasions when the military has decided not to defend unpopular ruling strongmen being challenged by other forces, especially those who have lost royal support, such as Thanom and Praphart (and their designated successor, Narong).  
       Of the Thai strongmen, only Prem has been actually challenged by segments of the military: the attempted Young Turks coups in 1981 and 1985.  This was because Prem was a democratically-oriented strongman who opposed military intervention and who was engaged in restoring parliamentary politics.[613]


State Autonomy, Military-Authoritarianism, Differing State-Society Configurations
       Concerning the differences between military-authoritarian regimes and within regimes over time, I have found that the variations stem largely from the differing patterns of autonomy relations.  They differ in terms of the extent to which the state dominates and is autonomous from society, and/or is unresponsive to society.  They also vary in the pattern of autonomy relations between, in particular, the strongman-ruler and the military, and the military and other non-military elements of the state.  The differing patterns shape not only variances between regimes, but also within regimes over time.  Finally, owing to the different patterns of autonomy relations established, long-term regime outcomes also vary. 
       The subject of state autonomy lies at the heart of state-society relations, in particular, relationships between and among elements, classes, groups, and so on, that co-exist and interact politically within a "nation-state".   It is about who dominates, and to what degree;  how dominance is imposed;  and what structures regulate, constrain, or facilitate dominance.  Likewise, it also concerns the questions of who exercises greater or lesser degrees of relative autonomy, how autonomy is obtained, and what the structures are that limit or reinforce autonomy of various actors, groups, institutions, and so forth.  Further, it is, as Theda Skocpol implies, linked also to resp-onsiveness -- the responsiveness of the state to societal demands, and vice-versa. 
       Skocpol, Finer, and Eric Nordlinger argue that state autonomy (or obversely, society's autonomy from, or relative to the state) is contingent on two factors.  These are, first, factors internal to the state (i.e., the will of state actors or elites to assert autonomy and the resources available to them in this regard), and second, the avail-ability and autonomy of intermediary institutions and channels to societal forces. 
       The second factor is in turn dependent, as Skocpol maintains, on how the state is configured organizationally.  In military-authoritarian states and regimes, where power is concentrated in the hands of the strongman-ruler and the military, and where intermediary channels are subdued or monopolized by state elements (in particular, by the military), the state will be more or less, and in varying degrees, rather highly autonomous. The military-authoritarian state is one that is, in Nordlinger's words, non-malleable by, and highly insulated from society. 
       The country studies (Chapters 3-5) show that the pattern of authoritarian domination and autonomy relations established in each case is largely contingent on the political sophisti