Soldiers and Civil Power
Supporting or Substituting Civil Authorities in Modern Peace Operations
Distributed for Amsterdam University Press
Among policy makers and in military circles, a debate has erupted regarding the scope of the military in stabilizing and reconstructing war torn societies. Should soldiers, who primarily prepare for combat duties, observe a strict segregation between the "military sphere" and the "civilian sphere" or become involved in "nation building"? Should soldiers be allowed to venture into the murky arena of public security, civil administration, humanitarian relief, and political and social reconstruction?
In Soldiers and Civil Power, Thijs Brocades Zaalberg draws on military records and in-depth interviews with key players to examine international operations in the 1990's in Cambodia, Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Focusing his historical analysis on the experiences of various battalions in the field, he reveals large gaps between this tactical level of operations, political-strategic decision making and military doctrine. By comparing peace operations to examples of counterinsurgency operations in the colonial era and military governance in World War II, he exposes the controversial, but inescapable role of the Western military in supporting and even substituting civil authorities during military interventions.
At a time when US forces and its allies struggle to restore order in Iraq and Afghanistan, Brocades Zaalberg’s in-depth study is an invaluable resource not only for military historians, but anyone interested in the evolving global mission of armed forces in the twenty-first century.