November 6, 2002
PROFESSIONAL VS. POLITICAL:China's military may not be political enough for new leaders (AFP, Nov 05, 2002)
That China's military can be a powerful force in politics was shown when troops crushed pro-democracy protests in 1989. But a new batch of Beijing leaders may now find the generals loath to leave their barracks, experts say.
The biggest worry for the next generation due to take charge of the Communist Party is not that the top brass take too much interest in politics, but too little, according to analysts.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) -- which includes the navy and air force -- focuses on becoming a modern, hi-tech outfit and would rather leave government to the politicians, they argue.
"The military is becoming increasingly professionalized," said Andrew Nathan, a China expert at New York's Columbia University. "As such, they don't want to be involved in things they consider as political."
These days Samuel Huntington is best known, and justifiably, for his writings about the Clash of Civilizations. But, in this terrific profile, Looking the World in the Eye (Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly | December 2001), Robert Kaplan writes about Mr. Huntington's view of the value of a professionalized military to a liberal society. It will be interesting to see if China's professionalized military can act as the same kind of liberalizing influence as others have in Spain, Turkey, and Chile. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 6, 2002 10:40 PM