Air University Review, March-April 1979
Colonel Raymond E. Bell, Jr., USAR
Russell W. Howe and Sarah H. Trott give us a carefully researched and very detailed picture of "how lobbyists mold America's foreign policy" in their book The Power Peddlers, † a "who's who" in the world of lobbyists working on behalf of foreign governments in Washington. With the help of the Fund of Investigative Journalism, and that of Jack Anderson particularly, the authors provide as objective a look as may be possible at the world of foreign lobbyists.
Russell W. Howe and Sarah H. Trott, The Power Peddlers: How Lobbyists Mold America's Foreign Policy (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1977, $12.50), 569 pages.
For the professional soldier or militarily oriented civilian scholar, however, this book has relatively little relevance from a military point of view. This is especially surprising considering that many foreign governments 10Lby for money or credits to obtain weapons and equipment for their armed forces. The book is more of a "people book" or even a "bank account book," highlighting the names of lobbyists and their finances, both of which are extreme enough to dazzle the eye. In fact, it seems at times that this is more a personnel register than an attempt to explain how our government is influenced by gift seekers.
Only two military personalities are discussed in the monograph: the late General George S. Brown, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Andrew Goodpaster, Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point (in the grade of lieutenant general) and formerly Commander at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers, Europe (SHAPE). The two generals share a common misfortune: comments they made moved lobbyists to frenzied activity.
As might be expected, General Brown's comments to a Duke University audience found a place in the book, and the handling of the incident by the authors bespeaks their objectivity. The proffered explanation also helps to clarify the turgid situation. The scene is lobbying in the context of the "Mideast conflict," and the action is a description of "the white heat of a full Israeli lobby campaign against a single individual." The campaign is aimed at refuting the comments about Jewish control of the banks and the press. Control of the former was rather easily disproved, but the latter was tougher to handle since Jews head "two of the three major TV networks and own the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the New York Post." The pressure by the Israeli lobby was intense. But, the writers argue, wiser heads prevailed who realized that if General Brown lost his job, the general's point would be proved, and the pressure, as a result, dropped off precipitously.
The description of the Brown incident thus provides an interesting perspective of the risks of lobbying. Another perspective is the danger of backlash. While the furor raged over the criticism of Israeli proponents by General Brown, there were individuals in the Israeli camp who feared that gloating over the effectiveness of Jewish pressure could boomerang against Israel. Hyman Bookbinder, an influential Israeli lobbyist, set about calming any Jewish reactions by taking this line.
I told people: "Here's an intelligent, thoughtful, civil guy who helped save Israel in 1973 by running down U.S. Air Force stocks in Germany. If he can be provoked into saying things like that, we have reason to be worried...We should not overreact. Getting his scalp would...give credence to his charges."
General Goodpaster's presence in the book results from less-publicized remarks about the Greek armed forces in 1974, when the military-installed junta government was in power. At that time the United States had adopted a more distant stance from the regime, and, when General Goodpaster praised Greece for "maintenance of her forces to an excellent level of training and to a high degree of readiness," he was called to task by the United States ambassador in Athens, Henry Tasca, who cabled Washington about the breach of the State Department's hands-off policy.
The Greek lobby in Washington, in opposition to the junta, launched a campaign expressing "shock and dismay." Goodpaster was summoned to Washington for a personal appearance on 20 May 1974, before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Europe, to clarify his statement. In his testimony to the subcommittee, General Goodpaster explained he was "chagrined" that what he had said had been used as proof of American support of the Greek dictatorship. There was no objective Greek lobbyist around to buffer General Goodpaster against the storm, but then the public outcry to the Goodpaster incident was minimal compared with the uproar over General Browns comments.
Aside from short discussions of Generals Goodpaster and Brown and the outward appearance of the book being a catalogue of names and numbers, The Power Peddlers takes an exhaustive look at the foreign lobbies, starting with the China lobby and ending with that of the South Molucca Islands. The book literally takes one around the world through Asia, South America, Africa, Europe, the Mideast, Armenia, Tibet, and to the South Molucca Islands (still regarded as Indonesian). By the end of the book, the reader knows all the foreign and American lobbyists on Capitol Hill pushing their particular causes, but one wonders just why this is important.
If the book is significant for the military reader, it has to be that it points up the intricacies of how a relatively unknown part of our governmental system works and that, as part of a soldier's overall education, he should recognize how persuasive lobbying is. But the book is not one that. needs to be in your library. Should you run for Congress, however, I recommend you hasten to the nearest bookstore and purchase a copy.
On The other hand, Civilian Control of the Military† could very well occupy a place on your professional bookshelves. It is a refreshing book in a couple of important respects.
†Claude E. Welch, Jr., editor, Civilian Control of the Military: Theory and Cases from Developing Countries (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1976, $20.00), 337 pages.
First, for a book consisting of chapters by a number of commissioned authors, this is a remarkably cohesive book. The style is straightforward and the material well presented so that the reader obtains a clear view of the ramifications of civilian control over the military in a wide selection of countries. These countries are important because of the spectrum they cover and include India, Guyana, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, China, Finland, Mexico, Lebanon, and Chile. Claude E. Welch, Jr., who edited the book, excluded Africa because with the exceptions, as of late 1975, of Tunisia, Senegal, Kenya, the Ivory Coast, and Zambia, "newly independent African countries have yet to establish means of civilian control that have stood the test of time."
Another aspect of the book is that although its authors are not well known they represent a great deal of experience; included among their number are two military professionals: Colonel Franklin D. Margiotta of Air Command and Staff College and Dr. James H. Buck on the Air War College faculty. At a time when civilians are not only emphasizing their control over the military but seem to be the only ones who are publishing much about it, it is refreshing to see professional military men contributing to books being written about their profession, if not writing the books themselves.
Welch starts his preface with a quote from Clausewitz, arguing strongly for civilian control over the military. Clausewitz states that subordination of the military point of view to the political is the only possible relationship since war is an instrument of state policy and not vice versa. Unfortunately, he notes Clausewitz's belief in the supremacy of politics as being increasingly disregarded while the "man on horseback" has become more prominent. This historical background sets the framework for Welch's effort; that is, an exploration of those exceptions to military rule while at the same time showing the means for civilian control that states might adopt. He concluded that the chief instruments for ensuring civilian control are a widely supported political party coupled with a self-imposed sense of restraint by officers and politicians alike.
Of particular interest in this respect is that Lebanon, discussed in the book, has, since publication, had the underpinnings of a parliament and a self-imposed sense of restraint by politicians knocked from beneath it. At the same time, the military has played an inconsequential role in the conflict between Lebanon's warring factions. So emasculated was the military that it was incapable of exercising any influence on the situation. As a result, one can ask legitimately whether the army was simply the victim of "overcontrol" by civilians, a danger that is not discussed in the book but which represents a very real danger to the security of a state.
The excellence of Colonel Margiotta's contribution on Mexico is typical of the chapters in this book. He has chosen a country that is much neglected in the military literature. For most Americans, the military scene in Mexico ends with the storming of Chapultepec in the War with Mexico, though there are still alive today some few who rode with General Pershing in 1916 against "Pancho" Villa. Mexico is a major exception to the principal trend in Latin America, where the military plays a powerful role in the majority of governments. This is important, the author points out, because Mexico has had a "long history of predatory military intervention into politics." As late as 1929 there was a revolt in the army. However, the political role of the military has become smaller since then.
Margiotta advances two schools of thought on the role of the Mexican military: its removal from politics and its viable but very diminished role. The latter role is further explained by the military's apparent acceptance of the psychological and material situation, which means improvement of the status is unnecessary and that certain lesser political awards have reduced the potential incentive for the military to intervene in politics.
The author has selected for further examination that relatively narrow area of psychological, material, and political rewards received by the Mexican military since 1946, when the first civilian president was elected. He does so in an effort to bring about a better understanding of the special and peculiar military-political patterns in Mexico, and the reader will agree that he succeeds.
Margiotta provides an excellent picture of the degree of involvement, both voluntary and mandated by custom, of the Mexican president. Using a number of tables, he presents information on the allocation of resources to the military. For example, a table of particular interest shows how much attention the president gives the military in his speeches; between 1946 and 1972, he gave "effusive attention" to the military in 11 of his 13 speeches.
Margiotta makes the point that although the military has not received an. inordinate proportion of the country's resources, what has been received has been skillfully managed to "provide economic incentives to political loyalty. " For instance, military expenditures dropped below 10 percent of total government expenditures after 1950 (from 1938 to 1941 the military portion represented 16.6 percent of total government expenditures versus 8.7 percent from 1960 to 1965), yet pay has steadily increased, and the Mexican officer ratio of earnings to average per capita income is at least three times that of his United States counterpart.
Margiotta emphasizes that the military still plays an important role in the political arena. The point, however, is that there is a very noticeable transition from military to civilian participation, even though the military holds important "civilian jobs in the executive branch; in 1972, the military held a state governorship, and there are military members in Congress.
What emerges from this examination is a picture of subdued, yet real, military participation in national politics. It is also clear that the Mexican military receives benefits and recognition that greatly lessen a more active role in trying to manipulate civilian control.
Civilian Control of the Militaryis worth the professional soldier's reading, especially in light of General Brown's controversial remarks, those of General Donn A. Starry, about the possibility of future war, and Major General John K. Singlaub about Korea. In counterpoint to this book, the reader might be interested in John W. Finney's article "The Military Has Always Known Who Is in Charge," in the May 4, 1977, issue of the New York Times. Regarding the Singlaub incident, Finney notes that the "principle of civilian control is much better understood and complied with than it was when President Truman fired Douglas MacArthur." Reading Welch's book will further enhance the understanding of what Finney is talking about.
Whereas Civilian Control of the Military can be recommended as a mindbroadening experience for the professional military man unfamiliar with the control of the military in various nations of the world, endorsement of The Military and the Problem of Legitimacy† must be more guarded.
†Gwyn Harries-Jenkins and Jacques van Doorn, editors, The Military and the Problem of Legitimacy (Beverly Hills, California: Sage, 1976, $12.00), 217 pages.
The book, edited by Gwyn Harries-Jenkins of the University of Hull (United Kingdom) and Jacques van Doorn of Erasmus University (Rotterdam, Netherlands), is one of the Sage Studies in International Sociology, sponsored by the International Sociological Association. Contributors to the book include the editors as well as Morris Janowitz, who writes on "Military Institutions and Citizenship in Western Societies," and international authors from Communist countries, the United States, and Western countries. The international flavor of the book, although excellent in theory, is one thing about the work to be criticized. It should be noted, however, that these contributions were selected from a limited number of papers presented at the Eighth World Congress of Sociology, in Toronto in August 1974, where 50 sociologists from 24 countries took part in sessions of the Research Committee on Armed Forces and Society.
First, the title and the contents do not match. It appears that a book had to come out of this conference, and the title was the best one found to cover such divergent themes as "The Role of Mass Communications in the Political Socialization of the Hungarian Armed Forces" by Emil Nagy and "Greek Service Academies: Patterns of Recruitment and Organizational Change" by George A. Kouvetaris. The introduction attempts somewhat unsuccessfully to justify the inclusion of all the entries. For example, this reviewer found inclusion of the piece by Nagy (from the Military Academy, Budapest, Hungary) hard to justify within the scope of the anthology: whether the traditional legitimacy of the military is still acceptable in today's society, where some see the military performing a destructive function. In his unevenly translated essay, Nagy seems to be saying the Communists have finally decided that television has merits in indoctrinating the armed forces. (Although it is not intimated, Nagy could also be saying that television can be manipulated so that reception from Austrian television stations just over the border will have a minimal impact on Hungarian viewers.)
There seems to be a distinct attempt at balance in the book between Communist and Western contributors. Although the purpose of this review is not to "roast" Nagy, the following quote makes one very suspicious of the value of including selections on the basis of "balance."
The sublime and deeply humanistic aims of socialism can be achieved by an historically high standard of creative activity and by the ceaseless flow of the initiative of the mass of people. It is from the very essence of socialism that people's interest and political and public activity are gradually growing. We make every effort to develop social democracy and involve masses of people in the immediate direction and management of public affairs.
It is regrettable that party-political implications have to appear in a volume that has excellent potential, but the reader must realize that not everything is viewed from a Western ethical standpoint.
The international aspect of the book is flawed by poor translation. One no longer "heals up" wounds, nor does one talk about "picture-going." On a different level the term "not classified" has given way to unclassified." These small, seemingly insignificant examples are hardly earth shattering, but when combined with polemics and ponderous sentence structure, which can be hard to avoid in translation, such vocabulary has the effect of frustrating the reader to the point of "tuning out."
The editors have been only partially successful in their efforts. They raise questions for further consideration, and they do point out the complexity of the relationship between the military and the parent society that demands continual analysis and questioning. The studies are not exhaustive, as the editors indicate, nor do the authors present solutions to the problems. But in spite of the distinguished multinational authorship, it is hard to agree that the analyses are objective or, when the involved vocabulary and sentence structure are stripped from the writing, that the contributions are really that scholarly.
It is necessary to point out, however, that a serious attempt has been made to deal with a very tough problem and one which obviously is of concern. The military professional has a vested interest in the military establishment, and he naturally looks askance at those, especially at those not themselves in the military regardless of how close their relationship to the military is, who even suggest questioning their livelihood. But there is no question that the book gives the military professional a different perspective, which could lead to improving the quality of his or her professional calling.
Colonel Raymond E. Bell, Jr., USAR (USMA; M.A. Middlebury College) is a student at the National War College and a research consultant on leave from the Historical Evaluation Research Organization, Dunn Loring, Virginia. He also heads a team studying defense postures in West Germany, and he teaches Army Command and General Staff College courses to active and reserve component officers at West Point. Bell is a graduate of the Army War College Correspondence Study Course and a previous contributor to the Review.
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.