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Civil-Military Relations in Democratizing Taiwan, 1986-2007 Open Access

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Civil-Military Relations in Democratizing Taiwan, 1986-2007 This dissertation studies Taiwan's security sector reform in the process of democratization, a process that intends to nationalize the armed forces and intelligence services by removing partisan political control and placing the security sector under state civilian governance. This dissertation asks why civil-military relations in Taiwan remain stable during this democratization and reform process in the face of three major challenges: external threat posed by China, domestic democratization process, and organizational legacy of party-military traditions. This study posits that all three conditions facilitate military subordination to civilian control, but at the same time each presents certain challenges for the shaping of an apolitical security sector. Interviews with military and intelligence officers and analyses of personal memoirs of relevant government officials find that party-army traditions have facilitated military. In contrast to conventional wisdom, the threat environment is the least powerful factor in the explanation of stabilized civil-military relations in Taiwan. On the other hand, democratic transition and consolidation have best contributed to the institutionalization of civilian control and the cultivation of an apolitical ethos. There have been numerous studies of Taiwan's democratization process, but this is the first one to examine the roles played--and the impact on--the military, intelligence, and security services. It therefore offers a case study in both civil-military relations and the democratization process in newly industrializing societies.

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