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The South African Military: the Dilemmas of Expanded Influence in Decision-Making

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During the regime of President P. W. Botha, circumstances combined to give the South African security establishment an unprecedented impact on decision making. Greater threat perception, along with President Botha's close association with the military allowed the security forces to institutionalize their influence at every level of government. The creeping militarization of South African politics meant that domestic and foreign policy, as well as economic decisions, were subject to military influence. This raised important questions about the role of the security forces and their attitude toward reform of the apartheid system. The increased power of the security establishment created concerns about its role among both liberals and conservatives. It also complicated the military's efforts to protect its corporate interests. For the security forces, the situation produced a dilemma regarding the use of their expanded power in an increasingly fragmented society. Although recent developments have curtailed the formal power of the security forces, they will continue to be influential as pressure mounts for an end to apartheid.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, U.S.A.

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