A politicized Military?

A politicized Military?

a UN conference in Rome last summer (and opposed I)!. the United States) as an aid to navigating the tur- moil created the extension of international law. Even so, they conclude, it would be best if nations dealt with their tyrants themselves. International law should only be called upon as "a backup instrument."Rabkin, a political scientist at Corncll University, has no kind words for the Pinochet precedent. "There has long been a customary rule of international law," he notes,...

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pret and apply international treaties and customary international law directly and as part of domestic law."

Qualified support for this view comes from Lagos, an official in the democratic Chilean government formed after Pinochet stepped down in 1990, and Muñoz, a political scientist and former Chilean ambassador. They add that "the new rules may also discourage those very same dictators from peacefully handing over power." (Pinochet enjoyed amnesty under a 1978 law and a seat in Chile’s Senate after he left office.) And Pinochet’s ordeal abroad has had unfortunate effects at home, they note, "reawakening the deep divisions" in Chile and making him "the undisputed leader of the Right... [and] once again the central actor in Chilean politics." Chile’s government, which first protested Pinochet’s arrest, is now calling for him to be returned to Chile for trial.

Lagos and Muñoz look to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that was part of a proposed treaty adopted by a UN conference in Rome last summer (and opposed by the United States) as an aid to navigating the turmoil created by the extension of international law. Even so, they conclude, it would be best if nations dealt with their tyrants themselves. International law should only be called upon as "a backup instrument."

Rabkin, a political scientist at Cornell University, has no kind words for the Pinochet precedent. "There has long been a customary rule of international law," he notes, "that courts of one country will not sit in judgment on the sovereign acts of, or the officials exercising sovereign power in, another country." To do otherwise would be to infringe national sovereignty and invite war. The only exceptions, Rabkin says, are cases in which the defendant’s home country does not object, as in the Nuremberg trials.

Chile "will not go to war with Britain or Spain," he notes. "But the notion that ‘international law’ will now hold evil-doers of all lands to account is absurd.... [No] one expects European Union countries to hold a top Chinese leader to account for massacres in Tibet...or American officials for extradition to Sudan, which has been threatening to charge them with war crimes." International law without the foundations of international government would be the height of injustice, a "selective, inconsistent" law administered by bureaucrats. And Americans, he argues, should pause at the prospect of handing over fellow citizens—from military personnel accused of war crimes to alleged drug dealers—to international courts where they would not enjoy the precious protections accorded them as citizens by the U.S. Constitution.

A Politicized Military?

"A Widening Gap between the U.S. Military and Civilian Society? Some Evidence, 1976-96" by Ole R. Holsti, in International Security (Winter 1998-99), MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. 02142.

The talk of a "crisis in civil-military relations" keeps growing louder. In 1997, the volume soared when Wall Street Journal reporter Thomas E. Ricks published Making the Corps, depicting his Marine subjects as increasingly alienated from the "soft" values of civilian society. Holsti, a Duke University political scientist, using poll data to gauge the civil-military breach, suggests that things may not be quite as bad as they seem.

True, his surveys of senior military officers show, there is growing partisanship in the traditionally neutral armed forces. In 1976, nearly half the officers polled called themselves independents and only a third were Republicans; by 1996, independents were down to 22 percent, Republicans up to 67 percent.

When officers were asked about their ideological orientation, the striking change was among the segment calling themselves "somewhat liberal," which shrank from 14 percent in 1976 to three percent in 1996. Yet the proportion calling themselves "very conservative" also fell, from a high of 17 percent in 1984 to 10 percent in 1996.

Indeed, comparing the views of top officers with those of civilian "opinion leaders" on particular questions of policy yields a somewhat more complex picture. As expected, the military leaders are much more socially conservative (on questions such as gay rights, for example), yet

98 WQ Spring 1999

Two cultures? An Army trainee in combat gear encounters some civilians near Fort Polk, Louisiana.

they are only somewhat more economically consider "fostering international cooperation" conservative. More significantly, there is no con-very important: 57 percent of civilians in 1996, sistent evidence that the gaps are widening, and 40 percent of officers.) in a few cases the views of the two groups seem Still, the growing partisan character of the to have been converging since the end of the military is a cause for concern, Holsti says. It is Cold War. About 77 percent of both groups now probably without precedent in U.S. history. But think it is vital to enlist the United Nations in he thinks that most of the solutions advanced so settling international disputes, for example, up far, from restoring conscription to restarting from 64 percent of civilians and 56 percent of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs at officers in 1976. (However, fewer and fewer elite universities, simply aren’t practical.


Semiconductor Jujitsu

"Reversal of Fortune? The Recovery of the U.S. Semiconductor Industry" by Jeffrey T. Macher, David C. Mowery, and David A. Hodges, in California Management Review (Fall 1998), Univ. of California, S549 Haas School of Business #1900, Berkeley, Calif. 94720–1900.

During the 1980s, the woes of the U.S. semiconductor industry became a symbol of America’s alarming competitive plunge. In 1989, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Commission on Industrial Productivity, reflecting widespread expert sentiment, issued a report saying the industry was too "fragmented." Yet since then, semiconductor makers have made a dramatic recovery—assisted, ironically, by that very "weakness."

In the United States—in contrast to Japan and Western Europe—the semiconductor industry consists of numerous, relatively small firms, from industry leader Intel to Micron and other, more specialized companies. The U.S. firms dominated the world market until the mid-1980s, when Japanese producers, concentrating on the dynamic random access memory (DRAM) devices that supply computer memory power, surged into the lead, observe Macher, Mowery, and

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