Military Dictatorships and The Dirty Wars
National Security Doctrine

I. Background

  1. In Latin America, basic ideology of military regimes of late 60s, 70s, early 80s

  2. Most important theoretical work done in Brazilian military colleges

  3.  Focused on internal threat of subversion and class warfare

  4.  Concerned about link between economic development and internal and external security

II. Latin American militaries would prepare for Total War

  1. Basic premises of the idea of Total War

    1. Enormous power of nuclear weapons shifts  struggle to new battlefields

    2. Now conflict between superpowers moves to the periphery

    3.  USA and USSR will not fight each other directly

    4.  Traditional war is between states, external, but total war can be within populations

    5.  Ideological frontiers supersede territorial warfare; battle lines are now ideological, not territorial

  2. Latin American military leaders feared that the USSR would use revolutionary war as path to imperial destiny in Third World

    1. Latin America seen as the front line in this new war

    2.  USSR believed to be ready to use political, economic, psyhcosocial and military means to achieve goal

    3.  Thus Latin American militaries felt justified in widespread use of repression

    4.  Rigorous enforcement of internal security becomes the moral equivalent of fighting occupying army.

    5.  Any active opposition viewed by military as effort by USSR to achieve goals

    6.  Thus internal security becomes as important as external security

    7.  Internal, revolutionary war does not have to armed

    8.  Any challenge to state policies can be, indeed is an act of war.

  3. Fighting the War

    1. Only the military is organized to combat subversion

    2. Subversion now seen as global - internal and external  - and a global strategy was needed to combat it

    3.  National security takes precedence over individual rights

    4.  It is enough that individual rights be used to denigrate established values for them to be abridged. 

III. Suicide of the West

  1. Idea developed by James Burnham (1905-1987) - National Review editor

  2. His ideas influential in development of National Security Doctrine

  3. Saw Western Civilization as being in peril

    1. Cold War struggle is not about defending capitalism or democracy

    2. It is to defend Western Civilization against Eastern-Orthodox-Byzantine Communism

    3. West is a society derived from split from East. Half-Asian Russia never belonged.

    4. West in contraction - loss of colonies, Communism in Cuba and China, etc.

  4. Burnham saw this as a self-inflicted peril

    1. Ultimate risk to West is freedom to destroy freedom.

    2.  Unrestricted democracy is Western suicide

    3.  West leads USSR in all areas, so contraction could only have an intellectual or spiritual explanation

    4.  In face of nuclear holocaust, West had lost its nerve

    5.  Pre-Renaissance Catholicism much stronger than modern liberalism

    6.  Renaissance had introduced humanism, Reformation shattered absolute, single moral authority

    7.  This led to materialist atheism of desacralizing modern liberalism, leaving West morally weak

    8. West unable to kill without spasms of guilt

    9.  West feels guilt over suffering on non-Western peoples, guilt made unbearable by humanism

    10.  Christianity solves the problem of guilt

IV. Role of Development

  1. Militaries believed that there could be no internal security without high degree of economic development

  2.  Must have means to fight - industry, communications, technology, etc.

  3.  Development defined by defense concerns, not population's material needs

  4.  Military governments embark on creation of vast military-industrial complex

  5.  Form alliances with technocrats

  6.  Workers, of course, had to be kept controlled, and labor organizers become enemies of the state.