On this episode, we are joined by El-Farouk Khaki , a refugee and immigration lawyer, public speaker and human rights activist. Not everyone wants to throw the baby with the bath water. Published online 5 December Nature doi Exchange Discount Summary Preview — Human in Khaki by Ashok Kumar.
In a context of declining traditional funding, several researchers — including a few critical and reflexive ones — have resigned themselves to accepting funding from the military. To understand what is at stake with the militarization of the human and social sciences of war, we can refer to research published on the case of the United States during the Cold War.
Following the path of, among others, the Camelot project, the Pentagon and the CIA massively financed studies in the psychology, sociology, anthropology and political science of countries considered close to the communist enemy.
This production contributed to legitimizing US interventionism in Southeast Asia and support for authoritarian regimes in Latin America. Moreover, these funds came together with the framing of research questions and the marginalization of approaches considered at odds with the dominant orthodoxy. For fear of displeasing its security donors, the academic establishment was reluctant to support these alternative or critical approaches. In extreme cases, academics even fully embraced the political objectives of the US government. In France, advocates of the use of Defence money to fund their research intend to protect themselves against these potential biases by calling for a diversification of funding sources.
However, it is not clear what other sources of funding would be possible. Opening up research funding to foreign states or non-state armed groups would raise ethical and legal issues. As for anti-military NGOs, they do not have the same financial power — to say the least — as the military-industrial complex.
It is therefore difficult to see how they could counterbalance the above-mentioned biases. More fundamentally, scientific research is not about achieving a balance between a variety of stakeholders.
In Germany, there is a relative consensus in the scientific community that the financing of the military-industrial complex is " ethically irresponsible ". Many German universities have even adopted "civil clauses" prohibiting this type of interactions.
This does not mean that the military-industrial complex is not trying to influence German scientific research. However, these attempts generate an outcry. The politicization of this problem has slowed the enthusiasm of supporters of Anglo-Saxon style "war studies". Four years earlier, Otto Suhr Institute students and academics from all over Germany had mobilized against the "Forschungsonderbereich ", a research network collaborating with the German Ministry of Defence in the context of the "intervention" in Afghanistan .
To illustrate this, before the democratic transition in , the Indonesian military self-financed 70 per cent of all military expenditure The reversal of this pattern is considerable, achieved by transferring the responsibility for internal security to the police, although it is worth noting that the Indonesian police force is widely perceived as the most corrupt institution within the country Despite this, military reform has come at a cost, as in order for the military to work with civilian institutions, concessions had to be made.
The Indonesian military still engages in capital-generating activities, but at a significantly reduced level compared to the past.
"Human in Khaki" is a remarkable book from the pen of a police officer. It is a compilation of real life experiences which are like a whiff of fresh air. 'Human in Khaki' strings together real life incidents and anecdotes of an Indian Police Service officer, who having been born and bred in a rural landscape.
Sporadic episodes of civil unrest have also enabled the military to consolidate their position and to secure more autonomous self-financing. An unaddressed issue is the creation of path dependency, particularly in the countries of ex-Indochina. For instance, did French colonialism provide the pathology for khaki capitalism to thrive in Southeast Asia?
Under this, soldiers were not provided with pensions, encouraging the armed forces to undertake capital-generating activities out of long-term self-preservation. While Khaki Capital is predominantly aimed at an academic audience in using a considerable amount of social science terminology, it is a welcome addition to the literature on Southeast Asian governance and military-civil relations.
The number of cases presented within the book enables readers to get a detailed understanding of khaki capital and its impact. The editors conclude that economic influence can be converted into political power. Through comparing cases of the military in Southeast Asia, it is clear that countries with a history of greater political instability support stronger militaries that resist civilian control. Khaki capital generation takes many forms; however, its political impact is always utilised for the same purposes.
Ultimately, this book examines power in the form of the monopoly of violence. The military in these cases uses capital to maintain its hold on this monopoly, resisting attempts to transfer power to civilian authorities. In the future he is intending to do a PhD on natural resource management in Southeast Asia.
Click here to cancel reply. Explore the latest social science book reviews by academics and experts.