The impact of colonialism on ethnic group identity and the emergence of discrepancies between groups should not be underestimated in developing countries, specifically in post-colonial ones. In particular, the colonial past significantly contributes to ethnic discords as many antagonistic groups were reunited into a single colony whereas some individual tribes were divided between several future countries.
Such situation is typical of the countries in Asia, Africa and Middle East where colonial powers often ignited ethnic disputes by directing particular groups against each other. In other words, they resort to a “divide and conquer” tactics to take control of the local population.
According to Handelman, “[g]iven the enormous number of tribal groups in Africa, even if the European powers had shown greater ethnic sensibility, many multiethnic nations would have inevitably developed” (99). With regard to this, the multiethnic countries with colonial past are more inclined to develop a strong sense of collective identity within a particular ethnic or tribal group.
The European colonialism has contributed to a number of conflicts emerged among the African and Asian nations. The colonial divisions led to serious conflicts and deaths based on cultural and ethnical frictions. This particularly concerned the lands of East Timor that was withdrawn by Portugal and attached by neighboring Indonesia against the local population’s will (Handelman 100).
The same tensions were undertaken by the African ethnic groups. In general, the colonial past has left the trace of ethnic hostility between ethnic groups and has contributed to the development of chauvinistic ideology.
There are three major theories of ethnic development and origin that explain the emergence of conflicts between racial, ethnic, tribal, and nationality groups: modernization theory, dependency theory, and globalization theory. All these theories consider positive and negative aspects of different phenomena influencing ethnic identity development.
With regard to the above, modernization theorists are inclined to think that such factors as “literacy, urbanization, and modern values” can “mobilize various ethnic groups and set them against each other” (Handelman 114). Despite optimistic forecasts established before, these factors can become the main stumble block for the conflicting groups.
According to dependency theory, ethnical conflict can arise from countries’ colonial past. In particular, the time of European colonialism was marked by the struggle of ethnic groups in Asia and Africa for independence. During the post-colonial period, the previously suppressed ethnic antagonisms came to the forth. Living in a new political order, theses groups are now fighting for state resources, such as schools, roads, and other important issues.
Finally, the globalization theorists tend to believe that this process of integration can contribute to the homogenization of all existing cultures in the world. However, this assumption is not valid as many ethnic and cultural tensions have emerged as a result of the imposition of global culture and suppression of local ethnicity.
The rise of democracy all over the world has caused the opposite reaction. Despite the fact that a 1985-1995 period was marked by leverage of rates of countries making transition to democracy, this temporary euphoria was terminated due to the consequences the process brought.
Furthermore, the emergence of democracy as a result of modernization process has caused mixed outlooks toward this phenomenon that was retreated in many post-colonial countries. The problem is that “…democracy is most likely to emerge and survive when certain social and cultural conditions are in place” (Ingehart and Welzel 7).
Alternatively, ignorance of cultural issues will not positively contribute to modernization process in the developing countries. The decline of democracy has been observed worldwide due to the fact that developing countries are now less convinced that liberal democracy is the best way to an optimistic future.
While discussing the character and nature of military intervention, political science resorts to two opposite perspectives. The first one is focused on the basic characteristics of the military institutions whereas the second one is connected with the analysis of a wider political environment in which the armed forces operate.
In order to understand what features trigger the emergence of coups d’etat, it is necessary to outline the main features of military institutions (Handelman 246). First, the majority of military institutions tend to be socially and internally cohesive.
Specifically, they should be able successfully intervene in domestic economy and generate stable political leadership. Regarding the ideological orientation of the armed forces enabling coups d’etat, it should be noted that the majority of military intervention bears a right-wing character, though the coup itself is politically neutral.
Finally, due to the fact that the coup may not involve masses of people to cease the power, the military intervention should come from the government itself. In other words, the armed forces should have a direct access to governmental institutions allowing them to have a potential influence on the state.
Discussing the Difference between Theories Arguing That “Middle Class Is a Stabilizing Force” Being a Buffer against Military Interventionism and Theories Employing Economic Explanation for Military Intervention
Among theories withdrawing the necessity of military interventions believe that middle class can act as buffer against military intervention. At the same time, there are more conservative theories explaining the necessity to enhance the security system of the country and insure peaceful existence of the world society (Handelman 254).
Though these two schools of thoughts seem to be strictly opposed to each other, there is still a connection between those. Like conservative military institutions, liberal movements seek to ensure country for safety and economical stability where a consistent and strong military framework serves as a solid foundation for country’s security (Handelman 267).
At the same time, they also believe that middle class can hamper the process of military intervention because they stand closer to the armed forces and they realize that their enactment would bring no benefit to the globalized community.
Another common thing about both theoretical movements is that both approaches are congruent with the necessity to proliferate democracy and protection of human right and theories. This particularly concerns democracy peace theories arguing that there should be equality of human rights all over the world irrespective of economic level.
The major contrast between the presented theoretical frameworks lies in the methods and strategies they use to achieve their goals. In particular, liberal theorists are more prone to use peaceful methods of intervention believing that each group has the right to receive aid. In their turn, conservative theorists believe that military intervention should be carried out irrespective of the group needs, but with reliance on the situation.
Ingehart, Ronald, and Welzel, Christian. How Development Leads to Democracy: What We Know about Modernization. In Robert Griffiths. Annual Editions: Developing World. 11/12. US: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print.
Handelman, Howard. Challenge of Third World Development. US: Longman. 2009. Print.