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About Western Europe’s military and police forces

Kamil Churaev

In principle, an army is against people. It is confusing that the army is divided into German, Russian, Danish. This creates the illusion that the armies are different and act in the interests of their own people.

There is really only one major distinction between one form of army and another. In some places the armed forces rule the government, in others they are curbed by the government and not employed to deal with issues of civil administration. For example, in the case of the Netherlands, military psychopathy is kept under strict control and deprived of even the smallest opportunity to influence civil processes. In that country, everything military is under strict supervision. Military parades don’t take place. Violence as a method of resolving problems is still considered only in completely exceptional cases. And society is actively working to exclude monopolized violence from its arsenal.

These polar opposites in army-government relations are the result of age-old processes. In one state there’s power (as we find in militarized countries, with many consequences typical for such systems), and in another — governance. This is characteristic of developed demilitarized countries. They’re also often anti-clerical, and always prioritize social welfare.

As for the remaining security forces, we find a similar distinction. In militarized states the police are part of the army — a younger brother, copying the elder’s behavior. In civil society the police are one of the instruments of governance, living out its remaining time under the constant control of society.

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