Stratocracy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

A stratocracy (from στρατός, stratos, "army" and κράτος, kratos, "dominion", "power") is a form of government headed by military chiefs.[1] It is not the same as a military dictatorship or military junta where the military's political power is not enforced or even supported by other laws. Rather, stratocracy is a form of military government in which the state and the military are traditionally or constitutionally the same entity, and government positions are always occupied by commissioned officers and military leaders. Citizens with mandatory and/or voluntary military service, or who have been honorably discharged, have the right to elect and/or govern. The military's political power is supported by law, the constitution, and the society. A stratocracy therefore is more often a meritocracy and does not have to be autocratic by nature in order to preserve its right to rule.

Notable examples of stratocracies[edit]

Modern stratocracies[edit]

The closest modern equivalent to a stratocracy is the State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar (Burma), which is arguably different from most other military dictatorships in that it completely abolished the civilian constitution and legislature. A new constitution that came into effect in 2010 cemented the military's hold on power through mechanisms such as reserving 25% of the seats in the legislature for military personnel.[2]

Historical stratocracies[edit]

Cossacks were predominantly East Slavic people who became known as members of democratic, semi-military and semi-naval communities,[3] predominantly located in Ukraine and in Southern Russia. They inhabited sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper,[4] Don, Terek, and Ural river basins, and played an important role in the historical and cultural development of both Russia and Ukraine.[5]

From a young age, male Spartiates were trained for battle and put through grueling challenges intended to craft them into fearless warriors. In battle, they had the reputation of being the best soldiers in Greece, and the strength of Sparta's hoplite forces let the city become the dominant state in Greece throughout much of the Classical period. No other city-state would dare to attack Sparta even though it could only muster a force of about 8000 Spartiates during the zenith of its dominance.[6]

Fictional stratocracies[edit]

Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein: the novel's setting is sometimes considered a form of stratocracy as voting and public office are restricted to those who have given national service. The focus in the book from this group are veterans, although service in the military is not the only form of public service that enables a person to become a citizen with full democratic rights.

Galactic Empire: one of the main factions in the fictional universe of Star Wars, was a totalitarian stratocracy de facto.

Fullmetal Alchemist: The government of Amestris is an autocratic stratocracy under Fuhrer King Bradley, as the Amestrian state military performs all governmental functions and nearly all social functions. For instance: the military performs all necessary police activities, administers all regions of the nation as the effective government, alchemists bound to the military have sole access to many of the most advanced alchemical research materials, the constitutional position of head of state/head of government (the Fuhrer) is always the top general in the military, social and political advancement is almost impossible without a corresponding rise through the military ranks.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bouvier, John; Gleason, Daniel A. (1999). Institutes of American law. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-886363-80-9. 
  2. ^ Burma 'approves new constitution'. BBC News. May 15, 2008.
  3. ^ Cossacks lived along major rivers -- Dnieper, Don, Volga, Terek, Ural, Amur -- and had excellent naval capabilities and skills-- they were excellent fishermen and sea merchants in peaceful times and executed expert naval service in war times. Cossacks combined features of US cowboys, US cavalry, and the US Navy.
  4. ^ R.P. Magocsi, A History of Ukraine, pp. 179–181
  5. ^ Count Leo Tolstoy, a noted author, wrote "that all Russian history has been made by Cossacks. No wonder Europeans call all of us that...Our people as a whole wishes to be Cossacks."
  6. ^ Harley, T. Rutherford. The Public School of Sparta, Greece & Rome, Vol. 3, No. 9 (May 1934) pp. 129-139.