Global Affairs

When old soldiers speak out against the government

It is striking that retired generals in both France and the US have recently issued public appeals against their respective governments. The move suggests it’s time to pay more attention to the underlying forces that could cause a growing rift between the military and the civilian leadership.

French soldiers training during a military drill. One explanation for the recent eruption of military dissatisfaction may be a delayed effect of the end of conscription in Europe. The military no longer reflects society at large. PHOTO: REUTERS

Could we wake up one morning to face news of a military coup in a European country or even in the United States?

The question sounds preposterous. While military officers continue to take power in various countries around the world, military coups are increasingly confined to poorer or developing countries, usually afflicted by a series of deep internal convulsions.

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