US political scientist talks about the US president's relationship with the military at FGV EBAPE
On August 8, 2019, FGV EBAPE sponsored the lecture "President Trump and his Generals" held at the School's headquarter in Rio de Janeiro, as an activity of the Professional Master in Public Administration (MAP).
The event presented Professor David Pion-Berlin, considered one of the world's most celebrated specialists in civil-military relations. Professor Octavio Amorim Neto of MAP's Permanent Faculty Center (NDP) organized the activities. Professors and students from FGV EBAPE and the Army Command and General Staff College (ECEME) participated in the event and had the opportunity to understand better the US political context under President Donald Trump.
Pion-Berlin described President Trump's relations with the military, explaining that high-ranking officers were chosen to fill positions that were historically held by civilians. Nevertheless, President Trump still makes all the decisions regarding national security issues. Often military advisers are not consulted on political choices made by the White House. As a result, there is uncertainty as to how the Trump administration would act in a possible international crisis.
Ugo Medrado, a student of the FGV EBAPE academic masters and participant of the event, stressed that the lecture by Professor Pion-Berlin helped to understand the US political conjuncture under Trump. "The military in the US, as well as in Brazil, is very prestigious to the public. As a result, rising politicians have been trying to lure military personnel into their surroundings to benefit from this prestige. The military, however, has the principle of neutrality concerning civil policy." Pion-Berlin concluded his presentation, emphasizing that, by giving a larger space at the highest level of government for the military, Trump set new precedents in civil-military relations in comparison to the US political tradition since the eighteenth century.
David Pion-Berlin is a professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside. He is internationally recognized for his research in civil-military relations, defense, security, and human rights. He also serves as a consultant and speaker to the US Army.