Americans’ views on the relationship between civilian leaders and the military are disturbing. When it comes to decisions about the use of force, recent surveys demonstrate that Americans are inclined to disempower civilians and defer to the professional military’s judgment. Nor are Americans much troubled by active-duty, let alone retired, military leaders publicly intervening in policy debates. Moreover, Americans’ opinions on the subject are driven by their partisan political commitments. When Donald Trump was in the White House, this meant that Democrats were surprisingly deferential to the military, which they hoped would act as a check on this president whom they distrusted and often reviled. Read the full article here.
Co-author Robert Ralston is a postdoctoral Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft Fellow at MIT's Security Studies Program and the International Security Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.