Argentina and Brazil: Contrasting the Impacts of Populism and Social Democracy on Military Institutions

Prof. Daniel Zirker
Prof. Carlos Waisman

Nestor and Cristina Kirchner in Argentina and Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil led contrasting political administrations in their contemporary presidencies (Kirchners, 2003-2015; Lula and Rousseff, 2003-2016), and may offer a unique opportunity to explore the variable impacts of populism, the Kirchners' general orientation, and social democracy, that of Lula and Rousseff, on major national institutions. One such institution, traditionally one of the strongest in both countries, is that of the military. While neither of these administrations represented 'pure' forms of their respective regimes, they share enough characteristics to allow us the potential for fruitful analysis of the impact of these two very different approaches on military policy. The study is based on field research (elite interviews) and macro-analyses of Brazilian and Argentinean scholars.