The Democratic Shield: How Establishing the Rule of Law Protects Countries from Military Coups
47 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2008
Date Written: December 18, 2003
The hypothesis of this paper is explored in three parts. Part I examines the nature of a coup d'etat. In defining the coup d'etat, Part I poses a series of questions: Who carries out military coups? What are the motives of coup planners? What are the necessary components and likelihood of a successful coup? What are the consequences of a military coup? The purpose of these questions is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the mechanics and politics of military coups in order to devise a theory of coup prevention.
Part II presents statistical analysis of historical and recent coup attempts. Any student of international affairs will likely have the intuition that coups happen frequently in certain countries and regions but not in others. The purpose of this section is to determine whether there is any correlation between the likelihood of coups and the level of democracy, using the Polity IV dataset.
Finally, Part III explores the broader question of civilian control of the military, of which military coups is a subset. Based on the findings from Part II and models of successful civilian control of the military in liberal democracies, this section will offer a framework for democratic control of the armed forces in developing countries.
Keywords: rule of law, coup, coups, coup d'etat, coups d'etat, military
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