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The Democratic Coup d'État$
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Ozan Varol

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190626013

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190626013.001.0001

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The Enemy Within

The Enemy Within

(p.89) 12 The Enemy Within
The Democratic Coup d'État

Ozan O. Varol

Oxford University Press

The armed forces serve as the iron fist of some dictatorships. For several reasons, a military whose primary mission is fighting the political enemy within is in a poor position to serve as a democratic catalyst. If the military has taken sides on domestic conflicts and is viewed as a partisan institution that enforces government policies—particularly unpopular ones—it risks cutting its ties to society. As a result the populace may outright reject the military’s attempts to promote democratic institution building. In contrast, a military that hasn’t been mired in domestic conflicts is more likely to be viewed as a legitimate state institution in an illegitimate state apparatus. In times of regime crisis, these militaries remain free of the stigma of having pushed people around. This credibility better allows the military to lead a democratic regime change.

Keywords:   Francisco Franco, Spanish military, 2011 coup in Egypt, Tunisian military, Egyptian military, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Arab Spring

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