Coup-Proofing

More

John Barry describes how dictators maintain power:

[T]he real key to regime survival has been what RAND Corporation analyst James Quinlivan calls “coup-proofing.” In an influential 1999 study, Quinlivan itemized the basic safeguards for dictatorships. First: Consolidate an inner core bound to the regime by “family, ethnic, and religious loyalties”in essence, a mafia, with goodfellas in various guises protecting the big guy’s back (and their own; if he goes down, so do they).

Second: Create a parallel military devoted to regime protection, like Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, which does the supreme leader’s bidding while the remnants of the shah’s army stand by. Third: Maintain multiple secret police, security, and espionage services that spend much of their time keeping each other in check.

And the regular army still has to be bought off. ... Coup-proofing isn’t cheap. The region’s big oil producers can usually afford it, especially when crude prices are as high as they are now. Regimes without substantial oil reserves tend to rely on foreign patrons.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down