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)

A Fascinating Short Film About the Multiverse

If life is a series of infinite possibilities, what does it mean to be alive?


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

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down