How to Prevent Coups d’Etat

How to Prevent Coups d’etat. Erica De Bruin. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020.

“Where coup plotters can coordinate extensively in advance, the coup can be accomplished without visible movements of troops at all. Instead, coup plotters simply announce that they have taken power.”[1]

Erica De Bruin’s How to Prevent Coups d’état: Counterbalancing and Regime Survival was a long-awaited release for a couple of reasons. First, the initial article this book is based on has been cited nearly 100 times in less than three years. Introducing a way to quantify a notoriously difficult to quantify concept changed the discussion in national security and civilian-military relations, and not just among coup scholars. Second, De Bruin is thorough in examining consequences throughout her work. Every policy has both intended and unintended consequences, and this is certainly true of coup-proofing exercises. De Bruin uses both qualitative and quantitative evidence on counterbalancing and coup attempts to be as transparent as possible about past implications of counterbalancing as a coup-proofing strategy.

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