The Democratic Coup d'Etat

The Democratic Coup d'Etat

by Ozan O. Varol

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Overview

The term coup d'état—French for stroke of the state—brings to mind coups staged by power-hungry generals who overthrow the existing regime, not to democratize, but to concentrate power in their own hands as dictators. We assume all coups look the same, smell the same, and present the same threats to democracy.

It's a powerful, concise, and self-reinforcing idea. It's also wrong.

In The Democratic Coup d'État, Ozan Varol advances a simple, yet controversial, argument: Sometimes, a democracy is established through a military coup. Covering events from the Athenian Navy's stance in 411 B.C. against a tyrannical home government, to coups in the American colonies that ousted corrupt British governors, to twentieth-century coups that toppled dictators and established democracy in countries as diverse as Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, and Colombia, the book takes the reader on a gripping journey.

Connecting the dots between these neglected events, Varol weaves a balanced narrative that challenges everything we thought we knew about military coups. In so doing, he tackles several baffling questions: How can an event as undemocratic as a military coup lead to democracy? Why would imposing generals-armed with tanks and guns and all-voluntarily surrender power to civilian politicians? What distinguishes militaries that help build democracies from those that destroy them?

Varol's arguments made headlines across the globe in major media outlets and were cited critically in a public speech by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Written for a general audience, this book will entertain, challenge, and provoke, but more importantly, serve as a reminder of the imperative to question the standard narratives about our world and engage with all ideas, no matter how controversial.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190626020
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 941,155
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ozan O. Varol is a rocket scientist turned award-winning law professor and author. He was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, and came to the United States to attend Cornell University, where he served on the operations team for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers mission. Varol received his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law, where he graduated first in his class. He is currently a tenured law professor at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

Table of Contents

PART I : FROM SOLDIERS TO POLITICIANS

1. Love Ballads, Carnations, and Coups
2. The Romance of Democratic Transitions
3. In the Land of the Blind
4. Hogan's Heroes
5. A Different Type of Stroke

PART II : BRUTUS AND CASSIUS

6. Friends with Benefits
7. With Friends Like These
8. Musical Chairs
9. The Glorious Coup

PART III: PRAETORIANS AND GUARDIANS

10. An Army of Civilians
11. Meritocracy and Nepotism
12. The Enemy Within
13. Foreign Affairs

PART IV: AN ALLIANCE OF CONVENIENCE

14. Competition and Power
15. Freedom and Order

PART V: MEET THE NEW BOSS, SAME AS THE OLD BOSS

16. A New Order
17. Golden Parachutes
18. Between Scylla and Charybdis

PART VI: SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

19. The Retreat
20. The Broken Promise

PART VII: HOW THIS ENDS

21. The Awakening
22. Hollow Hope
23. Horror Vacui
24. Synergy
25. Cincinnatus

Acknowledgments

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