Review of “Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups”

The argument Singh makes in his book is simple and compelling: Coup attempts are best understood as coordination games, or “situations in which each individual has an incentive to do what others are doing, and therefore each individual’s choices are based on his or her beliefs about the likely actions of others.” Instead of thinking about coups as battles (e.g., the side with the greatest military power will win) or coups as elections (e.g., the side with the most public support will win), Singh pushes us to think of coup success as being driven by coup-makers’ ability to get others to believe that their coup attempt will be successful.

How do coup-makers convince others their coup attempt will be successful? They convince military actors that the success of the coup has the support of almost everybody in the military and that any possible resistance is minor. One way coup makers have done this is by seizing the main radio broadcast facility.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/09/10/anyone-planning-a-coup-should-read-this-first/

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