Combating Coups d’état in Africa, 1950–2014
- 433 Downloads
Recent years have seen African militaries attempt coups in virtually every geographic region, from Egypt to Lesotho and Guinea to Madagascar. They have targeted established democracies, infantile democratic experiments, increasingly authoritarian executives, power vacuums brought on by leader death, and—most recently in Burundi—leaders attempting to circumvent constitutional limitations on their tenure. These continuing acts perpetrated against regimes with such varied backdrops suggests that coups still afflict a wide range of states and remain a continuing threat to leader tenure. This is in contrast to the African Union’s emphasis on curbing the practice. This paper explores the African Union’s effectiveness to combat military coups, primarily focusing on the potential for sanctions to act as a deterrent to would-be coup plotters. The paper also considers potential limitations on the African Union’s (AU’s) ability to project power against certain states. Analyses for the years 1950–2014 indicate Africa has in fact witnessed a meaningful decline in coup activity, an impact even more pronounced than the end of the Cold War. Results also indicate that the AU’s effectiveness in deterring coups is not constrained in cases where they are expected to lack leverage.
KeywordsAfrica Coups African Union Regional Organizations Leverage
- Acemoglu A, Robinson J. A theory of political transitions. American Economic Review 2001;91(4):938–63.Google Scholar
- Barbieri K, Keshk O. Correlates of War Project Trade Data Set Codebook, Version 3.0. Online: http://correlatesofwar.org. 2012.
- Boniface DS. Is there a democratic norm in the Americas? An analysis of the Organization of American States. Glob Gov. 2002;8(3):368–81.Google Scholar
- Brooke J. A few potholes on the road to democracy. New York Times. 7 January 1995.Google Scholar
- Collier P. The bottom billion: why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2007.Google Scholar
- David S. Third World Coups d’état and International Security. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1987.Google Scholar
- Decalo S. Coups and army rule in Africa: motivations and constraints. 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1990.Google Scholar
- First R. The barrel of a gun: political power in Africa and the coup d’état. London: Penguin Press; 1970.Google Scholar
- Hakim P. Good news from Paraguay: a coup d’état falls flat. Christian Science Monitor. 30 May 1996.Google Scholar
- Karns M, Mingst K. International organizations: the politics and processes of global governance. Lynne Rienner: Boulder; 2004.Google Scholar
- Meldrume, A. Coups no longer acceptable: OAU. Africa Recovery 1997;11(1). http://www.un.org/en/africarenewal/subjindx/111gov.htm
- Omorogbe EY. A club of incumbents? The African Union and coups d’état. Vanderbilt J Transnational Law. 2011;44:123–54.Google Scholar
- Piccone T. International mechanisms for protecting democracy. Washington, DC: Democracy Coalition Project; 2004.Google Scholar
- Ravenhill J. Regionalism. In: Ravenhill J, editor. Global political economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2005. p. 116–47.Google Scholar
- Shannon M, Thyne C, Dugan A, Hayden S. The international community’s reactions to coups. Forthcoming: Foreign Policy Analysis; 2015.Google Scholar
- SIPRI. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 2014.Google Scholar
- Thyne C, Powell J, Hayden S, VanMeter E. The influence of post-coup signals on regime survival. Manuscript. 2016.Google Scholar
- Tomz M, Wittenberg J, King G. CLARIFY: software for interpreting and presenting statistical results. Version 2.1.” Stanford University, University of Wisconsin, and Harvard University; 2003.Google Scholar
- Wobig J. Defending democracy with international law: preventing coup attempts with democracy clauses. Forthcoming: Democratization; 2014.Google Scholar
- World Bank. World development indicators. Available: www.worldbank.org 2014.