Increased mechanization of the army reduces the risk of coup d’etat

humvee

Credit: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

A country’s risk of a coup is negatively related to the degree of mechanization of its army, understood as the degree to which the military depends on tanks and armored vehicles in terms of personnel.

This is the main conclusion of a study involving Abel Escriba-Folch, a senior lecturer in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at UPF, along with Ioannis Schulis of the University of Essex (UK), Marius Merle of the University of Munich (Germany) and Tobias. Bömelt, also from the University of Essex.

“Although we do not question the principle that mechanization strengthens the army, we show that more powerful military forces do not necessarily pose a greater threat to incumbent governments.

The study, recently published in the journal Comparative policy researchwas one of the first to theoretically and empirically connect the structure of the military forces with the way the coups took place, as well as the degree of mechanization of the army with the civil-military relations of the states.

According to the authors of the coup a higher degree of mechanization of armed forces increases their potential implementation costs and hinders coordination, thus deterring potential conspirators.

A study that challenges the logic of the “guardianship dilemma”

The cornerstone of civil-military relations is the so-called custody dilemma: dependence on the armed forces to protect against external and internal threats puts the military in a central position that they can use to take power. The dilemma therefore means that a stronger army must pose a greater threat to a country. The paradox lies in the fact that the institution itself, created to protect the political system, receives enough power to become a threat to the system itself.

“Our study examines the practical implications of this dilemma and, in some circumstances, challenges the idea that more powerful military poses a greater threat to incumbent governments,” the authors said. They added: “While we do not necessarily question the principle that mechanization strengthens the military, we show that more powerful military forces do not necessarily pose a greater threat to incumbent governments.”

The availability of tanks, vehicles and weapons would help the military stay happy with the status quo and reduce the incentive to carry out a coup.

The availability of tanks, vehicles and weapons would help the military stay happy with the status quo and reduce the incentive to carry out a coup. But, as the authors suggest, this will not be the only mechanism: the military gives priority to avoiding fratricidal conflicts between army members, and mechanization may increase the risks of confrontation and its costs, as well as lack of coordination between units. In the context of uncertainty and high potential implementation costs in an urban context, a coup is less likely.

For their study, the authors performed a quantitative analysis and uses various techniques for forecasting and forecasting and controlling stability, a consolidated state-level database of mechanization levels and coups for four decades (1979-2019) of all military organizations in the world, including democracies. They focused on the ground forces, as in most cases they are the ones carrying out coups.

Mechanization can harm the fight against state riots

One highlight of the study is that structural changes in the organization and equipment of armies, including mechanization, can lead to indirect negative consequences. “The result we have achieved complements or is related to those of other authors who have found that higher levels of mechanization reduce the capacity of the armed forces to fight insurgents, ie their ability to resist internal armed insurgents, which leads to longer civil wars and a lower share of government victory in these conflicts, “said Abel Escriba-Folch.

Therefore, according to the authors, the fact that governments are increasing their investment in mechanization is useful in reducing the risk of coups, but, conversely, can have detrimental effects on the army’s effectiveness against insurgents. “Investing in mechanization means that governments are shifting the risk of coups to internal riots, which are less common and have a lower success rate,” they concluded.


Is American military training incubating coups in Africa? The jury is still out


More info:
Ioannis Chulis et al., How Mechanization Shapes Coups, Comparative policy research (2022). DOI: 10.1177 / 00104140221100194

Provided by Universitat Pompeu Fabra – Barcelona

Quote: Increased mechanization of the army reduces the risk of a coup (2022, June 21), extracted on June 21, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-army-mechanization-coup-dtat.html

This document is subject to copyright. Except for any fair transaction for the purpose of private research or study, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.