Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 September 2020
The struggle for power in countries plagued by military interventionism is a brutal business. Autocrats threatened by rival elite rarely show or expect mercy in politics. Indeed, they seldom receive it in the wake of successful putsches. Beyond influence and prestige, what is at stake for apprehensive rulers in weakly institutionalized polities is survival in the most elementary sense of the term. That they prioritize coup-proofing over other considerations when civil–military relations are conflictual is predetermined by the ruthless environment that surrounds them. Therefore, the study of military politics in such countries is largely a function of examining putsches and methods employed by rulers to stem their tide. This is a fundamental assertion of the present study.