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The storming of the US Capitol building in January 2021 was a presidential attempt at a self-coup. To make the case, this article reviews elements of the Capitol assault and the events leading up to it, in light of the key conceptual components of a self-coup, and how those compare to attributes of other kinds of attacks on governments. The Trump self-coup will then be compared and contrasted empirically to other self-coups perpetrated by leaders. It is found that what separates successful self-coups from those that fail is whether the military backs the undertaking. Thus, a section is included on US military behaviour in response to Trump's attempts to gain military adherence for his political actions.
Are interactions between soldiers, politicians, and civilians improving? Every nation has to come to grips with achieving a more enduring harmony between government, the armed forces, and society if it aspires to strengthen its democracy. While there is an abundance of studies on civil-military affairs, few examine all three of these actors, let alone establish any standards with which to assess whether progress is being made. This ambitious book devises a novel framework equipped with six dimensions, each of which opens a unique window into civil-military affairs, and which form a more integrated view of the subject. Those dimensions are accompanied by a set of benchmarks and metrics that assess progress and compare one country against another. The framework is applied to case studies of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay, with the conviction that insights could be gleaned that may be relevant elsewhere. Ultimately, by unpacking the civil-military relation into its various dimensions, this study has shed light on what it takes to transform what was once a politically-minded military into an organization dedicated to serving a democratic state and society.