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21 2 •  A Theory of Regime Change and Military Interventions How can we explain democratic and authoritarian regimes, their consolidation and short-­ lived coups in Greece and Turkey from the interwar period until when the militaries lost their powers? In this chapter, I offer a framework , based on the costs of toleration and suppression, to explain regime change. I then adapt and develop this framework to theorize regimes, their consolidation, and military interventions. After outlining the theory, I detail the components and determinants of the costs of toleration and suppression. The last sections of this chapter are organized around three questions that illuminate the theory: What did the Greek and Turkish elites consider as threats? How did the costs of toleration translate into regime preferences? How did the costs of suppression translate into regime consolidation? Drawing a Framework One of the most useful frameworks for the emergence of democratic or authoritarian regimes was offered by Robert Dahl in 1971. In Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition, Dahl argued that the chances for the emergence of democracy (or, in his words, polyarchy) depended on two costs: the costs of tolerating and the costs of suppressing an opposition. When it is costly for a government to tolerate opposition, it will deny its opponent the right to participate in policy making. But governments also take into account their power to suppress an opposition, because even when the costs of tolerating an opposition are high, the costs of suppressing it might be higher. The basic premise is that whereas lower costs of toleration give greater security to the government, greater costs of suppression provide greater security to the opposition . “Hence,” Dahl concludes, “conditions that provide a high degree of 22 • Between Military Rule and Democracy mutual security for government and oppositions would tend to generate and to preserve wider opportunities for oppositions to contest the conduct of the government.”1 As a result, when the costs of suppression are higher than the costs of toleration, the likelihood of the emergence of democracy increases. Conversely, when the costs of toleration are higher than the costs of suppression , the likelihood increases for the emergence of authoritarianism (or, in Dahl’s words, hegemony). Figure 2.1 illustrates Dahl’s argument.2 Many later scholars adopted Dahl’s framework to examine the causes of regime change in various countries.3 Among them, one of the most noteworthy efforts has been made by Guillermo O’Donnell, who wrote, two years after Polyarchy, that regime change between oligarchic, populist, and bureaucratic authoritarian regimes in South America were the result of industrial modernization, which, at each stage, allowed different political coalitions to coalesce under various political regimes. Challenging modernization theorists ’ optimistic outlook that economic development would strengthen democracy ,4 O’Donnell showed that history does not move in a linear fashion: some cases of economic development might very well be the cause of authoritarianism rather than democracy. Figure 2.2 demonstrates O’Donnell’s Fig. 2.1. Robert Dahl’s figure of costs of toleration and suppression A Theory of Regime Change and Military Interventions • 23 adoption of Dahl’s diagram to explain regime change in South America over time.5 Increasing modernization led to social differentiation or political pluralization . However, this differentiation was not matched by social integration , which led to mass praetorianism or large-­ scale social movements. The activation of the popular classes increased the costs of excluding them from politics. At the same time, other social sectors perceived praetorianism in the urban centers as threatening. Thus, the costs of toleration increased more than the costs of suppression (at time 3 in fig. 2.2). The propertied classes were willing to eliminate what they perceived as a radical threat by excluding the popular classes from politics. As a result, they allied with the military and established bureaucratic-­authoritarian systems.6 Almost twenty years after O’Donnell’s analysis of the rise of bureaucratic-­ authoritarian regimes in South America, a different interpretation of Dahl’s argumentwasprovidedbyoneofthemostinfluentialworksonregimechange, written by Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Evelyne Huber Stephens, and John Stephens . In Capitalist Development and Democracy, the authors argued that power balances among various classes, the state, and civil society determined regime types.7 They agreed with the findings of modernization theorists that Fig. 2.2. Guillermo O’Donnell’s figure of costs of toleration and suppression 24 • Between Military Rule and Democracy capitalism led to democracy, but they disagreed on the causal mechanisms affecting such a change. The authors followed the historical sociology approach, most notably...


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