Transitions from military rule in South America: the obligational legitimacy hypothesis/
Mitchell, Michael Joseph.
Bruneau, Thomas C.
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In recent years South America has witnessed a wave of transitions from military rule. These military regimes were different from past interventions in that the military came to power with their own agenda, not to specifically support an interest group, and they came to stay. This thesis examines the transition phenomenon from the military perspective, and hypothesize that these militaries chose to transition from power because of a breakdown in 'obligational legitimacy' (a common identity within the military that justifies their right to rule). Specifically, a causal model in which obligational legitimacy is the dependent variable and nine causal conditions (both internal and external to the military organization) are the independent variables, is constructed and tested. This study considers the recent transitions in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Uruguay, and the non transition in Chile. It is concluded that a breakdown in obligational legitimacy is the key factor leading to the military's decision to leave power. This perspective offers new insights for analysis of transitions, future transitions, and United States foreign policy options regarding military regimes, regimes in transition, and the new democracies of South America
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