The Myth of the Coup Contagion

Issue Date October 2022
Volume 33
Issue 4
Page Numbers 74–88
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The recent spate of coups and coup attempts—six successful and three failed attempts in the span of twelve months—is not an indication that coup activity will return to the high levels seen during the Cold War. There is no evidence of a contagious wave; what we are seeing is simply the coincidence of already coup-prone countries (mainly in Africa) having coup attempts in the same period. These attempts were also not driven by increased insurgent activity or by western training of these militaries. However, this flurry of coup activity has revealed that post–Cold War norms against coups have eroded and will likely continue to get weaker, making a return to post–Cold War levels of coup activity unlikely.

About the Author

Naunihal Singh is associate professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College and the author of Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups (2014).

View all work by Naunihal Singh

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