External Threats and Democratization from Military Rule: Burma 1988 and South Korea 1987

Bae, Joonbum

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What effect does the international security environment have on democratization? This paper argues that for militaries in power, sustained external threats facilitate democratization by credibly assuring the armed forces of continued influence after leaving office. It tests implications of this argument for 1) the opposition’s demands to the military during political crises over democratization, 2) the degree of the regime’s flexibility towards the opposition, 3) the level of violence during crises over democracy, and 4) the outcome of the crises. Utilizing a comparative case study of ruling militaries in Burma and South Korea, it finds strong support for each of the implications.

Issue Date
KDI School of Public Policy and Management
Series Title
KDIS Working Paper 22-02
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