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The Durability of Client Regimes

Foreign Sponsorship and Military Loyalty, 1946–2010

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2020

Abstract

Conventional wisdom holds that great power patrons prop up client dictatorships. But this is generally assumed rather than systematically analyzed. This article provides the first comprehensive analysis of the relationship between foreign sponsorship and authoritarian regime survival, using an original data set of all autocratic client regimes in the postwar period. The results demonstrate that patronage from Western powers—the United States, France, and the United Kingdom—is not associated with client regime survival. Rather, it’s only Soviet sponsorship that reduced the risk of regime collapse. The author explains this variation by considering the effects of foreign sponsorship on the likelihood of military coups d’état. He argues that the Soviet Union directly aided its clients by imposing a series of highly effective coup prevention strategies. By contrast, the US and its allies didn’t provide such aid, leaving regimes vulnerable to military overthrow.

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Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Trustees of Princeton University 2020

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