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Defect or Defend

Military Responses to Popular Protests in Authoritarian Asia

Terence Lee

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Why do certain militaries brutally suppress popular demonstrations, while others support the path to political liberalization by backing mass social movements?

Although social movements and media can help destabilize authoritarian governments, not all social protest is effective or culminates in the toppling of dictatorships. Frequently, the military’s response determines the outcome.

In Defect or Defend, Terence Lee uses four case studies from Asia to provide insight into the military’s role during the transitional phase of regime change. Lee compares popular uprisings in the Philippines and…

Why do certain militaries brutally suppress popular demonstrations, while others support the path to political liberalization by backing mass social movements?

Although social movements and media can help destabilize authoritarian governments, not all social protest is effective or culminates in the toppling of dictatorships. Frequently, the military’s response determines the outcome.

In Defect or Defend, Terence Lee uses four case studies from Asia to provide insight into the military’s role during the transitional phase of regime change. Lee compares popular uprisings in the Philippines and Indonesia—both of which successfully engaged military support to bring down authoritarian rule—with protest movements in China and Burma which were violently suppressed by military forces.

Lee’s theory of "high personalism" and power-sharing among the armed forces leadership provides a framework for understanding the critical transitory phases of democratization. He uses this theory to review and assess Eastern Europe’s democratization events in 1989, the Colored Revolutions of the early 2000s, and the protests and revolutions unfolding in the Middle East. This book will appeal to students and scholars of comparative politics, Asian studies, security studies, and international relations, as well as defense policymakers.

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Defect or Defend

Terence Lee

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Reviews

A model for case study research.

Defect or Defend not only provides an interesting and provocative argument but also includes detailed empirical material that allows the reader to extend that analysis even further.

...a valuable contribution to the literature on popular revolt and regime change.

The strength of Defect or Defend lies in its exploration of a neglected issue: military defection from authoritarian rule during popular uprisings.

This book is an important contribution to the literature on Southeast Asian civil-military relations. Lee tackles an important problem—how the armed forces of authoritarian regimes respond to popular upheavals and why—with great competence: his research is exhaustive and he presents his case clearly and persuasively. This volume should be on the shelf of all those interested in the region and its armed forces.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
264
ISBN
9781421415161
Illustration Description
8 line drawings
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1. The Military and People Power Revolts
2. Authoritarian Institutions: Power Sharing, Personalism, and Military Defection
3. Personalism in the Philippines: The Fall of Marcos (1986)
4

Acknowledgments
1. The Military and People Power Revolts
2. Authoritarian Institutions: Power Sharing, Personalism, and Military Defection
3. Personalism in the Philippines: The Fall of Marcos (1986)
4. Personalism in Indonesia: The Fall of Suharto (1998)
5. Power-sharing Authoritarianism in China and Burma
6. Thinking Comparatively: The Military and People Power Revolts
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Terence Lee

Terence Lee is an assistant professor of political science at the National University of Singapore.