July 16, 2016

In Wake of Coup Fail In Turkey, Erdogan And His ISIS Gang Will Gain New Confidence

People celebrating Erdogan's hold on power obviously don't know that he has been supporting ISIS in Syria or don't care. Either way it is very sad to see so many people defend a leader with his track record, elected though he may be.

It was very telling that the people who came to the streets in response to his call were flashing the fascist Grey Wolves symbol and shouting AllahuAkbar. Clearly, these were highly motivated and trained people, not average citizens.

Some of the more absurd commentary on social media even praise this turn of events as a victory for democracy. But what good is democracy if it strengthens a man who kidnaps journalists, locks up critical scholars, intimidates opposition parties, massacres entire towns, utilizes religious rhetoric for personal power, and supports terrorists of the worst kind? In that case democracy is just a shield for tyranny.

A coup may not be the answer, it rarely ever is, but it's also not the worst thing in the world.

An excerpt from, "How Risky And Costly Are Coups, Really?" By Jay Ulfelder, Dart-Throwing Chimp, January 11, 2012:
Coups d’etat don’t happen as often as they used to, but they do still happen. In the past few year, coups have toppled leaders in Honduras, Niger, and arguably Egypt, while coup bids have fizzled in Guinea-Bissau (twice), Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, and, less than a year after the aforementioned success, Niger. Meanwhile, just this morning, we’re hearing fresh rumblings of a possible coup in Pakistan, which last saw the military openly seize power in 1999. (Whether it’s ever really taken its hands off the levers of power at any point in Pakistan’s history is another matter.)

The persistence of coups is a bit of a puzzle, because coup attempts are typically costly to their perpetrators in at least two ways.

1. Most coup attempts fail. From 1955 to 2008, half of all coup bids worldwide failed (158 of 316). As the chart below shows, the failure rate has been much higher in the past two decades than it was in earlier years. And these are just the coup bids that make it all the way to an overt attempt. If our tally also included all of the plots that were uncovered and foiled before they could be put in motion, the failure rate would be much higher. If coup attempts usually fail, and the punishment for a failed coup is often imprisonment or death, then coup bids would seem to be a pretty risky gamble for their plotters.