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De Bruin Publishes Washington Post Op-ed


 Erica De Bruin
Erica De Bruin

Associate Professor of Government Erica De Bruin co-authored an op-ed titled “How this wave of African coups differs from previous ones” in The Washington Post on Feb. 25. Her essay explained how military leaders are likely to turn to elections to maintain power.

There have been 11 coup attempts in Africa since 2019, including those in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, and Sudan.  De Bruin and her co-author, University of Edinburgh lecturer Maggie Dwyer, wrote that several aspects of these coup attempts are distinct from those in the past. The global war on terror has given militaries in West and Central Africa, in particular, an elevated role in politics, and a lack of support for the troops in the fight against insurgents has been a root grievance of several of the coup plotters. 

Compared to prior coups in the region, coup plotters in this wave have been younger than average and include few generals. This matters because—as De Bruin's research has found—coups from the lower ranks tend to involve more violence. 

In these recent coups, social media has also made it harder for both coup plotters and governments to monopolize information. And regional organizations have taken a harsher response, putting pressure on countries to hold elections. However, the authors emphasized that this doesn't mean an end to military rule, as coup leaders have become quite adept at using elections to remain in power. 

The op-ed concluded by highlighting the risk of repression in the coming months, as coup leaders take steps to consolidate their power. 

De Bruin also participated in a podcast on the New Books Network focused on her book How to Prevent Coups D'État on March 7. She recorded another podcast for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Feb. 22 titled “Coup D'états Rise as Democracy Declines.” According to the Council’s website, this podcast series, titled “Deep Dish Podcast,” interviews “international thought leaders, journalists, and other experts to go beyond the headlines on the critical global issues shaping US foreign policy.”

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