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Coup d'état

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A coup d'état (pronounced /ˌku deɪˈtɑ/ also known as a coup, putsch, or pronunciamiento) is a sudden seizure of government power in a state, by a group seeking to depose the current ruling body and replace it with a new one.

A coup d'état often results in a significant disruption of the social order in the state in which it occurs, often resulting in civil war or the establishment of a military dictatorship. A coup which immediately follows another coup is known as playing king of the hill a counter-coup.

Although the term "coup d'état" has been around for centuries, their frequency has increased dramatically in the 20th century due to the rise of the modern state with its professional bureaucracy and standing armed forces, which makes it significantly easier for groups to divorce the ruling apparatuses of the state (like the bureaucracy or army) from the individual leadership of the person or group that the people staging the coup wish to oust.[1]

Coups are distinct from revolutions in that coups usually do not involve large scale popular movements like revolutions do, i.e. coups are typically directed by small, elite groups with an agenda without involving the larger populace, most often involving sections of the military, police, or other security force rather than the populace at large. Coups are most effective in countries with poor economic conditions and low levels of development, because these countries tend to have populations that are both too far removed from political activity (usually due to illiteracy, poor education, or an actual distance exacerbated by poor infrastructure) and too concerned with their material conditions (hunger, poverty, poor living conditions) to care about the politicking occurring among various elite factions in the capital.[2] This allows one elite group to oust another elite group without worrying about popular reactions against the coup. Impoverished African and Latin American countries, for this reason, seem to be particularly susceptible to frequent coups and counter-coups.

Due to their power to alarm and confuse (despite their vagueness), all variants of "coup" terminology are notorious favorites of the conspiracy theorist fringe, and particularly of the "alternative news" outlets that feed their paranoia.

Bloodless coup[edit]

A bloodless coup refers to a a coup that does not involve an assassination or a domestic military show-of-force. A bloodless coup involves unconstitutional or illegal activities in order to seize power from a democratically-elected government. Examples include widespread election fraud, or ignoring or overriding the lawful orders of the president or prime minister.

Egypt, Myanmar/Burma, Thailand, and Turkey are just a few of the modern nations in which notable coups have occurred. Business Insider called Iran's meddling in Lebanon a bloodless coup.[3]

The cranks who cry wolf[edit]

The term "soft coup" has often been used among conspiracy theorists (e.g. Globalresearch,[4] Zero Hedge,[5] Natural News[6]), but has also been used more sparingly in professional journalism.[7][3]

As noted above, variant terms (e.g. "counter-coup") also see widespread crank use.[8]

A certain crank, the career of which is built on proverbially tickling the Bubba nerve of his listeners with a gigant cartoon feather, has also found convenience in the term, as "soft coup" it basically a convenient way of saying (and we paraphrase):[9]

You know [silly revolutionary scenario] that I've been saying is right around the corner [since 1995[10]]?? Well, IT IS happening, but softly — so even though it's not obvious that it's even happening at all, that just means it's happening slowly RIGHT NOW!!

Similarly, talk of "soft coups" is a great clickbait-generating way to package wild speculation on various imaginary power struggles that are allegedly going on RIGHT NOW but just outside of view — e.g. inside the Pentagon.[11] Certainly a place into which Alex Jones (of all people) is likely to have privileged access.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]