Transitions From Military Rule in Latin America: The Obligational Legitimacy Hypothesis
South America, and other areas of the world, have witnessed waves of transitions from military rule. The military regimes were different from past interventions in that the military came to power with their own agenda, not to specifically support an interest group, and in most cases they came to stay. This book examines the transition phenomenon from the military perspective, and hypothesizes that these militaries chose to transition from power because of a breakdown in "obligational legitimacy" (a common identity within the military that justifies their right to rule). Specifically, a causal model in which obligational legitimacy is the dependent variable and nine causal conditions (both internal and external to the military organization) are the independent variables, is constructed and tested. This study considers the transitions in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, and Chile. It is concluded that a breakdown in obligational legitimacy is the key factor leading to the military's decision to leave power. This perspective offers new insights for analysis of transitions, future transitions, and United States foreign policy options regarding military regimes, regimes in transition, and the potential of new democracies. Presently out of print. Please contact author for a copy.