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What are the steps for carrying out a military takeover (coup d'état)?

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This answer is developed from the principles in Luttwak's Coup de E’tat: A Practical Handbook, which, as J.I. Morgan, indicates, is a very informative book on coups.

The first thing you need to understand about a coup is that it is not a revolution. As such it does not need the support of the people or the elites. Outside the government leaders that you are going to identify, no one else in the nation really matters. Also, other than to forestall an invasion to reinstate the former ruler, contact/permission with neighboring nations is not needed. Indeed, you want to keep the plot as secret as possible and that means that you only inform those who must be told of the coup.

What is a coup? Simply put, a coup can be compared to a medical transplant. You are removing the head from the body and replacing the head. A successful coup is presented de facto to the body, which, in turn, recognizes its new head. Unlike a revolution or insurrection, even an invasion from outside the country, a coup is surgical and violent only to the extent that it needs to be violent. You can even make the argument that a perfect coup has no violence.

A second consideration is the democratic culture of a country. Another reason a coup in the United States would be very difficult to pull off — I won’t say “impossible”, but the difficulty of pulling off a coup in the United States approaches impossible — is that we have a very democratic, libertarian culture. We simply are not used to someone getting on nationwide television saying, “Follow me and do what I say. I am your leader, the man in power.” Coups work best in authoritarian states where the citizens have a culture of following the man on top.///


interesting looks tough to pull of with a small force

//nd coups are almost always done after business hours when most pesky bystanders are home — of the White House, Congress, Supreme Court building, Pentagon, civilian police stations, all television stations and radio stations, and all airports. I could have my men quickly move and arrest the 20/25 or so most important members of Congress and the nine Supreme Court justices. So when Washington wakes up in the morning, I can have the television and radio stations blaring out messages that I am now in control, //

Edited by Saiga308snipe
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