Ruling But Not Governing

The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey

Book
Foreign policy analyses written by CFR fellows and published by the trade presses, academic presses, or the Council on Foreign Relations Press.

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Politics and Government

Civil-Military Relations in the Middle East

Egypt

Turkey

Algeria

Ruling But Not Governing highlights the critical role that the military plays in the stability of the Egyptian, Algerian, and, until recently, Turkish political systems. This in-depth study demonstrates that while the soldiers and materiel of Middle Eastern militaries form the obvious outer perimeter of regime protection, it is actually the less apparent, multilayered institutional legacies of military domination that play the decisive role in regime maintenance. Steven A. Cook uncovers the complex and nuanced character of the military's interest in maintaining a facade of democracy. He explores how an authoritarian elite hijack seemingly democratic practices such as elections, multiparty politics, and a relatively freer press as part of a strategy to ensure the durability of authoritarian systems. Using Turkey's recent reforms as a point of departure, the study also explores ways external political actors can improve the likelihood of political change in Egypt and Algeria. Ruling But Not Governing provides valuable insight into the political dynamics that perpetuate authoritarian regimes and offers novel ways to promote democratic change.

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Reviews and Endorsements

One of the best books of its kind that I have read in years. It is not simply about militaries, it is about how informal politics itself limits the boundaries of formal democratic institutions. Cook's command of the relevant languages and his capacity to summarize three critical Middle East cases in clear and engaging language makes this a compelling and indeed indispensable piece of work.

Daniel Brumberg, Georgetown University, coeditor of Islam and Democracy in the Middle East