Foreign Military Training and Soldiers' Influence over Politics
How does foreign military training shape civil-military relations in recipient states? Existing works have mostly analyzed aggregate indicators of foreign training programs, while paying little attention to the content that soldiers are exposed to. Studies also have often fallen prey to "coupism," thereby ignoring more subtle ways in which soldiers can influence politics. In this paper, we disaggregate foreign military training to assess how different course types influence military involvement in politics beyond coups. We argue that soldiers exert higher levels of political influence when they receive domestically oriented training, such as counterinsurgency courses. Empirically we leverage the wide-ranging dissemination of counterinsurgency training after the Cuban Revolution. Analyzing original course data from the School of the Americas, our results show that counterinsurgency courses increased soldiers' influence over politics, whereas training in conventional warfare rather stabilized civilian control. The findings have implications for understanding why and when soldiers capture political institutions and dictate policies.