On this week’s podcast, Marc Lynch speaks with Caitlin Talmadge about her her book The Dictator’s Army: Battlefield Effectiveness in Authoritarian Regimes. Her book works to explain why authoritarian militaries sometimes fight very well―and the opposite. Talmadge is an assistant professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.
“In my book, I present a different argument noting that we really have to look— not only at regimes military capabilities an external threats that it faces— but we have to look at the internal threats that may be facing a particular regime. In particular, in situations where authoritarian regimes consider their own military perhaps to be a liability because the military actually has the ability to overthrow the regime in a coup.”
In the podcast, Talmadge goes into detail on the dynamics of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and what it says about each country’s governments.