In This Review

Authoritarian Regimes In Transition
Authoritarian Regimes In Transition
Edited by Hans Binnendijk
Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Service Institute, 1987, 336 pp

The project that produced this book had three main aims: to clarify what happened, and why, in several countries that have recently seen authoritarian dictatorships overthrown; to see if there are any common patterns and lessons; and to consider how an outside power such as the United States may best adapt to or influence such situations in its own interests. The cases include five where the transition "went awry" (Iran, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, El Salvador), five where the turn was to democracy (Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina and the Philippines) and one where the outcome defies description (Haiti). The contributors are U.S. diplomats who were directly involved in the events, plus some scholars who are specialists in the affairs of the countries in question. The conclusions are well worth close study by those who will have to cope with such revolutions and by those who would presume to judge them.