Soldiering on: The Reagan Administration and Redemocratisation in Chile, 1983-1986

Morris Morley, Christopher McGillion

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article examines the circumstances in which the Reagan administration began to rethink its support of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile and shift toward advocating a return to democratic civilian rule. It argues this shift was closely related to calculations that US interests might best be served by severing ties with the incumbent regime, but only so long as two vital interrelated issues were resolved to Washington's satisfaction: the nature of the movement likely to inherit political power, and the survival of key institutions of the autocratic Chilean state. To the extent that the incoming government did not portend a challenge to existing constitutional and economic arrangements, and to the extent that the 'old' military ' the perceived ultimate guarantor against any kind of radical transformation ' was in a position to survive the transition with its power and prerogatives intact, a 'regime change' could be supported, and even actively promoted. These twin concerns shaped and influenced a US commitment to democracy in Chile that was more contingent than principled, reflected in the constraints US policymakers imposed upon themselves in regard to the types of pressures they were prepared to apply to achieve their preferred outcome.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-22
    Number of pages22
    JournalBulletin of Latin American Research
    Volume25
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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    political power
    Chile
    democracy
    regime
    dictatorship
    economics
    Military
    commitment
    calculation

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    abstract = "This article examines the circumstances in which the Reagan administration began to rethink its support of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile and shift toward advocating a return to democratic civilian rule. It argues this shift was closely related to calculations that US interests might best be served by severing ties with the incumbent regime, but only so long as two vital interrelated issues were resolved to Washington's satisfaction: the nature of the movement likely to inherit political power, and the survival of key institutions of the autocratic Chilean state. To the extent that the incoming government did not portend a challenge to existing constitutional and economic arrangements, and to the extent that the 'old' military ' the perceived ultimate guarantor against any kind of radical transformation ' was in a position to survive the transition with its power and prerogatives intact, a 'regime change' could be supported, and even actively promoted. These twin concerns shaped and influenced a US commitment to democracy in Chile that was more contingent than principled, reflected in the constraints US policymakers imposed upon themselves in regard to the types of pressures they were prepared to apply to achieve their preferred outcome.",
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    Soldiering on : The Reagan Administration and Redemocratisation in Chile, 1983-1986. / Morley, Morris; McGillion, Christopher.

    In: Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2006, p. 1-22.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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