I imagine militaries would have a fairly easy time seizing power in nations with few firearms, due to few civilian in most nations having suitable weapons to resist, and seizing power could help the military by allowing them to pass laws that benefit themselves at the expense of others, such as by having extremely heavy taxes to use to become wealthy. Though other nations' militaries could try to prevent a military dictatorship from forming, this seems unlikely because all of the nations' militaries could team up to set up a world dictatorship.

So, why don't militaries all form dictatorships? Are they simply too nice to? Is there some reason why they can't?

  • The majority of the world is very poor. Trying to extract what little they have isn't worth it. Additionally, the US would prevent anyone else, since they are the worlds police. – user1873 Mar 5 '15 at 14:45
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    To address teaming up: Why would the US army prefer to team up with the Chinese army to establish a military dictatorship, instead of, say, preserving the country they were born and raised in and signed up to defend? – cpast Mar 5 '15 at 15:19
  • Why would you think an armed citizenry is really key here? That's a common myth offered to justify the US constitution's second amendment but as you noticed yourself, there is little evidence that it matters. – Relaxed Mar 5 '15 at 16:01
  • @Relaxed I don't think an armed citizenry is key to preventing military dictatorships. If it was, there'd be many more military dictatorships. – Kelmikra Mar 5 '15 at 19:35
  • This is way to hypothetical to have a meaningful answer. But, in general, the reason is "because humans" – user1530 Mar 6 '15 at 5:16

Only one person can call the shots in a military dictatorship. So, you have the usual problem that any dictator has to face.

Any dictator will need to appease the population. If the dictator becomes too unpopular, rivals will see an opportunity to topple the dictator. Dictators who lose popularity will be afraid of this, they tend to crack down harder and harder on the people they suspect of plotting against him. But this increases his unpopularity, which makes the dictator even more paranoid about potential coup plotters.

Keeping the population in check becomes harder the larger the population is. The people in different parts of the countries will have different grievances and you will also have to deal with more potential rivals, dissidents etc. You also have to delegate power to more subordinates to rule a larger population, you have to ensure they are 100% loyal to you.

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