“This handbook is about the role of armed forces in the support and spread of democracy,” as Blair states in the Introduction. He provides a concise overview of the topic, including a set of recommendations for officers and defense officials. In eight brisk chapters, Blair shows how established democracies can—and why they should—take full advantage of their points of contact to move dictatorships toward democracy. He explores the potential for democratic armed forces to influence change both in dictatorships like Iran and North Korea and transitioning countries such as Egypt, Kazakhstan and Burma.
The second volume presents instructive case studies of democratic movements and transitions, almost all prepared by authors from the country or region understudy. They include a focus on the domestic context, followed by a review of the use of outside influence and its success. The cases include Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Lebanon and Syria, Nigeria, the Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, and Turkey. Augmenting the case studies are regional overview chapters on Asia, Europe, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa.
Dennis Blair served as the U.S. director of national intelligence (the "DNI") from 2009–2010. A Rhodes Scholar, Blair spent a career in the U.S. Navy and retired in 2002 as the commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Command.