Recording: Catastrophic Success: Why Foreign-Imposed Regime Change Goes Wrong

A conversation with Dr Alexander Downes on his latest work, Catastrophic Success: Why Foreign-Imposed Regime Change Goes Wrong, which documents all instances of regime change around the world over the past two centuries.

Watch the event recording


The US has toppled more than 30 foreign leaders since the start of the 20th century, making it the world leader in regime change by a wide margin, but there are other examples. Russia’s current war against Ukraine is also an example of an attempted overthrow of a government. This comprehensive study by Dr Downes argues that intervening states generally fail to improve relations with their targets through regime change and the leaders they install are likely to be violently overthrown. As the US experience in Afghanistan shows, regime change often has devastating unintended consequences.

In this webinar, Dr Downes discusses why regime change often instigates instability and conflict.

About the speaker

Dr Alexander Downes is a Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, and Co-Director of the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at The George Washington University. Catastrophic Success: Why Foreign-Imposed Regime Change Goes Wrong was published in December 2021 by Cornell University Press. 

This event is moderated by Dr Joanna Spear, Senior Associate Fellow, RUSI.


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