Examples of Geopolitical domino Effect?
August 4, 2004 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Are there any historical examples of the political "domino effect" actually happening? Has one country ever changed its form of government, only to have several neighbors follow suit without invasion or coercion? I'm interested in any continent, any time period.

Balkanization/civil war/anarchy/chaos doesn't count. Hitler conquering western Europe doesn't count. Does the spread of Enlightenment philosophy through the western world qualify? I'm seeking context for the quote in this post.
posted by junkbox to Society & Culture (12 answers total)
The Domino Effect is usually applied to communism, and in that case coercion and invasion are implicit-- comunist government seizes power in one country, and sends out evil tendrils to undermine the governments of its neighbors or just outright invades.

Certainly it happened with the post-war Soviet Union and its satellite states. But that may have been just a case of someone wanting a buffer zone to keep someone like Hitler marching in again.

Southeast asia became pretty communist pretty quickly (with little coercion) after the rise of the Viet Cong. But I suspect that was more just people saying "Hey! We found something that will get the frigging french colonials out of here!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:21 AM on August 4, 2004

There are many examples of chaos being contagious. Very few that I can think of in the other direction. Perhaps the fairly rapid post-WW2 decolonization. Eastern Europe fifteen years ago. In any case, chaos is a much quicker and reliable domino-toppler.
posted by mookieproof at 12:06 PM on August 4, 2004

I'd nominate the rise of (quasi-)fascist regimes in one Eastern European country after another in the period between the world wars. Another possibility: the spread of states ruled by Turkish warriors (formerly subordinate to the local Arab rulers) in the medieval Middle East.
posted by languagehat at 1:02 PM on August 4, 2004

Thank you for asking this question. It occurred to me that I might be full of poop after making that statement. I suspect the rise of central governments from tribal groups might qualify.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:39 PM on August 4, 2004

2 cases:

Latin America: Independence Wars, largely followed each other's (and France and the US's) example in kicking out the european empires who held them as colonies in the late 18th and early 19th century. Each country that one its independence strengthened the cause in the other countries, both by weakening the europeans, by lifting morale, and by sending soldiers to fight.

Central Europe: Can you say "Perestroika"?
posted by signal at 2:26 PM on August 4, 2004

one = won, obviously.
posted by signal at 2:34 PM on August 4, 2004

follow suit without invasion or coercion

I don't think the original doctrine ever required an absence of invasion or coercion.

The original idea was really an argument by analogy, and never really amounted to much beyond a rhetorical trope. Wikipedia attributes it to Eisenhower, talking about Indochina.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:47 PM on August 4, 2004

It would be a stretch, but you could say the French Revolution was kind of a result of a domino effect from the American Revolution. You'd be grasping, I think, as far as causative aspects of the domino effect... but there were certainly overlaps in ideology, and plenty of Americans at the time considered the French to be engaged in a struggle similar to the one the Colonies had gone through, and were quite sympathetic.
posted by nickmark at 2:55 PM on August 4, 2004

Islamic theocracies, generally dating back to the modern foundation of Israel?
posted by LionIndex at 4:30 PM on August 4, 2004

Another possibility: the spread of states ruled by Turkish warriors (formerly subordinate to the local Arab rulers) in the medieval Middle East

I don't think that fits since there was a lot of invading, etc. done by the turks. Also, the turks were nomads and then when they entered arab controlled areas, they usually had numbers and enough warriors to take control of the given area. Of course, some turks who weren't in power would want some power and then they headed west, etc etc. So it is a domino effect, but there was plenty of invasion and coercion.
posted by Stynxno at 4:44 PM on August 4, 2004

I would imagine that Chinese history would have an/the historical examples of spreading an idea/s through the "domino effect" without invasions. Not knowing enough about Chinese history and the dynasty changes I'm sure someone else might help out with a better answer.
posted by brent at 8:31 PM on August 4, 2004

LionIndex - that has more to do with the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
posted by Jimbob at 8:32 PM on August 4, 2004

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