Speaking of the Egyptian coup, the people who accuse the army of non-democratic means miss the point. In Egypt (and earlier in Turkish coups, in Chile and many other places), the army preserved Republicanism rather than democracy.

Democracy allows people to elect the Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis, or communists. The legislative-judicial-executive checks and balances cannot prevent such outcome. That’s a very simple theoretical point: no closed system can prevent itself from turning into its opposite. Democracy can vote to enslave 49% population or adopt Sharia law.

Now, a well-compartmentalized army acts externally to such system. The army can, therefore, prevent a democratic state from voting itself into its opposite.

In a well-organized democratic society the army is, so to say, a Republican Guard.