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Posts: 2,517
Reply with quote  #1 
This is more of analysis of the fallen dictatorships in the Arab world - why it happened. However, the author speaks favorably of monarchies in contrast.

Oh, the author is Elliott Abrams who was a deputy national-security adviser in the administration of George W. Bush, where he led the National Security Council’s Middle East and democracy directorates.

Here are some take away lines:

Contrast their fates with that of the Arab world’s eight monarchs, not one of whom has been swept away by the spreading revolts. Those eight countries differ in many ways but are alike in the essentials. The monarchy, derived from tribal leadership, often predates the state and its colonial borders. The al-Saud founded the first Saudi kingdom in 1744; the al-Sabah have ruled what is now Kuwait since 1718; the Alaoui dynasty has ruled Morocco since 1631, using the title “sultan” rather than “king” until 1957; the sultan of Oman is the 14th in his line, a band which began to rule parts of Oman even before the arrival of Islam. The historical connection to the precolonial past has granted the monarchs far more legitimacy than any claimed by self-appointed strongmen. What is more, the monarchy is often sustained by religious belief. The royal families of Jordan and Morocco are descendants of the Prophet. The king of Morocco is also called “Commander of the Faithful,” and it is no accident that in Saudi Arabia the favored title for the ruler is not “king” but “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.”

While sometimes the royal family monopolizes the affairs of state (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates), in several cases commoners hold all public offices from prime minister on down and monarchic rule is combined with electoral politics (Jordan, Morocco). Rarely is a monarchy so personalized a form of rule as that of Mubarak, Ben Ali, or Qaddafi. This means that the system is more supple. It allows for the give and take of nondemocratic politics (electoral, tribal, familial, regional), with shock absorbers built in and a certain amount of dissent permitted. Those civilian cabinet ministers are excellent targets for public criticism, and are dispensable. And finally, in the monarchies, succession is rarely a crisis: Son follows father or younger brother follows older, through a system legitimized by time. It is striking, by contrast, how much the struggle over whether Mubarak’s son Gamal would succeed him or which of Qaddafi’s sons would follow him contributed to unhappiness with the regime and to its ultimate instability and downfall.

The monarchies face enormous challenges as well, or at least those not favored by heaven with the combination of tiny populations and enormous oil and gas wealth (as is the case with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar). To get the balance right between royal prerogative and the rising expectations of subjects for a political role is not easy, as England’s Charles I found out in 1649 and as France’s Louis XVI did in 1793. After all, there was once a shah in Iran and there were kings in Iraq, Libya, and Egypt—all of whom lost their thrones to revolution. Still, the surviving monarchs appear to have more tools at their disposal today than the dictators had, to resist reform slyly or to guide it slowly and carefully.

"For every monarchy overthrown the sky becomes less brilliant, because it loses a star. A republic is ugliness set free." - Anatole France

Personal Motto: "Deō regī patriaeque fidelis."

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #2 
Its refreshing to see an article with a favourable view of monarchy for change. , which also highlights the advantages of a monarchy that has some teeth, rather than being a toothless figurehead as we see in most monarchies today. If all monarchies had a say in the running of their countries today, I doubt the current financial crisis would have happened, or if the government did go bankrupt under the monarchy as it did in Portugal, it would be far more likely to bounce back again. Although its not going to happen any time soon, I'd like to see Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II assume the traditional powers of the Crown, in both Britain, Canada and the rest of her Realms. God save the Queen.
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