Arab monarchies have survived Arab uprisings expect Bahrain amidst the regime’s political shakings and crises experienced in the region over the years. For decades, the Middle East has been ruled by monarchies. The political storms in the region can however be described as strong and stable than republican and democratic neighbors. This is because despite being written off for decades as anachronisms, they have weathered political storms. The academic sources relied in authoring this argumentative essay will therefore affirm that, Arab monarchies are better than democracy. The academic sources will confirm that, monarchies can be extreme as well as unique, inherent and stable as witnessed in the Middle East. The Middle East Arabic monarchies are specially tasked in ensuring the region is stable and culturally legitimate. They also ensure the region grows, develops, and accumulates resources and wealth. More so, the systems ascertain the region maintains wealthy and powerful allies with other Arab monarchies. This is undertaken through coalitions with domestic, regional, and Western or foreign interest organizations and political regimes sharing the same vision of achieving and sustaining socioeconomic developments in Middle East. Thus, the monarchy system should not be regarded as inferior as they are equally capable of performing in a superior level as a democratic system.
Why is Monarchy Ruling in Middle East Better than Democracy?
The Middle East region comprises of various monarchy nations such as Qatar, Sultanate of Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Kuwait, and Bahrain. They have experienced several events interfering with political policies in the region including the Arab Uprising and Tunisian Revolution. However, the monarchy system has ensured the regions remain stable and strong maintaining socioeconomic growth and development. Various political and revisionist theorists claimed that, Middle East cannot be compatible with democratic system. Their claims were based on the beliefs that, the region’s business, social, and economic environments cannot thrive through democracy as the system does not rely on elites as the monarchies in order to govern (Marc, 2012).
A monarchy system refers to a form of government headed by an elite member known as the monarch or the sovereign head of State. The monarch exercises the highest form of authority in the State as he/she personally inherits lawful rights to exercise the State’s autonomous and supreme liberties and privileges in a position known as the crown or throne. A monarch can also be selected through an established process eligible in providing a region with a leader. Consequently, a person can be named a monarch by either acclamation or conquest. Ultimately, the monarch reigns either until abdication or until death during which the crown’s powers vary from one era to another (Michael, 2004).
Monarchs in Middle East bear various titles such as kings, princes, queens, and princesses as well as emperors and empresses. The most common monarch title in Middle East is the prince as it is a generic term referring to all monarchs. Although monarchy systems are often regarded as socio-cultural in nature, they are also political. The hereditary rule ensures the royal family is trained to rule for a dynasty after succession. The Middle East monarchy system applies the proximity of blood during which a male member is required to succeed the reigning monarch. This guarantees immediate continuity of leadership in the nation although the process of succession can differ among the Middle East nations. For example, the monarchy system in Saudi Arabia does not permit the reigning monarch’s eldest son to succeed the crown before all the uncles have served as the sovereign head of State. This refers to agnatic seniority. However, some States in the region allow the monarch to select the most appropriate person to be the successor without being influenced by either age or gender. The successor however ought to ensure the region maintains political stability while growing and expanding socially, economically and culturally.
The arguments authored in this argumentative essay will therefore affirm that, monarchy system in Middle East has been better and successful than democracy. They will also affirm that, monarchial systems have persistently survived without disturbances. As a result, Middle East globally recognized as the richest and flourishing region on aspects allied to economic and cultural growth should attribute the reputation to monarchy governing systems.
- Why is the monarchy ruling in Middle East better than democracy?
Body: Argumentative Discussion
Supporting Reason 1
It is believed the Middle East was most stable from 1921 to 1958. This period is also marked with the British sponsoring Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq as they exercised imperial soft power to control States in Middle East such as Libya, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq. As a result, the British set up kingdoms headed by kings in order to assist in ruling the region. The kings that were recognized as effective and efficient rulers of any kingdom within Middle East region were rewarded by the British. For example, Abdullah and Faisal who were both sons of Hussein ibn Ali a leader of the Arab Revolt were rewarded for being effective kings. As a result, they were made rulers of Transjordan and Mesopotamia respectively. Thus, the British continued to rely on the monarchy system to ensure the Middle East was politically stable in order to achieve social, cultural, and economic growth and developments. Consequently, the region was awarded by the League of Nations for holding trusted independence among the administrative infrastructures established by the British known as kingdoms. After the British relinquished their powers, the kingdoms continued to be ruled by the kings, princes, and emperors (Michael, 2004).
It is therefore evident that, the monarchy system of governing and ruling witnessed in the Middle East was developed by British rulers who were keen in ensuring the leadership structure was effective and efficient. The British believed dividing the Middle East into diverse kingdoms headed by sovereign kings would guarantee the regions would grow and develop politically, socially, culturally, and more importantly economically. The kings who were appointed therefore ensured they ruled the diverse regions based on an infrastructure set up by the British. This would ensure the regions would accumulate resources, wealth, and power crucial in retaining sovereignty. Thus, the monarchy system in Middle East is an affirmation that the region is sovereign headed by a monarch guaranteeing it grows, develops, and expands socioeconomically, socio-culturally, and politically (Schnabel, 2003).
Opposing View 1
Some political theorists, researchers, and experts may however argue that, monarchies that were sponsored by British such as Iraq, Libya, and Egypt did not last for relying on Pan-Arab nationalism policies. For example, they claim modernized concepts advocated citizens residing in Middle East to pursue education. This changed the administration infrastructures as more elites in the region began to feel that a monarch should not be allowed to dictate how other learned members of the State should lead their lives. The nation-State administration thriving under a monarchy system was therefore threatened by ideas developed from pan-Arab nationalism. More so, the ideas were overwhelming the Islamic teachings governing political and cultural beliefs within Middle East. This further led to other emirs, Arab kings, and sultans to democratize political reforms. Although they tried to resist, the ideological reactions to the process of questioning monarchy system of governing led to the various Arab uprisings (Gregory, 2013).
Thus, monarchy systems should not be regarded as better and stable than democratic governing. This is because they led to political crises and instability that further affected the social, cultural, and political infrastructures among various regions in Middle East. For example, Libya had relied on the monarchy system that had developed after the British established kingdoms. They however did not last as they failed to withstand the test of time, modernity, and interior political uprisings. Gregory Gause asserts that, monarchial governing systems continue to skate on thin ice. This places them in a vulnerable position as they can be easily influenced and destabilized by Westernized or foreign dynamics of democracy. The author persistently claims Jordan is more vulnerable than other monarchy systems as it has continuously faced difficulties to fund its political infrastructures. Thus, it relies on foreign funds and patrons to ensure the social, cultural, and political needs in the monarchial State are addressed and resolved effectively. The monarchy system of administration in Jordan that has led the State to lose a significant part if the region’s territory should be a confirmation that monarchy should not be regarded as better than democracy (Gregory, 2013).
Counter Opposing View 1
This opposing view however cannot be relied on to deny the monarchy governing system an opportunity to confirm it is better or equal to democracy. Foremost, it is true the Jordan monarchy system has been predicted as unstable and likely to collapse. These predictions however have been asserted by political researchers, theorists, and experts for decades. The Jordan monarchy system however has continued to thrive and prove it can achieve political longevity despite the false prophesies, negative hopes, and lack of trust and faith in the administrative infrastructure it has established since the British rule. Currently, residents residing in Jordan treat such acclamations and predictions as a joke as they believe the monarchy system in the State is strong and stable (Turan, 2013).
It is also evident that Jordan as well as other monarchial systems has withstood the political uprisings witnessed in Middle East. The upheavals presented by Arab uprisings often risked the political longevity of monarchy systems. Each Arab uprising has often raised questions regarding the ability of monarchial systems to stabilize States’ social, political, cultural, and economic strengths after a political crisis. Karen Elliot, a veteran journalist however notes that negative predictions against the political longevity of a monarchial system should also be laid against a democratic system. This confirms that, any nation or State is sovereign. Thus, it has the rights and freedoms to decide the form and infrastructures of leadership. As a result, people should stop bashing against monarchy systems. The negative predications are often laid by people from Western nations. They should acknowledge doubting the political strength of a monarch in a sovereign State equals the act of laying false allegations against the democratic system of governing leading the sovereign foreign nations (Alfred, Juan & Juli, 2014).
All global nations should acknowledge that, a political system lays an administrative infrastructure ensuring the State is safe, peaceful, united, protected, and empowered to grow and develop. All regions in Middle East thriving through the monarchy system of governing are ranked among the wealthiest States globally. More so, they attract high numbers of tourists visiting the regions’ historical, religious, and cultural places as they have maintained their cultural heritage and pride (WB, 2003). Although they record incidences if violence due to acts of terror, this does not translate to monarchy systems lacking the administrative power, influence and ability to protect its citizens and followers. This is because even democratic nations record incidences of terror, coupled with political unrest and violence that often leads to destruction of socioeconomic infrastructures. Thus, monarchy systems can be regarded as better than democracy as they hardly result to political unrest and violent (Gregory, 2013).
Supporting Reason 2
According to Gregory Gause, the monarchial systems have proved they can sustain political longevity for several decades based on their cultural legitimacy. The governing and administrative infrastructures are based on two unique aspects ensuring political longevity is achieved. The two aspects are namely cultural legitimacy and political reforms. The Arabic political history argues that, cultural norms have always played a vital role in legitimizing social, political, and even economic activities. This was also noted by Elliot Abrams. He was the Deputy Assistant to President as well as Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy during the George Bush administration. He asserted that, monarchy systems within Middle East are more legitimate than republics (Gregory, 2013).
Thus, monarchial systems can be described as better than democratic administrations. This is because they lack a political history that is marred with bloody repressions, incidences of political prisoners, and jail infrastructures that were utilized to threaten citizens seeking for political justice and stability. This however does not seek to claim monarchy systems do not exert and exercise power. Instead, they exercise power and authority across institutional and symbolic arena rather than political platforms. This provides monarchy systems with an advantage over democracy. This is because democracy exercises power over presidential, national, and patriotism arenas that lead to social, religious, economic, political, and ideological competitions. These competitions often lead to political unrest, violence and even instability that cannot legitimize cultural, religious, and political interests in either an equal or a better way than monarchy systems (Turan, 2013).
Opposing View 2
Political experts allied to democracy however do not believe cultural, religious, and political interests can affect the leadership infrastructures in a nation. They believe monarchs rely on these interests to exert power across the family dynasties. Democracy system was established to provide citizens with an open, equal, and fair opportunity to appoint or elect leaders they believe will achieve national interests. The monarchy system therefore lacks the ability to affirm that the leader will pursue, achieve, and sustain social, cultural, and political interests on behalf of the nation or State. Thus, democracy should not rely on cultural legitimacy as it can foster racial, religious, gender-based, and cultural-based discriminations. This can further affect the process of formulating and implementing decisions and policies guaranteeing citizens in a nation grow and develop across openly equal and fair socioeconomic and political platforms (WB, 2003).
Counter Opposing View 2
Arabic monarchies achieve longevity due to cultural legitimacy. Khalid al-Dakhil is an Arabic sociologist and political activist. He asserts that, Middle East monarchs thrive and succeed better than even republics or democrats due to the following reasons allied to cultural legitimacy. Foremost, they have achieved political longevity based on their long histories due to establishment and sustenance of cultural legitimate leadership infrastructures. The second reason for Arab monarchies succeeding is due to the belief that, traditional regimes were developed from traditional societies consonant with the societal structures. Thus, Arab monarchies can be described as more humble than democrats or republics. This is because their political, social, economic, and cultural histories were based on societal beliefs that sought to achieve and sustain positive changes directly (Gregory, 2013).
The guardianship of Arab monarchies is therefore based on cultural beliefs affirming that clear, peaceful, and governing policies are formulated and implemented to sustain leadership infrastructures that can achieve political longevity. The last reason is based on the closeness of the monarchial systems to the members of societies they govern and lead. The democrats on the other hand choose to create an enlarging distance between the leaders and the people being governed. This is because democracy does not promote integration between leaders and followers in order to create a legitimacy formula exhibiting congruence with social, political, cultural, and religious values like monarchy systems (Lisa, 2004).
Supporting Reason 3
The last supporting view affirming monarchy systems in Middle East are better than democracy is based on the argument that, monarchs are better governors, leaders, and sovereign heads of States. Monarchs ensure the results of the leadership regime are beneficial to the citizens especially with regards to political outcomes. Monarchs have credible and effective institutional leadership qualities, skills, and experiences than democratic leaders facilitating political reforms. They ensure political reforms are undertaken to benefit the citizens rather than pursuing their personal endeavors as witnessed by democrats. Monarchs compare their regimes with presidential powers. Thus, they strive to ensure they lead citizens with wealth and power that equals or exceeds that of a president in a democratic nation. Ultimately, monarchs are more tolerant than democrats as they strive to produce better leadership results (Turan, 2013).
Opposing View 3
Democracy however does not facilitate the process of appointing, selecting, nominating, or electing leaders encouraged and motivated to produce the best administrative results. However, it should also be noted that, monarchs especially from political dynasties thriving on the economic power of oil face disentangling issues. For example, Kuwait, United States Emirates, and Qatar monarchial systems rely on the wealth and power derived from oil. Thus, they control oil effects in the State to suit their individual needs to sustain political stability. Thus, monarchy systems should not be regarded as governing infrastructures with better and effective leaders. Instead, they should be described as administrative systems face limitations on autocratic powers encouraging monarchs to pursue political and economic rights for personal and selfish reasons (WB, 2003).
Counter Opposing View 3
Monarchs pursue oil effects to achieve social, cultural, economic, and investment growth and stability in order to sustain political longevity. This is because they cannot achieve political stability and longevity without economic influence and affluence. They however ensure the gap between the monarch and the citizens is smaller to avoid leaders and followers being on the same socio-cultural, socioeconomic, and political authoritative level. This can lead to riots, strikes, and disruptions from citizens who believe they can easily question, doubt and overthrow the leading monarch. Such people often fail to recognize that, a sovereign head of state should be a trained leader, which is achieved among the dynasty families. Thus, the oil effects are undertaken by a leader aware of threats that can thwart the existing political and socioeconomic stability existing in the region (Alfred, Juan & Juli, 2014).
Monarchy systems can be regarded as better than democracy. They ensure the leaders develop leadership infrastructures promoting peace, unity, growth and stability among people. This is because they are based on traditional believes that, people should be led by a sovereign head of State with the power, ability, will and desire to ensure they achieve social, economic, and political stability, growth, and longevity respectively. For example, they ensure all citizens achieve economic growth equally in order to reduce the poverty gap between the rich and the poor. However, democratic systems continue to record an increase with regards to the gap between the wealthy and less prosperous. Ultimately, monarchy systems are better than democracy as they rely and uphold socio-cultural traditions, heritage, and believes to achieve political stability, growth, and longevity. People should therefore focus on seeking to determine how monarchies have held on strongly like they have rather than join line in making incorrect, false, and negative predictions on demise of Arab monarchies.
Alfred, S. M., Juan, L., & Juli, M. (2014). Democratic Parliamentary Monarchies. Journal of Democracy, 2(1), 25-50.
The three authors specialized on political and social studies at Columbia University, Yale University, and University of La Verne in California respectively. The authors therefore sought to affirm that, political pressures, creativity, and persistence are the key factors of ensuring an effective and efficient leadership infrastructure is developed.
Gregory, G. (2013). Kings for All Seasons: How the Middle East Monarchies Survived the Arab Uprising. Brookings Doha Center Analysis Paper, 8(), 1-30.
The author is a political science professor at the University of Vermont specializing in domestic and international politics and relations respectively. Through the article, he focuses on Arabic and Islamic studies as he seeks to differentiate between democratic and monarchial political reforms and public policies. He discusses geopolitics and economies of oil and energy in Middle East as monarchies and democracies settle conflicts to achieve pain.
Lisa, A. (2004). Absolutism and the Resilience of Monarchy in the Middle East. The Academy of Political Science.
She is an associate professor of political science and director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University. Through the article, she seeks to affirm that, both democracy and monarchial governing systems should promote and sustain liberal politics. Thus, she advocates for political leadership infrastructures ensuring the citizens and States grow socially, economically, and politically to achieve longevity.
Marc, L. (2012). Arab Uprisings: Does Arab Monarchy Matter? POMEPS Briefings, Foreign Policy Project on Middle East Political Science.
The author seeks to assert that, monarchies in Arabic regions across Middle East have greatly achieved in ensuring the region survives the uprisings that were threatening socio-cultural, socioeconomic and political stabilities. He therefore describes the Arab monarchies as fairly Arab authoritarian regimes surviving and enjoying financial resources, powerful media assets, and less demanding international allies without pursuing legitimization myths.
Michael, H. (2004). Princes and Parliaments in the Arab World. Middle East Journal, 58(1), 367-384.
The author is an assistant professor of political science at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He believes monarchies are reasonable leadership, administrative, and governing systems. This is because they hold free elections to parliaments while remaining authoritarian. As a result, Michael Herb compares the Middle East monarchies to democratic parliaments from global nations. He however asserts that, both monarchial and democratic systems should continue to play their diverse roles in order to ensure global political stabilities are achieved.
Schnabel, A. (2003). Democratization and Peace Building: Democratization in the Middle East, Experiences, Struggles, Challenges. New York, United Nations University Press.
The author is a professor of political science and the director of the Center for Arabl and Islamic Studies in Middle EAST AND Central Asia. Amin Saikal is located at the Australian National University. Amin therefore addresses the various issues determining the success and failure of sustainable democratization in the Middle East region by drawing conceptual analysis from global political systems.
Turan, K. (2013). A Rights Agenda for the Muslim World? The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Evolving Human Rights Framework. Analysis Paper.
The author is an associate Professor of International Relations in politics, economics, and philosophies at University of Washington. He authored the article to affirm that, political reforms, policies, and decisions implemented by monarchs across Middle East differ from those undertaken by democrats and republics. He affirms that, the two governing systems differ in leadership infrastructures. However, they share various policies aimed at ensuring the citizens being led are protected by civil, legal, and human rights promoting political stability and socioeconomic growth.
World Bank (WB). (2003). Better Governance for Development in the Middle East and North Africa. Washington D.C, MENA Development Report by the World Bank.
The World Bank defines development on economic aspects increasing material wellness among global citizens. This report was therefore authored in relation to Middle East and North Africa to determine how the political leadership infrastructures are striving to achieve developmental values among the citizens. The report therefore seeks to affirm that, governments and the people leading within the political systems ought to ensure they expand productivity and minimize wasteful and frustrating types of governance in order to be regarded as good, effective, and efficient authoritative infrastructures.
Alfred, S. M., Juan, L., & Juli, M. (2014). Democratic Parliamentary Monarchies. Journal of Democracy, 2(1), 25-50. Retrieved on 26th May 2015 from: http://www.journalofdemocracy.org/sites/default/files/Stepan-25-2.pdf
Gregory, G. (2013). Kings for All Seasons: How the Middle East Monarchies Survived the Arab Uprising. Brookings Doha Center Analysis Paper, 8(), 1-30. Retrieved on 26th May 2015 from: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2013/09/24%20resilience%20arab%20monarchies%20gause/resilience%20arab%20monarchies_english.pdf
Lisa, A. (2004). Absolutism and the Resilience of Monarchy in the Middle East. The Academy of Political Science. Retrieved on 26th May 2015 from: http://havenscenter.wisc.edu/files/Adams_2_Absolutism_Anderson.pdf
Marc, L. (2012). Arab Uprisings: Does Arab Monarchy Matter? POMEPS Briefings, Foreign Policy Project on Middle East Political Science. Retrieved on 26th May 2015 from: http://pomeps.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/POMEPS_BriefBooklet16_Monarchies_web.pdf
Michael, H. (2004). Princes and Parliaments in the Arab World. Middle East Journal, 58(1), 58(1), 367-384. Retrieved on 26th May 2015 from: http://pomed.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/princes-and-parliaments-in-the-arab-world.pdf
Schnabel, A. (2003). Democratization and Peace Building: Democratization in the Middle East, Experiences, Struggles, Challenges. New York, United Nations University Press. Retrieved on 26th May 2015 from: http://i.unu.edu/media/unu.edu/publication/2183/democratization-in-the-middle-east-sample-chapter-shozo.pdf
Turan, K. (2013). A Rights Agenda for the Muslim World? The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Evolving Human Rights Framework. Analysis Paper. Retrieved on 26th May 2015 from: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Research/Files/Papers/2013/1/08-oic-human-rights-kayaoglu/Turan-Kayaoglu-English.pdf?la=en
World Bank (WB). (2003). Better Governance for Development in the Middle East and North Africa. Washington D.C, MENA Development Report by the World Bank. Retrieved on 26th May 2015 from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/15077/271460PAPER0Be1ance0for0development.pdf?sequence=1