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The empirical puzzle: are monarchies more peaceful?

What are the patterns of monarchic foreign policy? The first indications of monarchic idiosyncrasies can be discerned in descriptive statistical data on interstate war on the global level.

Table 1.1 summarizes some of the more interesting patterns relating to war and conflict internationally that seem to distinguish monarchies and republics. For instance, in relation to republics, monarchies are proportionally less involved in wars globally ("Participation”) and are less likely to initiate wars (“Initiation”) or even merely participate in them on the side of the aggressor (“Initiator party”). Much more significantly, however, after World War II, there has not been a single case of a war where monarchies fought against each other (“Intragroup war”).

Table 1.1 Monarchies and Participation in International Wars Since 19451

Out of 38 interstate

wars

Participation

Initiation

Initiator party-

Intragroup war

Share of all states

Monarchy

6(15.7%)

2 (5.2%)

4(10.5%)

0 (0%)

~10%-20%

Republic

38(100%)

36 (94.7%)

37 (97.4%)

36 (94.7%)

~80%-90%

1 “Participation” indicates the number and share of interstate wars in which monarchies participated out of all 38 interstate wars in the correlates ofwar(CoW) data set between 1945 and 2003 (Sarkees and Wayman 2010; Stinnett et al. 2002). “Initiation” refers to the number and share of interstate wars in which a monarchy/republic was the initiator. “Initiator party” lists the number and share of interstate wars in which monarchies/republics participated on the side of the war initiator. “Intragroup war” refers to the number and share of intra-monarchic/intra-republican war. Of the two wars when a republic did not fight a fellow republic, one is the Falkland War, thus referring to the democratic UK. Excluding democratic monarchies (that are outside of the scope conditions of this book) would thus again further strengthen the existing tendency. “Share of all states” refers to the share of monarchies/republics out of all existent states. Due to the increase in the number of states and regime changes during the time scope of the data set (1945-2003), only a rough average share of monarchies/republics is noted in this table. The asymmetric distribution of especially war initiation and intragroup war is nonetheless evident.

Since the Second World War, monarchies formed about 10%-20% of all states (Geddes, Wright, and Frantz 2011, 12-14)1 and thus seem to be underrepresented concerning war involvement and initiation. Surprisingly, in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, an especially conflict-ridden place, where monarchies accounted for two-thirds to slightly less than half all states,2 we find the same tendency even reinforced.

Table 1.2 shows a more detailed breakdown of interstate wars, this time only for the Middle East. The overview shows additional hints of a monarchy-republic gap. Middle East monarchies appear less likely in general to initiate or support the initiator of a war, or even to merely participate in an interstate war compared to republics and their share of states in the region.

The only outlier was the Gulf War 1990-2001. when Iraq under Saddam Hussein attacked and occupied Kuwait, a monarchy. At that time, four monarchies (Kuwait, Oman. Qatar, and UAE) participated for the first and only time (together with two more experienced others) in a war, uniting almost all monarchies in the region to liberate their fellow monarchy. Two other monarchies (Egypt and Iraq in their monarchic periods)3 also only participated in a war once, while the same

Table 1.2 MENA Wars and Monarchy Involvement 1945-20031

Total 11 interstate wars

Monarchy

Republic

Participation,' overall2

Initiation initiator

ally

Share

Participation,' overall

Initiation initiator

ally

Share

Participation,' overall

Initiation initiator

ally

Share

Participation,' overall

Initiation initiator

ally

Share

Participation,'

overall

50%/50%

Yes (Jordan )/50% 66.7% (6 out of 9)

0%/0%

No/0%

  • 58.3% (7 out of 12)
  • 33.3%/14.3%

Yes/33.3%

  • 58.3% (7 out of 12)
  • 25%/16.7%

No/0%

  • 42.8% (6 out of 14)
  • 0%/0%

No/0%

Initiation'initiator 40% (6 out of 15) ally

Share

50%/100%

No/33.3% 33.3% (3 out of 9)

100%/16.7%

Yes/100% 41.7% (5 out of

  • 12)
  • 66,7%/0%

No/0% 41.7% (5 out of 12)

75%/37.5%

Yes/25% 57% (8 out of 14)

100%/22.2%

Yes/50%

  • 60% (9 out of 15)
  • (Continued)

Table 1.2 (Continued)

Total 11 interstate wars

Monarchy

Republic

Participation/ overall

Initiation/initiator ally

Share

Participation/

overall Initiation Initiator ally Share

Participation Overall

Participation

Initiation/initiator ally

Share

Participation/

overall

Initiation/initiator ally

Share

Participation/

overall

Initiation/initiator ally

Share

33.3%/22.2%

No/33.3%

  • 47.3% (9 out of 19)
  • 0%/0%

No

  • 0%
  • 42.1% (8 out of 19)
  • 0%
  • 0%

No/0%

  • 42.1% (8 out of 19))
  • 0%/0%

No/0%

  • 42.1% (8 out of 19)
  • 42.9%/75%

No/0%

  • 44.4% (8 out of 18)
  • 66.7%/40%

Yes/50% 52.6% (10 out of 19)

100%/18.2%

Yes 50% 57.8% (11 out of 19)

100% 18.2% Yes/50% 57.8% (11 out

of 19)

  • 100%/18.2% Yes/50% 57.8% (11 out of 19)
  • 57,l%/30% Yes/7.1% 55.6% (10 out

of 18)

Participation/ overall

Initiation/initiator

ally

Share

0%/0%

No/0%

  • 44.4% (8 out of 18)
  • 100%/10%

Yes/75% 55.6% (10 out of 18)

Overall participation: never Once

More than once

Overall participation w/o Gulf War: never

Once

More than once

Sum (share) out of 36 war parties from MENA (49 in total, including external participants)

  • 4 Libya, N 3 Algeria, Tunisia, S Yemen Yemen, Iran, 3 Iran, Lebanon, Libya Bahrain 4 Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Syria
  • 6 KWT. Oman,

Qatar, UAE;

Egypt, Iraq

3 Jordan,

Morocco, KSA

  • 6 3
  • 4 3
  • 1 4
  • 13 (36.1%)/13/ (26.5%)
  • 23 (63.9%)/36 (73.5%)

Total 11 interstate wars

Monarchy

Republic

Sum (share) of initiations by MENA countries

2(18.2%)

7 (63.6%)

Average initiator alliance

21.2%

44.5%

Average share of regimes in the region

48.8%>

51.2%

  • 1 The data source is the same as in the previous table (CoW and GPRD), the names of the wars correspond to their names in the CoW data set. All interstate wars in the Middle East where at least one Middle Eastern state was a direct participant are included in the table. The last-recorded war is the Iraq War, or Second Gulf War, of 2003; later wars were excluded because they were asymmetric wars fought between a state and non-state actor and thus are of limited utility here. Including them would further strengthen the evidence in favor of monarchies (here in italics) given that the wars were fought by republics.
  • 2 “Participation”: of all waning parties, how many are monarchies/republics. Overall participation: of all the existing monarchies/republics in the region, how many took pair in the war. “Initiation”: was the initiator of the war a monarchy republic? “Initiator ally”: of all waning parties, how many monarchies/republics took part on the initiator’s side. “Share”: how much is the overall share of monarchies/republics in the region at the onset of the war. The underlined numbers indicate an overrepresentation in relation to the overall share of monarchies/republics in the region.

is tme for just three republics: Iran, Lebanon, and Libya (Lebanon, however, was embroiled in an intense civil war for 15 years). Libya, North Yemen, and Iran (in their monarchic periods) and Bahrain, four monarchies altogether, have not participated in an international war since 1945, a balance only three republics (Algeria, Tunisia, and South Yemen) can produce (two of which once again were preoccupied with civil or colonial war during a large part of their existence). Republics are overrepresented in most of the relevant categories concerning war, although because of the rarity of war, these differences are not statistically significant.

The more interesting finding is that globally - and even in the Middle East, where 11 of all 38 interstate wars between 1945 and 2003 took place (29%) - no single one has seen two monarchies clash.4

Interstate wars are relatively rare in general. Consequently, researchers in the democratic peace theorem (DPT) paradigm have tested whether the general tendencies held true in a wider set of similar cases by analyzing militarized interstate disputes (MID) that did not reach the threshold defined for war - democratic MID dyads, albeit present, were highly underrepresented (Russett and Oneal 2001). If we do the same for the monarchic peace, the statistical evidence points in the same direction and is even more compelling (Table 1.3).

Of 444 post-1945 MIDs in the Middle East, only 139 contain monarchies among the participants - that is, 31% - as opposed to 432 disputes made up of at least one republican participant, or 97%, of all MIDs. This again shows considerable underrepresentation, but not enough to statistically confirm a monadic reading of the monarchic peace - that monarchies are more peaceful in general.

In dyadic terms, when taking into account the counterpart, the evidence is cogent. The share of MEDs with monarchies on opposite sides is miniscule and includes 14 conflicts or about 3%. In comparison, democratic intergroup dispute is a slightly higher: 4.5% (cf. disaggregated numbers in Maoz and Abdolali 1989, 22).

Table 1.3 MIDs in the Middle East 1945-20011

Out of444 MIDs in the MENA

Involvement

Intragroup dispute

Share of all states2

Monarchy

139(31%)

14 (3%)

42%-67% (av. 53%)

Republic

432 (97%)

305 (69%)

33%-60% (av. 47%)

  • 1 The summary statistics are based on the CoW MID 3.0 data set, which defines MIDs as “a set of interactions between or among states involving the threat, display, or use of military force in short temporal intervals,” which is overt, non-accidental, government sanctioned, and government directed (Maoz and Abdolah 1989, 13) and mcludes MIDs from 1945 to 2001.
  • 2 Due to the increase in the number of states in the regional system and five regime changes from monarchy to republic during the tune scope of the data set (1945-2001), the maximum range of shares of monarchies/republics is noted in this table, although to slightly restrict the range as to not skew the share, the period is adapted to start in 1948 (as, except for Lebanon, all states that became independent before 1945 were monarchies). That is, at any given tune, no fewer than 42% and no more than 67% independent monarchies were ever in the regional system. See previous table for exact shares at given time periods.

Furthermore, the figure for monarchic intergroup dispute includes MIDs in which one opponent monarchy was the UK or monarchic Spain. Given that both are (former) colonial powers in the region and democracies, they do not fall in the same category as the Middle East monarchies but rather belong outside of the scope of the analysis. If we exclude British and Spanish participation, intra-monarcliic MIDs are cut in half, to only 7, or about 1.6% of all MIDs in the region throughout the period. Contrasted against the number of purely intra-republican conflict, 69%, it looks almost negligible.5 In general, the monarchic MID dyads also produced fewer or no registered fatalities.6 So monarchies do not just refrain from fighting one another, if they do so, but are also less aggressive toward each other and always keep it below the level of war.

These tendencies are not artifacts of idiosyncratic coding, because similar tendencies hold in other conflict data sets as well: the UCDP Dyadic data set (Version 1-2011) codes 29 dyadic interstate armed conflicts7 in the Middle East from 1948 to 2003, none of which is jointly monarchic and only 6 (20.7%) of which have monarchic participants at all (in contrast, all conflicts entail at least one republican participant).8 Only four of these (or just under 14%), reach the highest intensity level of war - that is, over 1000 battle-related deaths - which make up 20 (69%) of all coded dyads and are all conflicts with at least one (main) republican participant (Harbom, Melander, and Wallensteen 2008).

 
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