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Monarchic peace as a building block study

The results of the theory-guided comparative case studies contribute to several research literatures. The book draws from research traditions embedded in comparative politics (CP) like Middle East monarchy research as well as research grounded in the discipline of international relations (IR)/foreign policy analysis (FPA), such as the democratic peace theorem (DPT). Combining these traditions helps balance the respective biases of the various disciplines and enables the further development of the emerging field of study of the foreign policy of authoritarian regimes.

The theoretical framework presented here adds the study of monarchic foreign policy to the research on Middle Eastern monarchies and broadens the scope of the field. As for the FPA and IR literature in general, the case study combines the DPT literature and research on autocratic foreign policy by analyzing the conflict behavior of the monarchic subtype of autocracy, thereby dispelling the notion of a unique peacefulness among democracies. Probably the most important contribution is the insight that the democratic peace might simply be a subset of the SPSP, which includes other dyads, such as monarchies.

Transferring concepts that were created inside a democracy-centric research tradition to a region and a type of state not usually examined helps us to reach more-wide-ranging conclusions than either tradition did on their own. It crushes two “exceptionalisms” at once: it turns out that neither the Middle East and its monarchies nor democracies is unique. Democracies (mostly in the West) and monarchies (mostly in the Middle East) can behave similarly, by avoiding war and forging durable bonds and alliances among each other. The causal mechanism examined here can just as well be applied to other “similar political systems”, including, of course, democracies.

Paradoxically, this narrowing of the gap between democracies and at least some types of autocracies is a result of taking authoritarianism seriously. Only by deconstructing the catch-all category of autocracies, by differentiating the subtypes and redefining “political similarity” can we produce meaningful insights into the way different autocracies behave in the international or regional system and why they do so.

The finding that the monarchic peace is not inherently tied to monarchism but rather to similarity, salience, and ingroup identification allowed us to make the case for an SPSP based on a social identity theory pathway. The SPSP thereby forms a bridge between the DPT tradition and autocracy research. This does not make research on the democracy-specific aspects of the DP or the monarchyspecific aspects of the MP obsolete; rather, it merely complements them with an overarching framework that combines both.

If the DP is refrained as a subset of the SPSP alongside the monarchic peace -and possibly also the Confucian peace (Kelly 2012), militarist peace (Martin 2006), republican peace (Weart 1994), and socialist peace (Oren and Hays 1997) - the theorem attains a greater explanatory power and enables us to uncover additional novel facts. It would thus fulfill Lakatos’s criteria for a "progressive research program” (Lakatos 1970).

In addition, the book addresses the role of identity and foreign policy, as set on the agenda by earlier studies of their relationship (Telhami and Barnett 2002). It further delineates the conditions in which identity affects foreign policy and supports the "middle ground” between primordial and instrumental approaches - meaning that identity is neither infinitely malleable, because more institutional similarities give the monarchic elites more to "latch on”, nor simply primordial, because monarchic salience changes over time (cf. Saideman 2002, 186-187).

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