Friday, May 23, 2014

Monarchist Cooperation - Why Not?

Although certainly never as often as I would like, there have been numerous episodes throughout post-revolutionary history on the part of monarchies to work together in mutual support against the shared threat of radical republicanism. In 1792 the crowned heads of Europe began to come together in support of the beleaguered King Louis XVI, first by the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Toward the end of the year, when King Louis was martyred, monarchist reaction was more swift and widespread and resulted in the War of the First Coalition with the Austrian Empire (still nominally the Holy Roman Empire at that stage), the Kingdom of Prussia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, the Kingdom of Portugal, the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily and even the Ottoman Empire joining in the struggle against the bloody First French Republic. Originally the aim was to safeguard the Royal Family and restore to the King his rightful powers, later it was to avenge his death and restore the legitimate French monarchy. This was, of course, only the first in a series of wars against revolutionary and later Napoleonic France to restore the monarchial order. It would come to quite a sight to have Britons, Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians, Germans and Russians all fighting side by side, even alongside French royalists.

League of the Three Emperors
In 1823 when Spanish liberals rose in revolt against King Fernando VII, King Louis XVIII of France sent an army across the Pyrenees to aid Spanish royalists in restoring the authority of the legitimate monarch which was accomplished after the Franco-Spanish royalist victory at the Battle of Trocadero. This had such far-reaching effects that it prompted the United States to issue the Monroe Doctrine for fear that the monarchies of Europe would come together to restore royal rule over their lost colonies in central and South America. In 1848, when the Austrian Empire was beset by rebellions and revolutionary forces on every side, Emperor Francis Joseph called on Tsar Nicholas I of Russia for help and the “Iron Czar”, also known as the “Gendarme of Europe” responded by sending a Russian army to crush the rebels of Hungary and restore Hapsburg authority there. He also gave moral support to the King of Prussia to oppose rebels in northern Germany and offered to send Russian troops to other countries to suppress the revolutionary movement. Unfortunately, as the Nineteenth Century rolled on and certainly into the Twentieth Century, this sort of monarchial solidarity became less and less common. In 1864 the French Second Empire aided Mexican monarchists in restoring the Empire of Mexico and there was some support given by the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Belgium but such aid was limited and quickly withdrawn in the face of American pressure.

Japanese-Manchu friendship
World War I saw some monarchies supporting each other but also saw republics fighting alongside monarchies and monarchies giving aid to radical revolutionaries. The Central Powers were solidly monarchist at least in that all members were monarchies but as staunchly monarchist as the German Empire was, it was not above giving aid to republicans if it served to undermine their enemies. Republican France found itself on the same side as Imperial Russia and in the end those monarchies which emerged victorious on the Allied side did not insist, as their ancestors had, on the restoration or preservation of monarchies which had been in the enemy camp. Between the wars, the Empire of Japan intervened against the Republic of China to restore the Manchu Emperor to his legitimate throne but World War II saw much the same political opportunism as seen in the First World War. Monarchist Britain was the odd man out amongst the other major Allies nations of France, America, China and Russia all of which were republican. They supported the restoration of monarchies which had been overthrown by the Axis powers (Norway, the Netherlands, Ethiopia) but were also willing to sell out other monarchies that had gone the same way such as in Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria. Among the Axis Powers it was Nazi Germany that was the odd man out amongst monarchies like Italy and Japan as well as lesser partners like Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary (nominally at least), Thailand and the restored Manchuria. They varied between monarchist and simply pragmatic in their policies save for Nazi Germany which barely tolerated monarchies under the best of circumstances. The best that can be said of them was that they were not so staunchly anti-monarchy as the Soviets were.

In the aftermath of World War II, there were precious few monarchies left in the world to cooperate on anything and those that did survive had little ability to support one another. There also, frankly, seemed little willingness as monarchy seemed to stop being seen as important, even in monarchies. Whereas the United States defined itself based on its system of democratic republicanism and prided itself on its republican values, monarchies tended to promote much the same while simply ignoring the monarchial aspect of their system of government and their entire histories. Of course, it was in the aftermath of two world wars, almost every monarchy on earth had been devastated by them and the two emerging super-powers were the Soviet Union and the United States, both staunchly republican so, we should perhaps try to be understanding (difficult though it may be) of how so many monarchies seemed to simply give up and take the attitude that, “If you can’t beat them, join them”. Although, in not a few cases they didn’t even try to beat them first. However, that was then, this is now. No one is recovering from a world war anymore, in fact, if one believes the big shots in Brussels, the future of Europe is so bright they have to wear shades.

Now, one thing that has always irritated me, just slightly, is how easily and zealously some monarchists take to anti-Americanism. In some cases it irritates me just as someone who spent years and a great deal of money learning history from some of the finest professorial minds of the east and the west. All too often they grossly exaggerate the influence and/or culpability of the United States in world affairs, especially prior to World War II as well as ignoring the responsibility of those other countries which urged, in some cases all but dragged, America out of her original policy of, more-or-less, isolationism to take a more active part in world affairs. However, the most aggravating part for me is those who take to anti-Americanism because of the record of the United States regarding monarchy around the world. My simple statement, time and again has been: the United States is a republic, in fact the oldest and most successful significant republic in the world -of course they are going to promote republicanism. The United States has to take at least a nominally negative view of monarchy, otherwise the whole justification for the creation of the country in the first place would evaporate and that is asking too much of a people. My question is this: why don’t monarchies show the same pride and zeal in promoting monarchy as America does in promoting republicanism? Instead of bashing America, why not beat them at their own game?

That is the question here: why not? Set aside the past and start with the world as it is now. The United States has organizations, think-tanks and lobby groups, such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that promote democratic republicanism around the world; where is the monarchist equivalent? They don’t even have to give up their beloved liberal ideals but could simply make the case that democracy works most smoothly within a constitutional monarchy. They do not necessarily have to give up their current alliances but simply give an emphasis to supporting other monarchies and promoting the restoration of past monarchies. There were numerous monarchies which took part in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the partial involvement in Libya. They don’t even have to commit themselves to direct action just to simply make the case for monarchy. Why not, aside from the network of alliances and agreements that already exist, can't monarchies of a particular region like New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan stand together to promote the form of government they all share? While the United States makes no secret of its desire for Iran to become a democratic, secular republic, why do the monarchies of the world not make the same case for the restoration of the monarchy?

Many if not most monarchies today, no matter how indebted they may be thanks to their socialist spending programs, give away a great deal of money in foreign aid and overseas charity projects. Why not limit that to fellow monarchies in need or at least give less to those that do not share your form of government than to those which do? It doesn’t have to be gun-boat diplomacy or nation-building, simply send the message that we are willing to be your friend in any event but we would be even friendlier if you would restore your old monarchy in some fashion. I’m doing my best not to make this difficult but I know the initial response to the question of “why not” will be that most of the monarchies of the world no longer believe in monarchy the way republics believe in republicanism. When an American is asked why they are proud of their country, they will say because of the values it represents; the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, equality and justice for all. They believe it is the best system for organizing human endeavor that the world has ever seen. Ask a Canadian why they are proud of their country and they will say something about human rights, social justice and maybe inventing the zipper, in other words, nothing that has to do with the Canadian form of government or Canadian history. Monarchists living under republican rule know what their task is: to restore the monarchy. This, I would say, is the great task for monarchists who have the benefit of living under a monarchy already: restore national pride in your history and form of government. Work on making your countrymen as proud of their country, in its entirety, as Americans or other republicans are of their own. The world can only benefit from the effort.

After all, “why not?”


  1. The public may still refer to their respected countries as kingdom, sultanate, etc. The Monarchs may still call themselves as Kings, Sultans, Emperor, etc. But, as far as the politicians who run the countries are concern, their countries are crowned republics. That's why no one is promoting monarchism actively, at least in national or international level.

    1. This is what I have called the "republican mentality" in past posts. I tried to convey here that I understood that and so was not asking "why" but "why not" as in, "why not try to change that?" If you live in a republic, the goal of a monarchist is to strive for a restoration, if you live in a monarchy, why not strive to make the monarchy matter more and for more people to take it seriously as an alternative to republicanism?

  2. Thank God the Gulf Cooperation Council, the military and economic alliance of Arab monarchies in the Middle East, exists. Not only do they oppose the dreadful republics in Iran and Syria, but they also act as a sort of stabilizer in the region (they helped prevent the collapse of Yemen and Egypt). They even cooperate amongst themselves to mitigate their own issues, whether it be about the Bahraini republicans or Qatar's controversial foreign policy. The GCC is the political entity that most mirrors the European Union, but without the parts that makes the EU so Godless.

    Their biggest issue is their Salafi, puritan, laws, closely followed by their massive reliance on oil revenue. But again, what makes the GCC so unique among the Middle East is that, despite their ultra-conservative behavior, they are the only ones that have reformers that are actually willing to reform. If we're lucky, we will see their worst aspects, such as Saudi Arabia's massive gender inequality, be ridden of. And when that happens, we wouldn't really have to worry about their fall. Maybe they'll even start exporting real, conservative monarchism again.

    1. Sorry but I'll take Syria over many of that regions countries.
      As faulty as he is (and while I wish for Syrian monarchial restoration); Assad is secular shia and christians and other denominations thrive in the parts controlled by him.
      In the parts controlled by the jihadis paied for by Qatar & Saudi they behead those that are not sunni or wahabi.


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