Why monarchies persist: Balancing between internal and external vulnerability

Hillel Frisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Why have absolutist monarchies in the past three decades survived when so many succumbed to coups and revolution in the past? The rulers' use of divide-and-rule and balancing strategies as Lust-Okar and Jamal noted recently, served as a partial solution. Overlooked in the literature on the persistance of monarchies was how these mechanisms, which reduce the leader's domestic vulnerability, mar his offensive capabilities to cope with centralising, more effective and threatening neighbours. To cope with this trade-off between internal and external vulnerabilities, monarchs and leaders of other Third World states have been involved in a two-level game of 'omnibalancing' - allying with strong outside powers when possible while continuing to employ divide-and-rule and balancing techniques domestically. Only resource-rich or strategically located monarchies can enjoy such protection which is why most of monarchies that have persisted are located in the Middle East.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-184
Number of pages18
JournalReview of International Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


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