, Volume 91, Number 5

Robert S. Snyder
The Arab uprising that began in 2010 saw the fall of rulers in states that had republican governments, yet the monarchs in their states survived. This is ironic in light of the fact that many monarchs throughout history have been vulnerable to revolutions. What explains this discrepancy? Although the literature has emphasized the impact of petrodollars in preserving the rule of the monarchs, this article stresses ideological and institutional factors. Like the Soviet Union’s embrace of Marxism–Leninism, the Arab republics had regimes based on the failed ideology of revolutionary nationalism. Although revolutionary nationalism, which fused the nation and state, declined by the late 1960s, it left an institutional legacy that made it difficult for the republican states to change. On the contrary, in defining themselves in opposition to revolutionary nationalism, the monarchs provided for security and stability in making themselves somewhat immune to transnational revolutionary movements like the Arab uprising. In differentiating the state from the nation, the monarchs, paradoxically, showed more respect for different societal interests within the nation than the republican rulers.

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