The Brief Analysis Of Different Types Of Dictatorship

 Throughout history there have been a multitude of dictatorships throughout the world and each of them have their own characteristics that distinguish them from one another. This paper will dive into the different varieties of authoritarianism and compare and contrast the differences from one another. Authoritarianism can be seen throughout the world in places such as the Middle East and many African countries. Authoritarianism itself is the principle of submitting to authority, rather then have the individual freedom of action and thought. When examining the general understanding of a authoritarian governments, it is one in which it denotes any political system and concentrates the power in the hands of a small elite or a single leader that is not responsible for the body of the leader. This type of system comes with many issues such as repression, corruption, and overuse of power. The varieties of authoritarianism that this paper will be discussing are monarchy dictatorships, military dictatorships, and civilian dictatorships. These are the three most distinguished factors of dictatorships around the world. A monarchy dictatorship is an “autocracy in which the executive comes to and maintains power on the basis of family and kin networks (Clarck, Golder pg.463).” A military dictatorship is an “autocracy in which the executive relies on the armed forces to come to stay in power(Clarck, Golder pg.463).” “Any other types of dictatorships are called civilian dictatorships (Clarck, Golder pg.463).” Understanding what separates and constitutes for each of these dictatorships falls in being able to identify the effective head of government.

Dictatorships can be somewhat challenging in being able to find the effective head of the government. Generally in a dictatorship the head would generally be the prime minister, president, or king. When looking into monarch dictatorships these are the ones that rely on their family and kin network in order for one to come and stay in power. A great example in Clarks Comparative Politics book discusses Qatar. The Emir of Qatar “reshuffled his cabinet in 1992, installing his sons as ministers of defense, finance and petroleum, interior, and economy and trade; his grandson is in charge of defense affairs; and nephew is in control of public health (Clarck, Golder pg.467).”This is a ideal example that demonstrate how monarch dictatorships create a close alliance with its family members such as the one seen in Qatar. In monarch dictatorships the family and kin members play a key role when it comes to the issue of succession. The successor is generally the member of the royal family however, the succession is not based on being the first born. In Kuwait the family elects the ruler by the participation of family leaders and their own interests that they have. One aspect that is very unique when looking at the succession in a monarchy is that the royal family elite can violate the process of succession. This can be done when the royal family elite support someone who they feel should be elected. In Swaziland the senior queen is typically the kings mother. When the queen dies the role is supposed to be passed down to king's wife. The Royal Council (Liqoqo) chooses someone who is unmarried and the only child of his mother and in return they become the new queen. The first two wives of the king are “chosen for him and are from the specific clans Matsebula and Mosta(Clarck, Golder pg.467).” The king can only marry once they have fallen pregnant. The current king Mswati III who came to power in 1986 has 15 wives and 25 children. Since the new queen and senior queen much come from different families this would allow for the royal family to choose from the wives as to who they think is a good fit for the position when necessary. When looking at monarchies stability and economic situations according to Figure 10.2 in the text it shows that they are typically a stable form of authoritarian regime. Since monarchic dictatorships have leaders who tend to stay in power for long periods of time, more than any other types of dictatorships, they are more politically stable and have less violence. Monarchic also tend to have more economic growth. Monarchic dictatorships “have a political culture that allows them to solve commitment problems with the support of their coalitions(Clarck, Golder pg.468).” The strong loyalty that monarchs have with their coalition and allowing members of the royal family colonize government post helps with their own material benefits. Leaders in a monarchs political culture are more credible, such as the distribution of the rents to his supporters in a coalition. There are three components that monarchies have. These are “clear rules as to who the insiders and outsiders are, rules or norms that indicate exactly how regime rents are to be shared, and institutions that allow members of the royal family to monitor the actions of the monarch(Clarck, Golder pg.469).” This is seen in Kuwait in that the succession is between two branches of the Babah family, which allows for a sake in maintaining the regime. And in Swaziland where the royal courts enforce the rules relating to the succession of the monarchs. Monarch dictatorships are able to maintain their strong power hold because of the hierarchy and how individuals are elected however, this is not the case for the other dictatorships that I will be discussing.

MIlitary dictatorships are comprised of military leaders who are apart of a committee (Clarck, Golder pg.470). Military dictatorships are made up of high ranking officers who take over on the behalf of the military and have three or four heads of various armed services. In military dictatorships it can be seen that the ruler often makes themselves out to be the one guardian the national interests of the people even though that might not be the case. Military dictatorships are generally the cause of a “coup who are motivated to come to power because of corporate interests or class conflict (Clarck, Golder pg.470)” This can be seen in Argentina, Chile, and Guatemala when right-wing coupons toppled the the left wing democratic governments and threatened to distribute the wealth from the rich to the poor. However, military dictatorships suffer from economic and political stability. The threat of factions that military dictatorships face is high. This is because military dictatorships tend to have short durations of power and generally end in negotiations as opposed to violence which is good. And many of the times when there is a change from the military dictatorship they likely will leave behind competitive and democratic forms of government. More so than any other dictatorships. This is possible because the military tends to “value the discipline and cohesiveness, autonomy from civilian intervention, and military budgets large enough to attract recruits and buy weapons(Clarck, Golder pg.471)” When the government threatens the military this is another reason in which why a coup might start. But, when the militaries are in power the text states that they bring the “seeds of their own destruction.” There can be disagreements over economic policy, or the distribution of benefits among the senior officials which causes for factionalization. Many military officials would rather allow elections rather than risk trying to cling to power. The best thing about military dictatorships is that they are generally very short and when they do want to step down from power that know that their preferences will be taken into consideration because they already showed there is a possibility of a coup happening.

Lastly there are civilian dictatorships which do not rely on family ties and military strength to stay in power instead, they do not have an immediate institutional base for support. So there are two subcategories to civilian dictatorships and that it dominant party dictatorships and personalist dictatorships. A dominant party dictatorship in one where a single party dominates access to the political office and policy, however other parties can compete in elections. In the Communist party in the former Soviet Union, memberships was necessary in order to become a part of the political, economic, and academic class. As membership into the CPSU advanced the loyalty to the party was important in retaining power. Dominant party dictatorships are the second longest lived dictatorships according to Brownlee. The overall strategy in maintaining office is for them to stay united. Factionalism is often seen in dominant party dictatorships because there is competition for leadership in some cases. If there is a split in the party that would allow access for another party to potentially come to power. This is why parties co-opt minority factions in order to maintain access to power and stay united. One aspect that is seen in these dictatorships is that there is widespread election fraud. This is because the co-optation strategies the dominant party dictatorships require that the dominant faction have sufficient resources to convince minority factions to stick with the regime party. This could be effected though if there is a economic downtown that takes the money supply away from them. So electoral frauds is common to make sure people in the party are not discouraged and do not defect from the regime. In Lucan Ways article, Some Thoughts on Authoritarian Durability, he states “If a crisis convinces ruling elites that continued loyalty threatens their future access to patronage, it may trigger a bandwagon effect in which politicians defect en masse to the opposition(Clarck, Golder pg.474).” So this is why it is crucial to have strong and cohesive unification within. Personalist party dictatorships on the other hand do not use regime parties to stay in power. Rather there is a leader, who is often supported by a party or the military, retains personal control of policy decisions and the selection of the regime personal(Clarck, Golder pg.478). In personalist dictatorships the leader often undermines institutions so there is not a base for a power shift and they can stay in power. The leader does not want a independent base for support either. These dictatorships generally have a secret police, violence, and fare in order to keep the population suppressed. Many of these types of dictators create a personality cult in order to maintain the support coalition. More notable is the example of Muammar al-Gaddafi who established a personality cult. Gaddafi forced generation of Libyans to study his “green book” as a source of political and social theory (Clarck, Golder pg.480). This caused for many Libyans to believe he is the all powerful ruler behind all the political decisions. Establishing this cult is crucial in a lot of cases making it able for these types of leaders to be able to stay and maintain power. It is “designed to create citizen loyalty by producing false beliefs in the population (Clarck, Golder pg.480)” However, with these cults it can cause for dictator's dilemma, in which the ruler will never know his true political support because of preference falsification and no one stating how they feel publically. Since personalist dictatorships retain personal control over policies and decisions members of their support coalition are often linked to the incumbent regime making it hard for them to defect. This explains why personalist dictatorships often end in violence, more so than any other dictatorship. Personalist dictatorships become unstable when there is severe economic downturn, military defect, or system of patronage around him collapses. Overall, these two components help explain some of the drastic measures that civilian dictatorships take in order to maintain power. The needs to maintain power individually or together in civilian dictatorships requires the implementation that other dictatorships don't see, such as suppression, electoral fraud, and personality cults.

Looking at all of the theoretical frameworks that these dictatorships have gives great insight into why revolutions happen in certain places over other. Monarchic dictatorships are much different than the other discussed because of the family and kin networks that are in power. This allows for high ranking family members to elects who they feel is rights and there is generally an agreement between the people. There is less concern about members defecting to opposing regimes such as in civilian dictatorships. With being able to consolidate power in this way it allows for them to be stable. This can be also seen in civilian dictatorships, specifically in the dominant party dictatorships. They believe in staying united and the more united that they are the longer they will maintain their power. This is why dominant party dictatorships are the second longest lasting dictatorship. Military dictatorships are the shortest lived dictatorships and they generally end in another power taking over and tends to lead to democratization. However, military dictatorships have disagreements with economic policies with high ranking military officials which results in them allowing elections rather then cling to power. Most of the time they are able to have some say in economic policies because another coup could be possible. The economic stability that military dictatorships face also effect civilian dictatorships. Civilian dictatorships use different tactics in order to stay in power such as electoral fraud, suppression, and personality cult. These traits are not seen in the other types of dictatorships discussed. One thing in common between the two subcategories of civilian dictatorship is economic stability and how it could cause for the party in power to topple. Dominant party dictatorships use election fraud during times because they want to demonstrate that they are stable regardless in order to prevent members from defecting. In personalist dictatorships an economic downturn could make them very unstable and be a potential cause for an uprising or people defecting. This is why civilian dictatorships use these strategies to maintain power. Overall, these three different authoritarian examples help understand how the government in countries work and why certain policies implemented by the rulers are done. In conclusion, there are many similarities and differences between these dictatorships that distinguishes each one in their own ways.           

29 April 2022
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