Military dictatorship and absolute monarchy are two forms of government that share a common goal: to have complete control over the citizens. But there are some key differences between these two types. In a military dictatorship, the military runs the country. This can lead to more chaos and violence than an absolute monarchy, where the king or queen has complete control. This blog post will discuss the key differences between a military dictatorship and an absolute monarchy.
What is a Military Dictatorship?
A military dictatorship is a “dictatorship in which the military exerts complete or substantial control over political authority, and the dictator is often a high ranked military officer” [Source]. It usually happens in a country where the military feels intense political instability, but many militants use this reason as an excuse to overthrow a government or change the regime. Military regimes become the authoritative figure in a military dictatorship, and they describe themselves as non-partisan entities. Such quality of non-partisan is an attribute that means that a military regime can form a neutral leadership that serves the public, but historical records of military regimes show that being non-partisan might be an abstract concept.
A military dictatorship is hard to topple compared to a civilian government because it has the backing of the national army and security agents’ organisations. Military governments are likely to have martial laws or a permanent state of emergency and have been described as harsh when in power. Removing a military government guarantees a lot of bloodsheds.
Examples of Military Dictatorship
Current examples of military dictatorship known include the 2014 coup d’état in Thailand, which is in power, 2020 Malian coup d’état, 2021 Myanmar coup d’état, 2021 Guinean coup d’état, 2021 Northern Chad offensive and 2022 Burkinabé coup d’état [Source].
What is an Absolute Monarchy?
An absolute monarchy, which is driven by the doctrine of Absolutism, is defined by Wikipedia as a “form of monarchy in which the monarch rules in their own right” [Source]. The king or queen is not restricted by the constitution and enjoys full-blown powers.
Examples of Absolute Monarchy
Common examples of absolute monarchy include Brunei, Eswatini, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Vatican City and the United Arab Emirates [Source]. Countries such as Jordan, Kuwait and Morocco were formerly absolute monarchies but shifted to constitutional monarchies, and the monarch still has power.
Similarities between Military Dictatorship and an Absolute Monarchy
“In an absolute monarchy, as in a dictatorship, the ruling power and actions of the absolute monarch may not be questioned or limited by any written law, legislature, court, economic sanction, religion, custom, or electoral process” [Source]. Also, these two entities have authority figures: the king or queen and the commander in chief or a high ranked official. These authoritative figures are usually linked to the military of a particular country.
Differences between Military Dictatorship and an Absolute Monarchy
A military dictatorship entails how a military government has the authority to govern a nation and possesses all the powers. An absolute monarchy points to the leadership of a monarchy that has absolute power over a nation. The most notable difference is that a military dictatorship is established by militants or a military organisation in a country under the authority of a high ranked official, while an absolute monarchy might be a stretched setup from history established through hereditary leadership [Source]. It is noted that “a dictatorship is an office that has been gotten through force, and a monarchy or crown is a reign passed from one generation to another” [Source]. More so, military dictatorship surface after toppling a sitting government, whereas monarchs can result from colonisation. Military dictatorships are established after bloodshed because they usually involve a scuffle between a civilian government and militants in a country, and an absolute monarchy does not involve war unless there are succession disputes.
An absolute monarchy introduces a hereditary process in choosing leaders, and this process can last for generations, but a military dictatorship might sprout into another civil war with high ranked officials fighting for the throne, or it may get dissolved after general elections. A military dictatorship is regarded as illegal since the military would have seized power from politicians, but an absolute monarchy is recognised as legal. The word ‘dictatorship’ makes a military dictatorship an enemy of mankind as people’s rights will be infringed. An absolute monarchy is not described as oppressive like a military dictatorship that oppresses people.
A nation can change from an absolute monarch to a constitutional monarch through legal and political processes, but to remove a military dictatorship, there is a need for stern force or internal war within a country. Absolute monarchies have also been known to abuse people’s rights, especially women, in the name of tradition and culture. For instance, Saudi Arabia is always making news about having laws that abuse women [Source]. A military dictatorship differs from an absolute monarchy because it is shoved upon people’s throats as they are forced to accept it, and the barrel of the gun is used to enforce loyalty. But an absolute monarchy has subjects who recognise it and follow it since it does not force people to like it.
What countries are ruled by Dictatorships?
Examples include Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. ” [Source].
What countries are ruled by Monarchy?
Examples of countries with monarchies include Thailand, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
What is a Constitutional Monarchy?
A constitutional monarchy is a monarchy where the king or queen has limited powers, and a parliament elected by the people run the government. This type of monarchy is seen as more democratic than an absolute monarchy.
Is North Korea an Absolute Monarchy or a Military Dictatorship?
Despite its formal name as the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” some academics have referred to North Korea’s political system as an absolute monarchy or a “hereditary dictatorship.” A hereditary dictatorship is a monarchy where the rulers are not elected but inherit their power from their parents. In North Korea, the Kim family has ruled as an absolute monarchy for three generations and controls nearly all aspects of life. The current leader, Kim Jong-un, is the grandson of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung.
Kim Jong-un was largely inexperienced in military matters, yet he was labelled as “the great successor.” He was named head of the party, state, and army and assumed the title of North Korea’s Supreme Leader. Kim Jong-un was promoted to the highest rank of Marshal in the Korean People’s Army, cementing his position as Supreme Commander of the Military. The military’s preparedness is emphasized in particular, and economic plans have been designed to support the country’s robust military spending. Kim Jong Un’s father (Kim Jong Il) implemented a “military-first politics,” which gave preference to the military above all other concerns of the state, in 1998. Kim Jong-un was sheltered from the harsh realities of life by his warlike elders, who reared him in a bubble of luxury and indulgence. Kim was in Switzerland during the 1990s famine, in which as many as 2–3 million North Koreans died as a result of hunger. After returning to Pyongyang, he enrolled at the Kim Il-sung Military University. Kim Jong Un’s father and grandfather built the North Korean nuclear program as the main legacy of their generation, and Kim sought to continue byungjin, simultaneous military and economic growth, as the fundamental ideological foundation for his leadership.
Kim Jong-un has been working to ensure the North Korean military is as prepared as possible. His father, Kim Jong Il, emphasised the military, and it seems that Kim Jong Un is continuing this tradition. Some people may say that North Korea is a military dictatorship as the military and the party are fused very closely. However, this political system is leaning more toward an “absolute monarchy” or “hereditary dictatorship” since political power is passed down generation by generation. It remains to be seen if this title accurately describes the complex nature of life in North Korea.