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Von Habsburg on Presidents, Monarchs, Dictators

For anyone who thinks of blue bloods as worn out and effete, a chat with Otto Von Habsburg smacks like the backside of a duelist's glove.

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But he has cautions for the U.S. as well. "It should be a little less preaching, especially to the Muslim world," says Von Habsburg.

He then notes the return of former royals to Bulgaria and Romania, and how many of the other 400 members of the Von Habsburg clan have staked claims to properties previously confiscated by the Communists. Neither he nor any of his immediate family plans to do so, he says, since in his 22-year career in the European Parliament, "I wanted to serve as a representative of all the nations which were under Soviet occupation," he explains.

For, in the end, Von Habsburg indicates, politics can't be simply boiled down to whether a government is a monarchy or a democracy, conservative or liberal. "We all need to concentrate not so much on the form of the government but on the content, and not insist that one nation's way is the only way to salvation."
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