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Tools of the Trade: 'The Kitchen Sink'

Well, it looks like some of you have been reading my book after all (chapter 8 in particular). I'm looking at you, Bashar al-Assad! What was once a losing battle seems to have stabilized, for now, and you are looking tough, too tough at least for local actors to dislodge (not talking about Israel here, so all you international studies majors, back off!). 

I like what you've done to help yourself -- a little bit of everything, something I called 'The Kitchen Sink' approach in chapter 8 of The Dictator's Handbook. The idea here is that when a number of different strategies fail to curb unrest or stamp out the flames of rebellion, you're better off using everything at your disposal, from violence, espionage, and financial skullduggery to media manipulation to get ahead of events and make sure your regime will not go the way of the dinosaur.

You've done it your own way of course, Bashar; you've focused your military on the trouble spots, brought in irregular militia to support your terror tactics, and isolated the rebels, among other things. Nice job, even if it's strictly for the short-term. You may have bought yourself a little time, but it doesn't look like the end result is going to change any. Still, look on the bright side -- now you can pick out your retirement mansion on the Black Sea without fear of being strung up in a public square in Damascus. For now. 

Don't flush just yet


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