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WWDD? Be Sure. Be Really Sure.

Closing time

Your Excellency: I am president of my country, and thanks to your tip of vote-stealing I win last election, no problem. Also thanks to your excellent book, all political opponents now enjoy long stay in jail. I swim 5 miles all day, drink nice Sctoch from decanter and women like me, sometime even when I forget money. True, English could be better but no one is perfect (except you!). Still, I have problem; I can't sleep at night because nightmares terrify me, I wake up in sweat and think I have enemies unknown, maybe far away but maybe close too. You understand? Or maybe my enemy's son or daughter or dog is thinking revenge? So I say, why take chance? I order second, third, fourth crackdown, arrest all relatives, friends, aquaintances, pets. First I sleep better but can't help wonder, maybe I go too far? Then bad dreams come back. What I can do?

Respect yours, President Yelda.  

President Yelda,

I have to say I like your style. And thanks for crediting me and my book, you'd be surprised how many tin-pit dictators forget where they got their inspiration. You certainly seem to have read the parts of The Dictator's Handbook that cover how to deal with political opposition, and evidently you took notes.  

As for your problem, let me be the first to reassure you. Number One, you can't be paranoid enough in this job. Everyone is out to get you, so if you feel you have to target third and even fourth cousins, then by all means, do so. Take Viktor Yanukovych, for example. Now, I'm not saying that he is harassing his main political enemy's daughter (though it sure seems like it), but then again maybe Ms. Tymoshenko will get the message this time, hand delivered to her jail cell. What Viktor knows, and I suspect that you do as well, is point Number Two: sometimes you need to widen the circle of repression to get your desired results. And when you do that, be very sure you've gone all the way. As you said yourself -- why take a chance?

So relax, Mr. Yelda. Get some sleep, rest easy. You're doing fine.  

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