When I say, "the nation revolves around me," I mean it. Want to see? Watch what happens when I tell the whole goddamned nation how to cut their fucking hair. Ah, ha ha ha ha! I kill me. Stick around, I love this stuff. I think in a couple of weeks I'm going to tell every male in the nation that the law now requires they carry a "Kim Jong Un" buttplug up their pooper 24/7. And you know what? They'll do it! Because I'm the dictator and if you don't do what I say, it's the end of you! Ah ha ha ha ha!
Well, I might be joking about the buttplug, but I'm serious about telling you how to cut your hair! Boo ya!
In chapter 2 of our book, 'Inimitable You,' we note that many dictators have taken their megalomania to its logical concluding place, and made their lives inseparable from that of their state or nation. When you and the state are one, it becomes impossible for anyone to imagine a separation (short of a violent one). In modern times, perhaps no one has embodied this axiom with as much style as Italy's Silvio Berlusconi. His relative success in the current Italian elections -- which he should be losing by a wide margin, given his terrible record -- is a prime example of what can happen if no one can imagine the existence of the country apart from you. (Read long-time Italy resident and novelist Tim Park's take on this phenomenon here.)
Continue reading "On Inoculating Your Political Self"
Dammit, people, I swear I'm getting sick of this. And all I wanted was a stealth fighter that would scare the bejeezus out of the West. And this is the best you can do?
Continue reading "Fake It Like you Mean It"
Today I want to say that I understand. It's hard for some of you out there; a little constitutional barrier here, a little interfering parliament or journalist there. I know, and I feel your pain. We can't all be untouchable supreme leaders like Richard M. Tater. That's a given. Still, don't despair (just stop sending me these whiny fucking emails). If the glare of the media is unbearable, and the West is watching your every move, you can always turn the attention to your advantage and generate publicity with an essential by-product: a reminder to everyone, internally and internationally, of who calls the shots.
Take Vladimir Putin. Career winding down? Getting older? Beset by punk rock acts, pro-democracy movements, and Western criticism? Besides a resurgence of the security state, Mr. Putin knows that sometimes the best solutions are very public in nature.
Continue reading "Show Them Who's Boss"
In chapter 13 of the Dictator's Handbook ("Endgame") we go on at length about carefully choosing how you'd like your fall from the throne to take place. There are a lot of options out there, from the knifing of Colonel Khadaffi to the firing squad that took down the Ceaucescus, and more. But there's a worse option: getting hauled into court.
But that's exactly former Guatemalan strongman José Ifraín Ríos Montt is headed, where he can expect some uncomfortable questions about his past actions.
Continue reading "Dictator Dislikes: Getting dragged into court"
It was a photo-op that horrified some and heartened others, Yes, Mohamed Morsi had his summit with Ahmadinejad. You can imagine the reaction in the halls of power in Europe and the United States; and you can also imagine the effect it had on the Egyptians, who generally don't care much for Iran or the Iranian president.
Continue reading "Brothers in Arms"
The great thing about keeping your people in a permanent state of repression is that when you offer them just the tiniest little thing, they are so much more appreciative.
Continue reading "Damn I love throwing my people a bone"
It was hard to take Kim Jong Un seriously anyway, as it was his father. Yes he's a member of a new generation, who has grown up with different sensibilities and different cultural influences. For a while there was some speculation that he'd be a reformer, breathe some modernity into the Hermit Kingdom, throw off the shackles of the narrow and twisted game his father and grandfather played so endlessly.
Continue reading "Kim Jong Un and the Cult of Permanent Victimhood"
Who says autocracy and romance are incompatible? As Americans gather on the 14th to celebrate the martyrdom of a Roman-era military prisoner
, I'd like to remind you to keep your local tyrant on your love-list, as well.
Not sure who produced this. We'd be happy to provide attribution though, since it's awesome.
Some of you aspiring dictators out there may be troubled by elections. I know, the very word rankles; it implies that the 'people' have a say in getting you to and keeping you in power. What nonsense. Still, don't walk away in huff, my young acolytes. Elections can be useful (see chapter 12 of my book), and best of all they keep you in good graces with the eggheads in charge at the U.N.
But wait, some of you might be thinking, what if we lose an election -- or worse, what if we need an election to get us back in power after being thrown out for any number of tawdry offenses (um, accepting bribes, outright theft, soliciting prostitutes, illegal wars, brazen murder of opposition leaders ... thank God for ellipses or that would be a long list)?
Continue reading "Election Tips: The Big Splash"