Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things!
Ha ha! Actually, I do like those things. Hell, even dictators like kittens, that should be obvious. There's something else I'm fond of that didn't make it into the lyrics of this song:
Global aid workers.
That's right, international assistance. I'm generalizing here, but I've got to go out and make sure a couple of political prisoners are properly whipped in their prison cells, so I'm in a rush. This is what global aid workers look like to me:
Continue reading "Dictator Likes: Aid Workers"
Look, I've written before of my admiration for General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. Not only is he on a career path near and dear to my heart, but he's also a spiffy dresser. And the more recent moves he's authorized -- from using the courts to ban the only rival power block to closing their newspapers -- are perfect illustrations of what I've detailed in my book. See Chapter 5, 'The Culture of Fear,' and you'll understand how this type of thing works. Importantly, once you start the crackdown, you have to keep it going. Political violence and mass chaos are fine at first, but you need to fan the flames of fear with additional measures, and that's exactly what al-Sisi is doing.
'But what's net-out?' I hear some of my colleagues in the corporate world saying. The net-out? That's you on a throne, sugar-bowl full of cocaine (or whatever your pleasure) to your right, and no pesky opposition to trouble your sleep.
And that's exactly why I'm a little concerned, al-Sisi.
Continue reading "On Keeping Your Foot Down"
Quick, pop quiz, ladies and gents. Think you know your Dick Moves? What's Number Nine? That's right, always make sure you have an external enemy. Read more about it in chapter Chapter Nine on "Politics and the Party".
No one knows that better than Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega.
Continue reading "Dick Move #9 Revisited: External Enemies"
Sir: It's pretty simple. I'm a great guy, my friends and supporters love me. But the rest of the world is giving me a lot of flak. Western media insist on using words to describe me like "tyrant," "repressive," "bloodthirsty," "brutal killer," and even "pariah." I'm getting kind of sick of the abuse and need a little public relations lift to improve my image.
Signed - Mr. Thirsty Blood
Continue reading "WWDD? Social Pariah"
It's so easy and so convenient, why not give it a try? After all, everyone else is doing it.
I'm talking about internet censorship and muzzling: after all, if you put the right laws in place, everything that happens afterwards is illegal and you can clamp down with full force and with relative impunity. After all, you do want a nation of law abiding citizens, order, and discipline, do you not?
This is something Vietnam seems to understand very well. But they weren't the first.
Continue reading "Decree 72"
This won't EVER happen to me, but some of you less competent dictators out there might be facing a no-win scenario sometime soon. Or maybe you're already there. Still not sure? Time to take stock: are you a) faced by universal condemnation? b) Have you sparked fears of a regional and possibly world-wide conflict? c) Is your reputation potentially bloodier than that of your bloody-handed father?
Well if you answered 'yes' to these questions, Bashar Assad, then you have only a few tricks left to play. It's endgame time, and I hope that for your sake you've been reading chapter 13 of my book. Good. Have you gotten to the part where I described the slash and burn strategy where you are responsible for the utter destruction of your country? I can see you nodding, but no, don't press that button yet. There's one ray of hope, one lifeline for your legacy.
Continue reading "The Madman Card"
Like everyone else, dictators have a historical context, a place in time where they learned to be the autocrats they eventually became. Sometimes they learned from the real thing, other times from pretenders. Think Julius Caesar learning from Sulla's example, Boy Assad learning from his, ahem, father, or Hitler watching the anti-Semitic Vienna mayor Karl Lueger operate.
Mussolini had an antecedent too, a very close one. But Gabrielle D'Annunzio wasn't just a would-be tyrant; he was more, a poet, novelist, lover, aviator, orator, and all-around son-of-a-bitch.
Continue reading "Proto-Dictators: D'Annunzio"