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The Christmas Spirit

From me to  you

I'm not always a monster. Don't laugh, it's true -- just the other day I pardoned a former cabinet minister on his way to a summary execution, and at this very moment he's very much alive, languishing in an unheated prison cell. It's called magnanimity, and it's a virtue only the best dictators possess. Of course, being magnanimous can (and should) have its benefits, and if you've read my book and studied the Principle of Double Purpose you'll know what I'm talking about. In this case, the poor guy was so broken by the thought of his imminent murder and relieved by his pardon that he quickly gave up a whole rats' nest of burgeoning democrats, some of whom will join him in prison, others ... well, why take a chance, right?

But that's one benefit of being a big man about treason. The other is that since the unexpected pardon, my media image has taken on a nice Christmas shine, especially in the eyes of the international community. Hmmm, I can see them thinking, that General Tater, he's not such a bad guy after all. Maybe there's hope for his country ... democracy taking root ... market economy .... reforms .... liberty ... free speech ... zzzzzzzzzzzzzz 

... Sorry, I must have fallen asleep. Back to magnanimous gestures -- as you can see, they are usually a sly way of achieving multiple goals on your way to consolidating power. And I have to say, it's nice to see some of my colleagues following suit, particularly during this Christmas season. 

That is to say, I salute you, Vladimir Putin: now that you've crushed dissent, cemented your power and likely secured your legacy, why not pardon one of those poor bastards who once got in your way? It's the Christian thing to do (wink). After all, it's only been 10 years. Go on, let him go free, and before you know it you might get some fawning media coverage on CNN!

Well, it's nice to have colleagues one can respect. Let's have some of that blackberry vodka next time you're in town.

What I want for Christmas is

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