Monday, July 18, 2011
Montequieu's Guide for Dictators
There are many well-known dictators today (Kim jong il of North Korea; Bashar al-Assad of Syria; Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, etc). All these dictators need to maintain fear in the populace to retain power. Therefore, if they lose this attribute they will lose the ability to control to masses. An example of this is the "Arab Spring" in Syria and other countries. In Syria, Assad one day brutally suppressed protesters and the next day made vacuous concessions. He thereby diminished his ability to promote fear in the populace by weakening his position. The police have reflected this lack of authority by no longer issuing citations. A dictator can never appear weak, lack confidence or be reluctant to use force, as per Montesquieu.