ctrp372 Dissecting Dictators

2011 is the year where many observers and so called experts around the world scramble to understand how it is that so many dictatorships suddenly arrived at a crisis. As people take to the streets and battles take place in city squares throughout the middle east, we discover that in fact many of the dictators of these regions have not been well studied or understood.

Natasha Ezrow, Director of the International Development Studies Program at the University of Essex and author of Dictators & Dictatorships: Understanding Authoritarian Regimes and Their Leaders, has written about the important differences between dictators which we now see being played out by how they handle calls for reform.  She also lays out criteria for why types of leaders might flee a country before anyone is harmed, while others would stay til their last breath.

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Nuclear Juntas

Can’t quite finish the vlog I’m working on tonight so instead I wanted to bring up Burma. Or Myanmar, same difference.

What strikes me as odd and worthy of attention about Burma is that over the past 6 years they’ve managed to come in completely below the diplomatic and global media radar. Besides the international sanctions applied years ago, rarely does any politician in any country make a concerned speech about a country ruled by a bunch of military thugs. They periodically arrest political dissidents and are conducting their own insane slave labor project of building a new capital, mostly funded with the help of Dick Cheney associates of the oil industry. I guess that detail helps to explain some of the silence from the diplomatic side.

YaY Burma

Today I read about Russia’s deal to supply them with a nuclear reactor. Naturally the Russian government, having long shown it doesn’t care much for human rights, see’s no problem in doing such big business with a cabal that the world likes to not think about. And irritatingly enough, compared to all the noise about Iran, or the scary stories spread about North Korea, one would have to work very hard to find criticism of this deal from any powerful government out there.

For the time being, I’ll look to the Burma correspondents of global voices online, who normally provide a good snapshot of happenings in the isolated country.

Tomorrow I’m coming out of academic retirement and participating in blogwalk Amsterdam. I think I’ll take the boat, hopefully parking won’t be bad.

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More on Russian Oligarchy

As I periodically do on this blog, today I’m writing about how more and more obvious it becomes that the Russian Federation is run by an oligarchy.

Not that its so unique, lots of nations are run by oligarchies, but let’s stay on Russia today. Last weeks news that yet another person who was going to testify that the Russian secret police were responsible for the poisoning of that guy in the UK, once again threw an even brighter blinking red warning sign that not only is Russia run by an oligarchy, the oligarchs are willing to do whatever it takes to stay in power, and that includes the occasional murder.

Oligarchy: (according to webster) 1 : government by the few
2 : a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes; also : a group exercising such control

Yay Russia

Radio Open Source had one of their must-listen-to programs the other day regarding Russia and just what has happenned to the country since their so-called adoption of the market system. Among the things that the interesting guests pointed out:

    – Moscow now has one of the highest number of billionaires of any city in the world.
    – President Putin may step down after the next election, but the next president will come from the same group that has ruled the country for the past 2 decades.
    – He can also just rewrite the statutes to make himself a powerful prime minister and keep ruling.
    – The KGB was never disbanded, it was simply given a new name.
    – All the big industries, especially fossil fuels like gas and oil, were taken control through secret deals, family connections, and of course the occasional government payoff.

Anyway there’s plenty more where that came from, but the concern remains the same. Huge inequality continues to grow in Russia while a small group of people plunder its natural wealth. The population is decreasing while the rest of the world pretends Putin is a nice guy and nothing is wrong because they are so addicted to the fuel Russia will provide for the forseeable future.

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