Demonising Dictators

Leaders like to demonise their opponents. On a domestic level we see a leader of a political party demonising the leader of another, and on an international level we have see Saddam Hussain, Gadaffi, Assad and now Mr Putin all portrayed by international leaders as completely evil, insane and uncontrollable people, and our media have lazily and readily assisted in this portrayal.

The truth of course is much more complicated. There is good and evil in everyone, albeit in different degrees. Evil acts have been committed by all dictators but many of these dictators (if not most of them) rules with the consent of their people and undertook policies to which their people consented and assisted. The late and completely unlamented Adolf Hitler could not have done what he did without the active consent and participation of most of the German people.

Power is a fragile ornament, held in place by fear and reward. We should understand that evil dictators use both carrots and stick, and thatwe, when dealing with them, should remember that holding onto to nurse, however unpleasant can keep us safe from Pongo.

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