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News of Condi Rice cavorting and frolicking with #10 on the list of worst dictators in the world (make sure you click to see 10-20 as well) really didn't surprise me. Any student of US foreign policy knows we love us our dictators, we're just really spiteful when we dump them. We're like that person who not only left you, but emailed you pictures of of them having sex with other people and got you fired for looking at them at work. Sure, you're a dirty motherfucker, but they liked that about you when you first went out. They used you to slash the tires of their former lovers, to bring home illicit profits with no questions asked, and to make sure that their parents LOVED the next person they brought home, who's so much better (but really isn't).

The list is interesting. Of course, there are the dictators we all know and love, and the ones we hate. Very interesting are the ones most of the public has never heard of.

You can rest assured that George W. Bush has never heard of them either. Hell, he doesn't even know Pervez Musharref is a dictator. Pervie's doin' a heckuva job! He's certainly not going to foist upon the public his pronunciation of Boungnang Vorachith. And those African guys, we can just ignore them right off the bat. They might as well be from New Orleans.

Anyway, what fascinates me most of all about this list is trying to look into the eyes of these most depraved figures of humanity. For some reason, Parade only shows pictures of dictators 10-20 on the list. Most unfortunate. To look into their eyes is to see the banality of evil. Sociopaths most, psychopaths a few, all exist a subtle shift in U.S. rhetoric away from being portrayed as "good friends" or as "next Hitler." Only Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus and Bashar al-Assad of Syria look to have obvious mental problems. But every one of them supposes themselves a master of human affairs, overseeing a nation of sheep and pawns subservient to the visions of grandeur in their minds. Many came into governments with some semblance of structure and instead of repairing damaged institutions, scrapped them for the easy way out. More than anything, they desire that nothing come before their personal convenience. Laws are passed that they cannot be prosecuted for anything they do. Tens of thousands starve or are killed while they operate in luxury second to none within their nation. The law is itself an illusion, existing on no foundation deeper than their whims.

And all of these "humans," as we must lay claim to them lest we become them, are far more depraved, unjudicious, and generally evil than George W. Bush. Yes, all are "products" of their systems to some extent, but that does not excuse one from responsibility. The American system is better than the Eritrean system, the Vietnamese system, the Chinese system, etc. Our worst leader is unable to wreak the sort of havoc on the American people than these men casually inflict on their people every day.
However, these men are George Bush's brothers, nonetheless. Each is a small-minded man addicted to rhetoric, realistic only to the extent that he understands when he is stopped by others who he must then do everything within his reach to knock aside. Born to power, Bush has occupied the life of a Saudi prince from day one, entitled no matter what his foul-ups. He has no understanding of the need or purpose of democracy, rights, infrastructure, checks and balances. If they get in his way, they're bad.

Plant George Bush in any of these countries, and he'd happily occupy this list of dictators. He even has the obvious psychological problems leaking through every facial expression. His power would be his right, just as it is here. His cruelty would be excused by his rhetoric, as it is here. He would jeopardize his people for some endlessly tangled and elaborate string of lies masquerading as foreign policy, just as he has here.

His only saving graces are that he's an American leader, thus he knew he had to keep a majority of the public happy enough to reelected one time. Whatever he'd like to have happen to dissenters, he's restricted to moving slowly. Whatever he'd like to do to the press, the blogosphere moves too quickly for him to achieve stable control. And like most American aristocrats, he gives the wife a smooch, ignores his kids and goes to sleep blissfully ignorant.
George Bush is constrained by the American character, still marked with speedbumps and expectations. He cannot be the monster that these men are.

He is, however, unleashed by the American system to be something none of these men can ever be. Whatever that label, he is now the leader of the (currently) most powerful nation in the history of the world. Capable of more destruction than any other nation could dream of, we are also the most hubristic nation on the planet. We face threats of collapse from energy crises, financial overreach, and religious undermining of democratic ideals. We rest on an apex, balancing delicately, tipping in the wrong direction slowly.

Who is George Bush? He is one of these tiny men of power put in control of that frighteningly lurching ship, a captain who believes icebergs are punishments for those who don't have God on their side. Unlike those listed dictators, however, George Bush understands few limits on his power. He may understand that he cannot manage a land war in Iran, that boundary is very hard and fast. But every other border is porous in his eyes. George Bush has come into a system where the US owns the Middle East, and his type of human being doesn't retreat from that. George Bush only knows how to push at boundaries. And he never questions what he's entitled to.

Look into their eyes. Look into his. Is this the man you trust with his finger on the nuclear trigger? Are you ready to give him more blank checks? Unless this Congress turns Democrat in November, he'll write the biggest check you can imagine, one we won't be able to cash.

Already the wind is starting to pick up. Republicans are gearing to use Iran for 2006 the way they used Iraq. If this country lets them, if we fall so low, we will have become a fallen nation far sooner than we ever hoped. We have to realize that the tables are turned entirely this time. Anybody who fears for this nation's security must realize that for this republic to endure, the brakes must be applied. George Bush must face a barrier that he cannot bash through. If you don't understand the man yet, if you haven't learned your lesson yet, you won't get another chance before he truly does us in.

Originally posted to nitrate21 on Thu Apr 13, 2006 at 10:11 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The US props up every repressive regime on the planet, has for decades and yet 'the people' choose to remain ignorant.

    Keep posting, you're being read and that's the important part!

    Parties divide, movements unite.

    by Gegner on Thu Apr 13, 2006 at 11:24:50 PM PDT

  •  You Cannot Tell Crazy People (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EB4Dean, walkshills, fbihop, kraant

    by looking at pictures of them.  I look crazy all the time, but I'm not.

    This is the same as Bushie saying he looked into Putin's eyes and knows the man has a good heart.  Pleeeze...

    Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. - Lao Tzu

    by FLDemJax on Fri Apr 14, 2006 at 07:45:24 AM PDT

    •  Grain of salt (4+ / 0-)

      Sure, like I said you can look in the eyes of the other dictators and they look perfectly ordinary.  It's what you know about them that reveals the madness within.  

      Now, like al-Assad and Lukashenko, I think it's obvious that Bush has dysfunctions from looking at him, however it is what one knows about him that informs that interpretation.  It is a romantic proposition to suppose otherwise, but I admit the reality.  But Bush isn't an unknown, we do know enough about him that looking into his eyes is informative.  It completes our knowledge of him.

      by nitrate21 on Fri Apr 14, 2006 at 12:08:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sometimes you can (0+ / 0-)

      Sometimes you can.

      Some people have hate pouring out of their eyes.

      I once had a student from a foreign country staying in my home. He showed me the "president" of his country in an Internet image. I said, "That man would knife you in the back and then return to dinner." It was obvious.

      I showed him a picture of Dick Cheney -- you know, one of the talking-out-the-side-of-mouth sneer pictures. He jumped back.

      I hope he is OK. His country was rougher than ours.

      It's the "anti-fear-propaganda" solution: positive news: HeroicStories, free

      by AllisonInSeattle on Sat Apr 15, 2006 at 01:11:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am also fascinated with those top dictators (0+ / 0-)

    lists.  I was thinking at first that maybe it's the same thing with  people who are obsessed with serial killers; but I have no inclination or desire to read up on serial killers.

    But dictators...those messed up guys interest me

  •  Please link to the article (or list) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Nice job, but (0+ / 0-)

    please use "Democratic" instead of "Democrat" when you're employing it as an adjective or you'll sound like a wingnut.

    In comments:

    We don't prop up every repressive regime on the planet, by the way.  Iran and North Korea are plenty repressive.  That doesn't mean that our policies towards them are necessarily justified, but let's not kid ourselves either.

    I'm also wary of the Fristian diagnoses.  Assad doesn't seem crazy to me.  But Bush -- there's something about tiny close-together eyes that does truly bug me.

    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

    by Major Danby on Sat Apr 15, 2006 at 12:30:49 AM PDT

  •  For insightful, brilliant research into (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what makes dictators tick, see Alice Miller's book, "For Your Own Good".

    She compares the early lives of dictators, as Hitler and Stalin. It's an amazing expose of some truths about humanity.

    It's the "anti-fear-propaganda" solution: positive news: HeroicStories, free

    by AllisonInSeattle on Sat Apr 15, 2006 at 01:08:27 AM PDT

  •  IQs and power (0+ / 0-)

    I read yesterday that bush's IQ is 98.  I am even more frightened now than I was before of what he may unleash on this planet  because intellectually he is incapable of knowing what he is sowing.  I have been guilty of calling the guy "stupid", but I never realized he only truly does have average in-telligence.  On the rest of the list were Clinton, Nixon, FDR, JFK, Carter and Bush senior.  They all have genius IQs.  How have we come to this in this country that we appoint a man as the most powerful person on the planet who does not have the intellect to rule?

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