Our Dictators and the Dictators of Others

Ten years ago, on March 11, 2006, Slobodan Milosevic, the former leader of Yugoslavia, died in The Hague’s prison. The unenviable fate of other wayward rulers also comes to mind — those of Iraq and Libya…

Yet even today there are about a dozen countries — in Africa, for example —whose leaders are openly called dictators. They’ve ruled for 25-35 years in Uganda, Cameroon, Sudan, etc., but are faced with, it seems, neither prison nor the threat of overthrow from without. Why?

It’s not just that some countries are rich in oil or occupy a prime location on the map, while others are of no interest to anyone in the world. It’s first and foremost about the fact that following the collapse of the Soviet Union no one has been containing America’s desire to subjugate all countries to its interests. And anyone who tries to seriously achieve real sovereignty is immediately declared a dictator. In the end, he’s either executed like Saddam Hussein, or tortured like Milosevic (by prison) and Muammar Gaddafi (by a mob.) Or he might suddenly fall ill and die, like Hugo Chavez …

If a head of state abides by American colonial principles and allows the U.S. to exercise external control and exploit the country’s resources and geopolitical position for the interests of the West, then such a leader, irrespective of his ideology or the form of his rule, can remain in power for a long time. Even if he’s three times a tyrant, for America he’s “our son of a bitch,” as they say President Franklin D. Roosevelt once called former Nicaraguan ruler Asastasio Somoza. We remember Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. We remember the Arab sheikhs, whom the U.S. regards with favor. What kind of democracy, what sort of human rights are there in these very same United Arab Emirates or in Saudi Arabia? But these countries fulfill an important function in the American world, and so no one bothers them.

Milosevic paid for his independent stance, and for his attempt to defend Yugoslavia’s sovereignty and integrity. He was removed as a final barrier, and now his country is no more. But its fragments — except perhaps Serbia — are now fully integrated into the Western world, and don’t dare to utter a peep against their masters.

Valery Korovin is director of the Center for Geopolitical Expertise and a member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.

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About Jeffrey Fredrich 199 Articles
Jeffrey studied Russian language at Northwestern University and at the Russian State University for the Humanities. He spent one year in Moscow doing independent research as a Fulbright fellow from 2007 to 2008.

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