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No More Dictatorships by 2025
by Alan Caruba
24 March 2004

We live in a world where just forty-five men rule the lives of more than two billion people.

In late February, Parade magazine’s cover article was about the “The World’s Worst Dictator.” We have reached this new century after one wracked with wars begun by its dictators, the long “Cold War” sustained against the dictators of the former Soviet Russia, and the creation of the United Nations, intended to end such wars.

We live in a world where just forty-five men rule the lives of more than two billion people. In his book, Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictatorships by 2025, ($27.95, Rowman and Littlefield) former Ambassador Mark Palmer lays out the plan by which the entire population of the world could begin to live in democratic nations. The dictators include Hu Jintao of Communist China, Kim Jong II of North Korea, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Fidel Castro of Cuba, Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan, Ayatollah Ali Khameni of Iran, and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

The greatest concentration of dictators is in the Middle East and Africa. Others are in Southeast Asia. Still others run the former Soviet republics, such as Saparmurat Niyazo of Turkmenistan. Red China stands alone simply for its vast population ruled by a Communist Party that poses a threat to the stability of everyone on their borders.

The one universal reason for ridding the world of these men is a moral one. They are murderers and thieves on a grand scale. Another reason is the right of all people to live in freedom, to live where the rule of law exists and the will of the people determines the decisions made by elected, representative leaders.

Then and only then could the Universal Declaration of Human Rights become a reality with everyone enjoying regular and free elections, a free press, trade unions, and an independent judiciary. This document is the heart of the aspirations set forth with the creation of the United Nations, but the UN accepts as members those same dictatorships and treats them as equal to free nations.

There is another compelling reason. As Ambassador Palmer notes, “the free nations produce 89% of the world’s economic output; the dictatorships just 6%.”  Imagine how productive the world could be if the remaining captive nations could be set free to tap the energies of their people? We would see an end to famine everywhere. We would see the great flow of trade and goods that would enrich everyone. We would see the “hidden hand” of competition that would insure the affordability of those goods.

What some Americans and others around the world have not understood about the invasion of Iraq by the United States and a coalition was the absolute need to remove one of the world’s worst dictators, Saddam Hussein. Even now we hear influential voices saying that we could have continued to accept his rule, that he really didn’t pose an immediate threat to the United States, that he didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction. All this ignores Saddam’s endless potential as a continuing threat, willing to threaten war against his neighbors and to hatch grave plots against the US with its enemies among the fanatical Islamic Jihad movement.

In the few short months since the invasion, it has significantly transformed the entire region. Pakistan, a hotbed of Jihadists, is now an ally in the war on terror. Libya’s dictator has taken steps to secure American and international acceptance. Syria’s dictator may be contemplating trying to seek peace with Israel and withdrawing from Lebanon. Iran is contemplating allowing international inspections of its nuclear facilities. Saudi Arabia’s rulers are contemplating what changes they must make to save themselves from the very Jihadists they have funded and supported for decades. Other Middle East nations such as Bahrain and Kuwait seek to ally themselves with the United States and consider movement toward establishing some aspects of democracy.

Ambassador Palmer states that the “removal of dictators is first and foremost a domestic political matter, undertaken by the people living under tyranny.” That said, he outlines the steps the United States and other free nations can take to support such efforts. Nor does he rule out military intervention such as that undertaken in Iraq.

The reason for eliminating the remaining dictators is the simple proof of history that “by attempting to base US security in other parts of the world, the practitioners of foreign policy common wisdom not only failed, but also undermined American credibility worldwide.”

When people ask why do people around the world hate us, the answer is they have seen our great example of democracy and wondered why we have accepted to work with and even praise dictators who are utterly corrupt. The last century demonstrated why this simply does not work and why appeasement only leads to war. An estimated 169,000,000 people died in the last century due to war and famine that was the direct result of the tyrannies of Nazi Germany, Japan, Red China, and the former Soviet Union. Others died on the vast African continent and continue to die every day because of the tyrants who rule so many of its nations.

The notion that Americans should live in a republic governed by the world’s oldest, living Constitution, and that others in the world do not yearn for the same blessings of liberty is absurd. We saw that in 1989 when thousands gathered in Tiananmen Square, the heart of Red China, to protest peacefully for more representative government. Deng Xiaping made it very clear that the protesters wanted to “overthrow the Party, state and socialist system and to replace it with pro-Western bourgeois republic.” He was right. That is why the protesters had created their own Statue of Liberty. It was crushed beneath the treads of Communist tanks.

It is a wonder to me that people still go around mouthing all the lies and nonsense about Communism and Socialism as the answer to the world’s problems. They have long been and remain one of the world’s greatest problems. It is why Communists resist all efforts toward democracy and freedom. It is why Socialist nations cannot even begin to compete with those utilizing our Capitalist system.  Communist and Socialist systems are inherently corrupt. Both systems concentrate power in government rather than allowing the economy to flourish and its benefits to enrich and enhance the lives of free citizens.

The concentration of power in the hands of forty-five dictators or in governments where citizens have no say in the conduct of their lives is a tyranny that must end. There is a movement toward that and it is called the Community of Democracies. Ambassador Palmer calls it “the best-kept secret in foreign affairs.” It has met in 2000 in Warsaw and produced a founding document. It met again in Seoul in 2002. Ultimately, the CD must replace the UN. The UN is an utterly failed and flawed international institution. The Ambassador also sees an expanding role for NATO.

It is time to let the world’s remaining dictators know their time is up. It is time for free and democratic nations to join together to encourage domestic opposition to them. If they don’t, the lethal technologies of the new century can make the millions of deaths in the past one look puny by comparison.

The good news is that in 1972 there were only forty-three free countries in the world. Today there are eighty-nine. We are about to add Iraq to the list no matter how messy that effort may seem. Americans are dying there for the same reason they died in far greater numbers to free Europe and Asia in the last century. That’s what free people do. They fight and they die to free others because it is the right thing to do and because a free world is a safe world.

Alan Caruba is the author of Warning Signs, published by Merril Press. His weekly commentaries are posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.

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