The problem with being a tyrannical dictator is that there is no career path and no practical way to retire. If another dictator takes over, the first item on his agenda is turning your head into a bird feeder for his guest house. If democracy breaks out, sooner or later the mob will want to execute you for crimes against humanity. As a tyrant, your only rational strategy is continued brutal suppression of your peeps. That's a lot of work for the tyrant, and no fun for the peeps.

What the world needs is a program that allows graceful retirement for tyrants, so they have some incentive to step aside. Justice would never be served, but it would be best for the country.

I imagine the tyrant retirement program would provide some sort of international security guarantees and permanent amnesty for the tyrant. That might require some U.N. forces to guard his mansion or island fortress or wherever he decides to retire. And he would have unrestricted travel rights, in case he wanted to get out of the country for his own safety.

Second, the tyrant would be written into the history books as some sort of founding father type. He would be, ironically, the father of democracy, having stepped aside to allow it to happen. The history books would be modified to show the tyrant did many good things in terms of national stability, and then stepped aside to allow democracy to flourish. His multiple genocides would be downplayed. No tyrant wants to get bad press after retiring.

The tyrant would also be allowed to keep much of the money he stole, say up to a limit of $5 billion per tyrant. That's enough to keep him in helicopters and hookers.

You could add some extras, such as putting the tyrant on stamps and currency, or agreeing to keep him on the ones already in circulation. The point is that retirement has to look like a safe and honorable thing.

The story line for the country would be that while a dictatorship made sense while the tyrant was in power, it only worked because of the force of his amazing personality. And since his country couldn't be expected to find another dictator of such compassion and skill, democracy is the best succession strategy. That spin might sound preposterous, but when you consider the things your own government tells you, it's not that different.

I know it will never work. But waiting for tyrants to die takes too long, and killing them is too expensive. There has to be a better way.

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+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
And people wonder why the first Bush left Saddam in power.
Or why the Shah was in power for so long.
Or why SLORC is still in power.
Or why there was so much hesitance to remove < WARNING! ObHitler reference! > Hitler.
May 28, 2008
The only way to get a democracy is for a sufficient groundswell of support from the masses. This has happened only infrequently and cannot be hurried. Iraq should have taught us that at least.
May 28, 2008
The only problem is that we moist robots are hardwired to feel pleasure when people get what we feel is their "just deserts". There was a study proving it. When bad things happen to bad people, we feel good. Therefore we don't like it when bad things fail to happen to bad people. "Good for the country" is an abstract concept that doesn't have much feeling associated with it, so it'll lose out.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
Wow...with all those perks it almost makes me want to be a tyrant for...oh, let's say a day...or maybe two to make it legitimate...and then take your exit strategy option. I'll even make it easy on the history book writers and not do anything tyranical - just step in and step out!

Think about it Scott, we already have dozens of nasty people willing to be dictators for free...why give people incentives? A grand retirement package would only ensure that dictatorships continue for a long, long time.

It's a $5B carrot that the poorest 85% of the world would jump at - nice idea if you're looking for worldwide anarchy though.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
Here in Brazil the military dictatorship had an idea like that. They gave amnesty to everyone that committed political crimes during their government, including themselves.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
I've often thought about how to use incentives to persuade tyrants and dictators in implementing more liberal forms of government. The gist of my best idea is that you guarantee the tyrant a percentage of the GDP of his/her country for his entire lifetime.
The dictator would look around and see what works and end up with something looks closer to a Western country than it looks like Zimbabwe.
The other alternative is to get mega-billionaires like Gates & Buffet to put up a couple billion dollars of prize money that they would give to the ruler of a 3rd world country that managed to improve his country the most over some specific time period. But then again, when you can just steal that much money is that much of an incentive?
May 28, 2008
If I was a retiring tyrant I'd be expecting to bag for a hollowed out volcano, minimum.
May 28, 2008
Do like we do here in the US. Let them keep the stolen money, pardon the crimes, then build them a library.
May 28, 2008
I have seen a proposal like this, it proposed a luxe tropical island where the dictator could safely retire. I think the twist was that each new dictator became the ruler of the island only temporarily, but was demoted one down each time a new dictator came along. I think that little twist was meant to remain quiet to the despots involved. Eventually they would be scrubbing the bathtub in their toothless old age, kept working hard by a fresher and pitiless new sociopath.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
Isn't this pretty much how we did/do things in the UK?

'Retired' our Royal family from making any decisions and gave them a few castles and some guards to stop the rest of us killing them.

I guess it works, but I think there needs to be a clause to stop them reproducing, otherwise your have to protect their family for eternity from the people they oppressed.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
For people who have suffered grave injustices the desire for revenge/justice usually trumps the desire for freedom/democracy. For many, blood debts can only be satisfied in blood.
"He s dead, and my hatred has died with him."
Jean-Paul Sartre

Although since Monsieur Sartre's existentialist views probably don't jive with your no free will views I'll point out that my 84 year old Ukrainian neighbor still spits every time he mentions the name Joseph Stalin. So even in death the hatred doesn't stop.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
I may be the 600th person to say this, but Fidel Castro seems to have figured out a way to at least appear to step aside... His brother was "elected" to succeed him as he gracefully fades into the background. He has retained his $550 - 900 million (estimated, of course). Your plan looks a whole lot like Fidel's, aside from the fact that he waited until he was too close to death to rule anymore.

As a side note, have you seen the number of assassination attempts he's survived? The guy is like a cat, except that he has 600 lives.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
Scott, Roger Waters beat you to this 20 years ago. See his song "Fletcher Memorial Home" from the Pink Floyd album "The Final Cut":

The Fletcher Memorial Home (Waters)

Take all your overgrown infants away somewhere
And build them a home, a little place of their own.
The Fletcher Memorial
Home for Incurable Tyrants and Kings.

And they can appear to themselves every day
On closed circuit T.V.
To make sure they're still real.
It's the only connection they feel.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, Reagan and Haig,
Mr. Begin and friend, Mrs. Thatcher, and Paisly,
"Hello Maggie!"
Mr. Brezhnev and party.
"Scusi dov'è il bar?"
The ghost of McCarthy,
The memories of Nixon.
"Who's the bald chap?"
And now, adding colour, a group of anonymous latin-
American meat packing glitterati.

Did they expect us to treat them with any respect?
They can polish their medals and sharpen their !$%*!$%*! and amuse themselves playing games for awhile.
Boom boom, bang bang, lie down you're dead.

Safe in the permanent gaze of a cold glass eye
With their favorite toys
They'll be good girls and boys
In the Fletcher Memorial Home for colonial
Wasters of life and limb.

Is everyone in?
Are you having a nice time?
Now the final solution can be applied.

May 28, 2008
It is only expensive for the U.S. to kill dictators if it assumes responsibility for the new government. One missile launched from a Predator would be sufficient in most cases. And although the dictatorial control mechanisms would remain in place and another wannabe dictator would step up, after a few iterations of this the wannabes might start to weigh the cost (dying or always hiding out) against the benefits.

How many lives and how much money would the U.S have saved if we had just blasted Saddam to pieces and warned his successor to treat his people better, forget about WMDs and quit stirring up !$%* with the neighboring countries?
May 28, 2008
We could provide them with disease ridden hookers after they retire. That way they get justice and leave office peacefully.
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
You've been conducting random cost/benefit analyses again, haven't you Mr A?

An interesting concept, but it does mandate a lot of subterfuge, which the pesky media would expose at every turn - unless you're suggesting the whole scheme could be run in the open, which would surely mean it couldn't work?

I can't help thinking that democracy would lose out as well. If we give all the nutters an easy way out, we'll run out of nutters, and frankly, the democratic (note, small d) war machine needs nutters. I'd hate to think what the hawks would do if they ran out of imaginary WMDs to chase - perhaps they'd start to look inwards? If the Pentagon imploded it'd look even more like an anus than it does now.

Plus the economy would lose out totally as defence spending dropped (assuming that we democracies don't need as much weaponry if all we do is shake it at each other), and we'd see the global economy on permanent slide as the only thing which generates wealth is boom/bust cycles (perish the thought of placing constraints on the free market) and wars...

However, there's one thing you're definitely making an assumption too far about. That the moist robot dictators, towards the end of their reigns, get bored, lazy and old (sorry Rita Mae) and would take the easy way out rather than continuing to believe in their own godhood... while I take your general stance on human behaviour (dumb all over, a little ugly on the side) dictators are exceptions so I reckon it's not a goer.

I'll volunteer to be the first guinea-pig though. Have the helicopter land in the car park at 5pm GMT, I'll away to Antigua, ta.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
Want to get rid of your dictator?

Have Dick Cheney take him (or her, it is the 21st century) on a hunting trip.

Simple, and considering the cost of 12 gauge shot gun shell, affordable.

Or, have "W" support them for re-election. Poof, gone with the wind.

+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
There is a long tradition of Tyrants having retirement plans, one that comes to mind is Idi Amin Dada of Uganda who spent a wonderful retirement in Libya followed by Saudi Arabia (Our partners in peace). Read more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idi_amin

May 28, 2008
Maybe we should just persuade the tyrant into taking a job as a CEO of some frigged up company. He can put in a year, act like an !$%*!$%* get paid well for it, and then be gently moved out (to make room for the next tryant) as he's handed his golden parachute and lands on a soft bed of hookers stacked up on the golf course holding Viagra. He can loot the company, and never look at jail time. We've seen this played out here over the last couple of decades and the people never rose up in arms.
May 28, 2008
Great suggestion. I think it has much more chance of success than the Mo Ibrahim prize which aims to offer financial stability to non-tyrant african leaders.

He offers a $5m prize plus $200k/yr for life

Does it matter if tyrants get more stability in the long term than non-tyrants?
Are tyrants put off, or at least moderated by fear of what might happen if they eventually get deposed?
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