The Dictators' Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy

The Dictators' Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy

Dictators, by definition, prefer to die in office; than face the prospect of being lynched. Since self perpetuation is the key anyway, why is there a need to learn the art and methods of democratic governance ? William Dobson, travelling through some important countries like Venezuela, Egypt, Malaysia and Russia, just to name a few, has done a fine job of exposing the follies of the day that "democracy is on the march." Much of this belief corresponds to Samuel Huntington's belief of a first wave of democratization that began in Portugal, followed by Spain. In 1992, Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) faltered too; as did the Chinese Guomintang Party in Taiwan three years prior. This was known as the second wave of democratization. Indeed, Mexico's PDI couldn't hold its century long fort any longer too. CDU's armor of power in Germany also began to develop a chink by mid 1990s.

But the third moment, marked by the end of Cold War, and color coded revolutions in Ukraine, Georgia and Belorussia, did not create another momentum. Even the power of the Arab Spring in 2001 had begun to recede. One does not see Turkey promoting the virtues of Arab Spring anymore since Ankara is saddled with the welfare of more than 2 million refugees, and a broken Syria right at its very border.

More ominously, authoritarian regimes are resorting to various democratic methods----such as elections, private award of TV license, and slow strangulation of the Internet speed----to maintain a grip on their respective societies. The net results formed the crucible of William Dobson's book. As a young and brilliant author with degrees from Middlebury College and Harvard Law School, coupled with experience in Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, William Dobson has done a fine job of exposing the foibles of the dictators. The issue is: Is it too little too late ?