This month in autocrats, we’ve had some interesting examples of déjà vu “all over again.”
In an election that had all the suspense of a Harlem Globetrotters match, Vladimir Putin has won re-election to a six year term as President of Russia.
In China, Xi Jinping, serving as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People’s Republic of China, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, recently had the constitution altered so that there would no longer be term limits on his Presidency.
More recently Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was re-elected President in Egypt in another election with the suspense of a Harlem Globetrotters match. The only suspense will be whether or not Sisi will beat the 76.7% figure that Putin amassed in his win.
In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become ever more authoritarian in governing his country.
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has illegal hit squads out assassinating suspected drug dealers all around the country, which is how he initially made his fame as Mayor of Davao City.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
I’m not saying these guys are as bad as Stalin, Mao, Ferdinand Marcos or Atatürk, but they’re not a heck of a lot better.
I don’t think, for example, that Putin is much better than Leonid Brezhnevor or Yuri Andropov. Putin is like the poster boy for toxic masculinity, and now the whole country of Russia seems to be infected. Boy, it’s clear that we were too gleeful back when the iron curtain came down in our “victory” over communism.
The Russians did not take kindly to being emasculated (in their view), and it’s clear that they’re looking both for a return to “First World” status (at least in a military prestige sense) and some serious payback.
Since they managed to help inflict Donald Trump on us – I don’t think they were the decisive element, I still think James Comey and the FBI hold that status – they’ve already achieved a generous measure of payback.