Tryants on the other side of the world have had a tough time in recent months. The former dictator of Egypt, Honsi Mubarak, was ousted from power by a people that had had enough of his toxic brand of leadership. Likewise, Moammar Gadhafi, who ruled the Libyan people for over 40 years, found his power and influence crashing down on him this week, as he was shot to death by Libyans who had had enough. Osama bin Laden was taken out by U.S. Marines five months ago. And Saddam Hussein, the butcher of Baghdad, reigned with brutal fury over the Iraqi people for almost a quarter of a century. He was ousted by U.S. troops, brought to trial by the new Iraqi government, found guilty, and hanged.
I am pleased with such developments, as I am sure the vast majority of the people living in fear under such regimes are. But I have to question the thought-processes and mentality that brought such maniacal people to leadership in the first place.
Jean Lipman-Blumen has written a fine book that describes in fascinating detail why some populations elect or appoint toxic leaders to positions of power. It’s hard to argue with her thesis that some of the blame of toxic leadership lands at the doorstep of those who helped such leaders come to power. One can only hope that the people in the Middle East will reflect on the costs to their societies that such dictators have imposed, and consider other alternative forms of government going forward.
And hopefully the events I have recapped here will give pause to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.