Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Ugly Dictator’s Survival Handbook - Lesson 77

How Pentagon Geeks & Russian Generals Plotted in Secret to Take Away Assad’s WMD “A secret plan involving Pentagon scientists and Russian national security officials managed to take out the weapons of mass destruction belonging to a brutal dictator.” Just like Samantha Power’s book “A Problem from Hell,” this article can also have a dual use. That is, it can serve as a how-to to dictators who want to avoid accountability on how they can win international support at the expense of the basic rights and aspirations of their people. Or, to be more specific, the article can serve as an additional reinforcement and encouragement for dictators who have already discovered the secret for survival in an amoral world.

For dictators have long discovered the value of popularizing nightmarish scenarios that are said to unfold should the regimes be allowed to fall. They did this for the benefit of a domestic audience as well as the international community. But, these days, and as the article points out, and the truth of the Iran Deal reveals, having lots of WMDs stockpiles dispersed over many locations in the country is an important new ingredient of this strategy. And if one can afford to develop a serious nuclear program, then, one should not hesitate about it, irrespective of any international condemnation, threat or sanctions. Ultimately, when the program is advanced enough, there is every reason to believe that diplomatic engagement will be seen as the only way out. And the ruling regime, no matter how authoritarian or corrupt it happens to be, will be re-legitimated. In the meantime, no one would risk going to war with it, and the economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation imposed on it can help it increase its grip on state and society.

The fact that the Obama administration is actually congratulating itself on its handling of the Syria File as a whole and not just the issue of the WMDs, as well as the Iran Deal, all while ignoring the price involved – the half million Syrian dead, the millions injured and displaced, the destroyed infrastructure, the implosion of a country, and the threat to Europe’s stability, all that should serve as an additional source of confirmation to dictators that their “Aprés moi, le deluge” strategy still works. 

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