OpinionMeister

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Tyrannies in Trouble

Michael Ledeen sees trouble for the tyrannies in North Korea, China and Iran. Link. He gives examples in all three countries of actions by the people there that shows that the government no longer holds total control. He then concludes with:
It has long been assumed that a repressive regime could survive as long as it had the will to crush any opposition, and that clever tyrants could deflect hatred of their regime by conjuring up an external enemy. There is still a tendency, particularly among intellectuals, to assume that these principles apply to contemporary dictatorships like those in China, Iran, and North Korea. Yet recent events suggest that these three countries, which are united by common interests and which help one another with advanced military technology, from missiles to WMDs, are losing control despite their fierce determination to cling to power and eventually fight and win a great war against the West. All three have nearby examples of new democracies, and their peoples are asking, with increasing intensity, why they are not permitted to govern themselves.

Five hundred years ago Machiavelli insisted that tyranny is the most unstable form of government, and he warned that the most dangerous development for any tyrant was the contempt of his own people. That dramatic tipping point is now very close in China, Iran, and North Korea. All that is required to get there is a steady flow of the truth from outside their borders, guidance for those who undertake the struggle against the tyrants, and constant reminders — backed up with modest action — that we are with them.
These are the hardest of the hard core. It will be far easier for the people to overthrow the government in Syria or force reforms in Egypt and even in Saudi Arabia. That so many examples of active opposition can be found in the three hardest-core cases is cause for optimism that the moves toward democracy we have seen in the world will continue for several more decades, as long as we have leadership in the United States that is serious about liberty and democracy worldwide.

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