6 thoughts on “There are dictators”

  1. He thinks it’s good to not be the top member of his predator class?

    As far as I’m concerned, the whole mass of them are equally as bad – and far beyond the concept of ‘human.’ And no one but their sycophants (almost as bad) will miss them, and that because the sycophants will lose everything along with their dictator when the dictator invariably goes.

    • That is how he hung on: government largesse.

      His ostensible justification was that under him Byelorussia was doing better than most of the other ex-soviet countries. “Trade political freedom for prosperity”. (The same deal the CCP enforces in China.) Which worked, economically, for a generation. But after a while the economic dividends weren’t enough to keep the masses quiet.

      The Baltics in particular prove a lie his argument: they are doing well economically as well as politically with the prospect of more under EU and NATO membership.

      The key lesson of Lukashenko is that government largesse as a means of political control has limits. A lesson a certain band in the US needs to heed.

  2. Remember that when you choose (or excuse) the lesser evil…

    …you’re still choosing (or excusing) evil.

    Sometimes there isn’t really a good choice† but that’s not a justification to trumpet the merits of the bad choice and claim moral superiority from making it.

    † Sometimes, you just know there’s going to be one or more “I regret to inform you” letters involved.

    • Technically correct but in real world matters of governance, oftentimes there is no “good” option, just a choice between distasteful paths. “Pick your poison”. C.F., France 2022, USA 2016, 2020.

      In the Byelorussian case, as the link pointed out, he was already in power when the Soviet Union collapsed and he chose to double down on the existing model. He was entrenched and had all the tools in place to remain in power. His statements were not intended to justify himself as much as to threaten the body public. Properly translated his statement works out to “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” Or, “Things can and will be worse when I’m gone.”

      He is basically Mussolini to Russia’s “little painter” Putin. He made “the trains run on time” and kept Russian tanks off his streets. In Putin’s 19th century mindset, Byelorussia must either be a satrapy or a target for annexation, much like Ukraine. Acquiesence to the lesser evil, who put “a chicken in every pot” more or less, was very much the lesser of evils. Folks there have always been aware of his evil but they were also aware of the other, greater evil.

      Life is not perfect and in that part ofthe world it has never been anywhere close to it. Not for the past thousand years and not for the next 20-50 years, even if Putin goes away tomorrow. Russia remains a fading empire and dying empires don’t just fade away quietly.

      Push come to shove, the vast majority of people just want to live out their lives in peace. Exceptions are come in two flavors: authoritarians and “fractious quarrelsome” individualists. Both camps are absolutists.

      Even here.
      Pick your poison.

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