Search This Blog

Saturday, February 19, 2005

World's Worst Dictators

Last Sunday, Parade magazine released its latest annual list of the world's 10 worst dictators.

Don't laugh, as reported in the Times of India, it was "compiled by writer David Wallechinsky in consultation with Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders - human rights groups that 'have not hesitated to expose the policies of dictatorships of both the left and the right.'"
1. Kim Jong Il of North Korea
2. Omar al-Bashmir of Sudan
3. Than Shwe of Burma
4. Hu Jintao of China
5. Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
6. Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi of Libya
7. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan
8. Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan
9. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe
10. Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea
As pointed out by AlterNet, this is an interesting list because it brings these issues into the mainstream. After all, Parade has a "huge circulation of 35 million weekly with 77 million readers." Note: not everyone on the left is excited by this annual list.

How do these dictators figure into American foreign policy?

In a recent op-ed from The Australian, Texas A&M Professor Michael Desch pointed out that China is America's top trading partner and "the countries that have been among the US's closest allies in the global war on terrorism have been authoritarian regimes such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Pakistan."

The President mentioned a couple of those states in the State of the Union address a few weeks ago:
The government of Saudi Arabia can demonstrate its leadership in the region by expanding the role of its people in determining their future. And the great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.
He sure told them, eh? I'll bet the dictators in those allied states can barely sleep at night.

Bush said nothing about Pakistan, other than to praise them for helping to win the war on terror. China wasn't mentioned, save indirectly as a source of assistance in the ongoing effort to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

No comments:

Post a Comment