Advancing a Free Society

An Egyptian Power Struggle: Why the Worst Will Win (Lesson’s from Lenin’s Playbook)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The media has again begun its celebration. Another repressive dictator has been overthrown (or is about to be). The people are massed in the streets demanding freedom. Talk turns to a successor who will restore order and create a new and better order. We hear these familiar words as the thirty-year-old Mubarak regime totters on the brink.

The hard reality is that this optimistic scenario rarely works out. A worse (or equally bad) dictator rises to the top, not a democracy or even a more benevolent dictator. Throughout history, it is the Lenins, Stalins, Ayatolla Khomeneis, Saddams, and Aristides who replace the Czars, the Shahs, the al-Bakrs, and the Papa Docs. Successful transitions from dictatorship to democracy of the Philipines and South Korea are the exception and require special circumstances.

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