Monday, December 13, 2004

No More Tyrants, Please

Click here for AmazonAn excellent piece by former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky: Palestinians Do Not Need Another Tyrant.

Only weeks after Oslo began, when nearly all the world and most of Israel was drunk with the idea of peace, I argued that a Palestinian “fear society” would always pose a grave threat to Israel and would never prove a reliable peace partner. It was Andrei Sakharov, the foremost dissident in the Soviet Union, who taught me that regimes that do not respect the rights of their own people will not respect the rights of their neighbors.

The link between the nature of a regime and its external behavior is not always understood. Democratic leaders, whose power is ultimately dependent on popular support, are held accountable for failing to improve the lives of their citizens. Therefore, they have a powerful incentive to keep their societies peaceful and prosperous.

On the other hand, the power of dictators is not dependent upon popular will. For them, staying in power is a function not of bettering the lives of their subjects but rather of controlling those lives. To justify the degree of repression necessary to sustain their illegitimate rule, dictators need to constantly mobilize their people against external enemies.

LGF: No more tyrants, please

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