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Best way to stop men like Putin is to prevent their rise in first place

9 Comments
By Joseph Wright and Abel Escribà-Folch

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First, Western governments enable dictators’ cronies to launder the illicit gains paid by the dictator in exchange for their loyalty. London and Miami have become havens for Russia’s oligarchs to stash their payouts from Putin.

The governments controlled by billionaire corporate interests. The same Panama and Pandora paper manipulations that hide Bezos and other billionaires wealth from taxation is used by Russian oligarchs.

The Western and Asian oligarchs are complicit.

https://www.npr.org/2022/03/27/1089072532/western-enablers-help-russian-oligarchs-hide-their-wealth

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

So it is worth thinking about what policymakers might do to prevent future world leaders from following Putin’s example. Putin is what political scientists like us call a personalist dictator.

Well, before we fire up the politicval label maker, and start a preventive treatment program, to prevent future Puts, lets understand who these people are first.

Work by two researchers (Seth Davin Norrholm, Ph.D. and Samuel Hunley, Ph.D., The Psychology of Dictators: Power, Fear, and Anxiety, originally published 1 Aug 2016, updated: 12 Jan 2017, https://www.anxiety.org/psychology-of-dictators-power-fear-anxiety ) may be useful right out of the gate. Their work indicates that the Puts of the world, despite their apparent omnipotence within their individual spheres of power, tend to suffer from excessive anxiety, especially paranoid fears of citizen uprising and/or assassination. They maintain a cultural and political environment that feed grand delusions regarding their self-importance.

They are also narcissistic individuals that have a "greatly exaggerated sense of their own importance" and are "preoccupied with their own achievements and abilities. They tend to be "preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success" and "power." They believe they are unique and can only be associated with others of equal or higher status; and they require excessive admiration to remain happy, possess an extreme sense of entitlement, exploit others, and are often envious of others.

They also tend to behave with a vindictiveness often observed in narcissistic personality disorder. After a negative evaluation, narcissistic people generally demonstrate greater aggression even to individuals unrelated to the feedback. And it can be so extreme that it is easily overlooked as borderline personality disorder.

 Stress the need for more research to understand how multiple factors come together especially when it is difficult to define contributions of cultural, environmental, or political influences that facilitate the rise of a Put.

So now we know some of the psyche.

Next, we can use the research of Barbara Geddes, Joseph Wright, and Erica Frantz (A measure of personalism in dictatorships, 2 Nov 2018, https://sites.psu.edu/dictators/files/2018/11/PersMeasure2-1skwg7c.pdf ) to actually see where we are going on this.

Their work suggests using eight items to measure latent personalism disorder in Put future want-to-be's, including

Does access to high office depend on personal loyalty to the regime leader? 2. Did the regime leader create a new support political party after seizing power? 3. Does the regime leader control appointments to the party executive committee? 4. Is the party executive committee absent or simply a rubber stamp for the regime leader’s decisions? 5. Does the regime leader personally control the security apparatus? 6. Does the regime leader promote officers loyal to himself or from his ethnic, tribal, regional, or partisan group, or are there widespread forced retirement of officers from other groups? 7. Does the regime leader create paramilitary forces, a president’s guard, or new security force loyal to himself? 8. Does the regime leader imprison/kill officers from groups other than his own without a reasonably fair trial?

Yes, it is measurable! Which is a very good thing, since just about every world leader (politician?) can fallen into one (or more) of these criteria, at least at one time or another.

Our research has found that once these type of leaders start repressing their own citizens at home or initiating conflicts abroad, there are few good ways to stop them. But that doesn’t mean their rise to power in the first place is inevitable.

Out on a limb? Maybe. If the authors are suggesting that the world Stop Feeding The Trolls, well that's perhaps not a bad idea.

That is, if you can get the powers of the world to agree on anything this large and complex. Ever heard of Cat Herding?

But in this complex world of geo-politics, all measures that involve potential interference with political systems and sovereign governmental change from without, must be taken with extreme caution, with an eye to preserving existing democratic principles of popular elections that most of the world values above all.

No matter whether their election results are popular or not.  Or fit in your own worldview.

Don't like what's happening elsewhere. Try fixing what is broken in your own system first.

Do not make a preventive measure a lethal toxin to your very own value system.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Political, not "politicval". Sorry.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Childhood is critical. How can the endless cycle of wars and brutality be stopped?

How Vladimir Putin’s childhood is affecting us all - 

https://acestoohigh.com/2022/03/02/how-vladimir-putins-childhood-is-affecting-us-all/

0 ( +3 / -3 )

As to the title of the article, the phrase, "Easier said than done," comes to mind.

As to the observation that childhood is critical, I too wonder how Putin's childhood affected his worldview. Putin comes from Leningrad, a city the Germans tried to totally destroy in World War II. Turn the clock forward, and Putin's favorite tactic is to unleash his weapons of war to totally destroy "enemy" cities. Is what he has done in Chechnya, Syria, and Ukraine an attempt to recreate the horrors witnessed by his family in the city of his upbringing?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Even U.S. military strikes to stop Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi from slaughtering his own citizens

Sorry, is this article really meant to be taken seriously?

The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.

Really, could have fooled me.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yeah, sure. The US has its share of psychopaths too, you know. Look no further than some of our multinational corporations to find one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Apparently, your 'research' failed to uncover Putin's ascent to power, which was at the behest and approval of he USA. Among those actors emplacing Putin into power was Kissinger and associates along with various NGOs and elements of the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Nor have any of the regimes in:  Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Venezuela engaged in military endeavors abroad.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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