19 January 2017
The perfect dictator
The Gambia is being invaded by a coalition of its neighbors, with the apparent approval of the United Nations Security Council, in a sign that Yahya Jammeh, who once hobnobbed with Presidents, has no more friends in the world. Jammeh took power in a coup d'etat back in 1994 but has submitted to elections since then. He squeaked through with 53% of the vote back in 2001 but won later votes by margins that would have seemed suspiciously larger if not for the outcome of last month's election, in which he won less than 40% of the vote. Despite initially conceding defeat, Jammeh has since called the result into question and has had a state of emergency declared. The president-elect, who won with a plurality in a three-man race, fled to Senegal, where he was inaugurated today according to the original schedule. As I read into the matter more, it looks like Jammeh has merely been stalling in the hope of negotiating an immunity deal. He doesn't seem to be one of the great monsters of African politics, but just the typical "big man" with policies and opinions that appear eccentric if not (in some cases) bigoted by western standards. I call him "the perfect dictator" since his fate seems to be playing out like liberals globalists' wildest dreams, with the international community apparently united in reprisal against a ruler who refuses to accept the outcome of an election. I can't find anyone defending Jammeh. No one defends his sovereignty against alleged western or globalist puppet masters, or claims that the election was rigged in favor of his opponent by sinister forces. Not even the usual defenders of sovereignty at all costs, Russia and China, are sticking up for him. This can mean one of two things. Either Jammeh somehow has made himself so odious that no one will take his side, or else The Gambia has nothing in which anyone has bothered taking a stake that would associate them with the president. Since it is one of Africa's smallest countries, with an economy based largely on agriculture, re-export and tourism, it's more likely that, for once, a country will benefit from no great power really giving a damn about it. The lesson, then, would seem to be that if you want to be a dictator -- or president-for-life, or whatever Jammeh had in mind, -- you had better have something to sell if not something with which to threaten the world, or else the world will turn against you eventually.