In yesterdays editorial meeting, the WHYS team kicked around some ideas for today’s show. We discussed President Karzai and President Zardari’s meeting in Washington on how to tackle the Taliban. One of the team mentioned her conversation with an Afghan taxi driver who said that his country could never function as smoothly as the UK. “Look at that pedestrian crossing” he said, “people are obeying the rules. That would never happen in Afghanistan.” It got us thinking about whether some countries actually need dictators.Many believe that the rise of countries in South East Asia has been down to their “authoritarian advantage” but it doesn’t seem to have worked wonders for all. Countries like Somalia and Congo, who both suffered terribly under dictatorships spring to mind. But then again, their attempts at democracy haven’t been successful either.
As Pakistan’s condition continues to deteriorate some have been asking whether the country was better off under the military rule of General Pervez Musharraf. Others disagree blaming him for the country’s present day misery.
But how do you balance human rights, which generally suffer under dictatorships, with stability?
There are leaders who start off as conquering heros and drift towards dictatorship – Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe are cases in point. Can dictators be helpful up to a point? Do the problems just arise when they overstay their welcome?