Why Tyrants Worldwide Are Trying to Resurrect Old Empires

Tyrants are trying to grab power worldwide …

For example, Turkey’s Erdogan has repealed free speech and rights, instituted fundamentalist Islam, and – according to many – is trying to re-institute the Ottoman Empire.

Japan’s Abe has also jettisoned free speech, re-instituted its military, and – according to some commentators – “the land of the rising sun is rising again.”

Many other political leaders all over the world are asserting authoritarian powers and cracking down on freedoms and legal protections.

Why is fascism on the march?

Highly-regarded journalist John Pilger – the BBC’s world affairs editor John Simpson remarked, “a country that does not have a John Pilger in its journalism is a very feeble place indeed” – thinks that the liberal democracies of the West have become fascist.

The West is certainly largely dictating Japanese policy … and backing Japan as a counter-balance to China’s rising power.

Similarly, NATO – the western military alliance – backs Turkey as a counter-weight to Russia’s growing assertiveness.

So the West is enabling the rising authoritarianism in these two countries. Indeed, the U.S. has a history of kindling dreams of expansion among its proxies. For example, Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser Brzezinski told Al Qaeda’s forefathers – the Mujahadin:

We know of their deep belief in god – that they’re confident that their struggle will succeed. That land over – there is yours – and you’ll go back to it some day, because your fight will prevail, and you’ll have your homes, your mosques, back again, because your cause is right, and god is on your side.

In that way, the U.S. stirred up its proxy army to fight the Soviets.

Perhaps the West is doing something similar with Erdogan and Abe … stoking their lust for power to get them to fight Russia and China.

Another theory is that corruption starts at the top (a “fish rots from the head”).  When the world’s strongest country (America) committed the ultimate war crime – an aggressive war on Iraq – it amounted to a virtual declaration of open season on lawlessness for the rest of the world.

But is this really new?  After all, the U.S. and the West have long backed authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere because it is politically expedient (they’ve got lots of oil).

Indeed, we have frequently backed strongmen – such as Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega and Muammar Gaddafi – until they get too “uppity” … at which point we bump them off.

True, the brazenness of the Iraq war lies – along with the concomitant crimes of torture, etc. – maybe on a whole new level.

But I would argue that what’s really different now is that – for the first time since the end of WWII – U.S. imperial power is waning.

Wanna-be dictators such as Erdogan, Abe and others in the gallery of rogues are therefore jumping into the void and trying to enlarge their power …

These are the exact type of scoundrels who dream and scheme of resurrecting the glory of empires gone by … whether the Ottoman, imperial Japanese, or other.

What do you think?  Why are political leaders shredding civil liberties and grabbing for power worldwide?

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