In This Issue
Vol. 26 Issue 16
Banal Paranoid Dictators: How Putin and Xi Have Made Russia and China Weaker
- From Moscow to Beijing
- The Problem with “Strongmen”
- The Economy
- The Pandemic
- Common Weaknesses?
Recorded history is largely an account of the crimes and disasters committed by banal little men at the levers of imperial machines.
– Edward Abbey
In our recent issue “The Half-Percent” (4/21/21), we covered the fact that the digital era has allowed a very small number of ill-intentioned individuals to lever technology and affect an increasing number of victims. Nowhere is this truer than in the halls of state of modern autocratic nations.
With the power of a nation behind them, totalitarian heads of state are in a pole-position when it comes to the worst of the half-percenters. Indeed, they often come first to mind when we think about those who are placing the world in danger. While the difficulties the world faces due to the “half-percent effect” at the highest levels of governments are daunting, it is helpful to remember that totalitarian nations are often led by actually weak, albeit ruthless, leaders.
This issue is about two such men, and how a better understanding of their true nature can help us to deal with them.