How to be a better dictator

How to be a better dictator

VicesOctober 10, 2012

So there's a little Gadhafi in you? Power makes you feel larger than life? Then here's a few tips on how to become a dictator and do it  the right way even though it's still oh so wrong. 

Switch it up If you’ve relied on fear for most of your reign, try some love. Give every citizen a few barrels of oil, free satellite TV and an iPhone. If they’re still upset with you, exchange their iPhones for BlackBerries and see who complains then.

Subvert dissent When political opposition rears its head, don’t repress it publicly—co-opt the movement. Agree with their demands, enact a couple of reforms and invite their appointed leader to join your circle of advisers. Then get him addicted to cocaine and hookers and say hello to your new lapdog.      

Cultivate influential friends There’s nothing that will end your reign quicker than becoming isolated from the international community. Chum up to some first-world leaders by making free-market overtures, initiating new trade talks or gifting a giant statue memorializing some kind of democratic ideal or some shit.   

Sell out your enemies If you’ve got dirt on another dictator or international terrorist, now’s the time to act. Though you were on the same side a few years ago, self-preservation is the name of the game now. That cache of surface-to-air missiles you sold him last month? Their whereabouts will fetch good money from the right intelligence agency—or at least buy you a little extra goodwill.

Develop a commodity If your country doesn’t have a large reservoir of oil beneath its soil, you’re going to need a natural resource the world is hungry for, such as heroin or uranium. If you’d prefer to stay legit, rare earth metals—used in the production of electronics—are the latest craze. Apple probably won’t care that you’ve murdered a few thousand of your citizens as long as you’re giving it a good price on gadolinium.
 
Make vague threats You might not have a nuclear weapon, but next time you’re speaking in front of the U.N., why not allude to the possibility that you do? The point is to keep the world thinking that you’re crazy enough not to be toyed with and they’ll leave you alone until you’re dead. 

Repent in public If revolutionaries are at the gate and the world is clamoring for your retirement, you’re only option may be to give up your evil ways. Make a public speech apologizing for all those deaths, extreme repressive measures and extended bouts of famine. Most importantly, promise to reform your ways—even if you don’t mean it.