24 February 2011

Nervous Dictators from Riyadh to Havana Rushing Out Populist Concessions while Quietly Preparing for the Worst...

Recent developments in North Africa
have tyrants spooked worldwide

At this rate North Korea's scrawny, gnarled slaves 
might even see an extra bowl of gruel or two...

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced financial support measures, worth an estimated $36B US in a bid to avert the kind of popular unrest that has toppled leaders across the region and is now closing in on Libya’s Muammer Gaddafi.

The measures include a 15% salary rise for public employees to offset inflation, reprieves for imprisoned debtors, and financial aid for students and the unemployed.

Saudi Arabia’s ruling family has thus far been spared the type of popular discontent that has toppled presidents in Tunisia and Egypt and brought Libya to the brink of civil war.
The cash-rich Saudi government has pledged to spend $400bn by the end of 2014 to improve education, infrastructure and healthcare. “The king is trying to create wider trickle- down of wealth in the shape of social welfare,’’ said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi. 

“The budget can handle that, but it is an aspirin to ease medium-term pain, not a solution for the long-term housing, and unemployment issue.” 

The Castros look a little bit nervous in Cuba (RNW):
Here we go. The dissidents.... In jail since 2003, 75 of them in total, serving decade-long prison sentences for expressing their opinions. But now they're set free.
For years dissident bloggers and journalists like Yoani Sánchez were blocked by Cuba and could only be read abroad. Now, with the snap of a finger, they're back! Give Raúl Castro a hand! Say what you like, surf where you like...

We've seen it in Egypt - social media chase away dictators. Soon Cuba will be Twittering and Facebooking too. 

Just a pity there are no Cubans in the audience, they couldn't afford the tickets. No one has internet at home and in the hotels it costs six dollars an hour... a week's wages for a Cuban.

But The People's Republic of China -facing vague, anonymous online calls for a 'Jasmine Revolution'- surely isn't offering any carrots to the disgruntled: typically, they're focused on spying on their citizens and delivering more 'stick' with comprehensive plans to pre-emptively snuff any dreams of democracy:
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is pulling out all the stops to prevent a Chinese-style 'Jasmine Revolution'. 

Dissidents, energised by the success of the public revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, used the Internet to mobilise peaceful demonstrations in a dozen major Chinese cities on Sunday (February 20). On Wednesday (23 February 2011), they called for these protests to continue.

At a meeting of top officials held on the eve of the rallies, Chinese President Hu Jintao urged tighter control of cyberspace and "specific groups of people", a term used to refer to dissidents, rights defenders and the disenfranchised.

Provincial heads, ministry chiefs and senior military officials were summoned to attend the meeting, according to the official Xinhua news agency. All nine members of the powerful CCP Politburo Standing Committee, which includes Hu, were present.

Hu made it clear that the session was meant to unify the minds of senior CCP cadres in the light of the "new changes in domestic and foreign situations", an oblique reference to the upheavals in the Arab world and their repercussions on China.

He stressed that social management must be strengthened in order to ensure the CCP stays in power. 

Hu defined social management, for the first time, as "managing the people as well as serving them". Traditional communist-speak usually mentions only "serving the people".

According to Hu, the overall objective of social management is to "maximise harmonious factors and minimise non-harmonious ones".

He outlined several ways in which this could be achieved, including: 

-- Strengthening control of Internet-transmitted information and management of cyberspace, and improving guidance of public opinion over the Internet.

-- Strengthening management of the migrant population and specific groups of people, and keeping data on them at the national level.

-- Strengthening control of non-public economic and social entities.

-- Nipping social unrest in the bud. 

Meanwhile the apocolyptic, 7th-Century savages in Tehran are taking advantage of the fact that only secular tyrants have been targeted in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya to spin the events as a Muslim world tossing-out western influences... while at the same time dismissing their own similar pro-democracy activists as losers who should be killed:
Despite all the [West's] complicated and satanic designs ... a new Middle East is emerging without the Zionist regime and U.S. interference, a place where the arrogant powers will have no place," Ahmadinejad told the crowd. 

He also urged Egyptian protesters to persevere until there is a regime change. "It's your right to be free. It's your right to exercise your will and sovereignty ... and choose the type of government and the rulers."

After his address, Ahmadinejad carried a placard reading, "Death to Israel."

The Iranian leadership's attempt to capitalize on the Egyptian uprising is underscored by its effort to deprive its own opposition of any chance to reinvigorate a movement swept from the streets in a heavy military crackdown in 2009.

Ahead of the anniversary, Iranian security forces arrested several opposition activists, including aides to Iran's opposition leaders. 

Authorities also placed Mahdi Karroubi, one of Iran's opposition leaders, under house arrest, posting security officers at his door in response to his calls for an Iranian opposition rally in support of anti-government demonstrations in Egypt.

Then you have to wonder if Putin hasn't a warehouse full of gift-wrapped fifths of Stoli ready to hand out on Red Square... as any good dictator who hasn't a populist 'Plan B' up his sleeve these days is skating on thin-ice.

That goes double for they guy with the funky Groucho (Marxist?) mustache in 'Putin's North Korea'...

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joetote said...

I'm not sure why anyone should be surprised ad this clown's stance as to the oil situation. consider the fact that it took our boy 8 days to get his head far enough out of his behind to even comment on the Libya situation. 8 days! In the meantime gas prices are flying through the roof! Yet, his so called administration has the gall to believe we the electorate are really dumb enough to accept their claims that inflation is not happening!

During his campaign, Obama was quite comfortable lecturing the electorate on the fact that he felt it was ok if gas prices when up to $5 a gallon or more. didn't matter to our wanna be dictator! Now as the Mid-East goes up in flames and he openly shows his disdain for Israel, he steadfastly refuses as you note to allow us to tap our own vast natural resources.

His ideology dictates we as a country must be destroyed and become beholden to the third world garbage that is now and has been calling the shots in the U.N. for years.

Our president is nothing more than a follower of a failed Marxist/Socialist system and on top of that every move he makes is also apparently aimed at supporting every radical Muslim order out there.

Maggie Thornton said...

Excellent commentary James. I more than suspect we will be seeing a whole new class of dictators on the horizon, but I doubt the NKoreans get an extra bowl of gruel. I doubt they have a clue what's going on.

Trestin said...

It's going to spread beyond dictators. You will see this in nations like the Philippines and and Indonesia. As much as we want to believe it's about freedom it's not. It's about food.

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