The death of Muammar Gaddafi, while ushering in a new era of Libyan government, international relations and national morale, may also signal the finale of the age of the dictator.
The modern dictator has been defined by three qualifications: an inherent ruthlessness towards not only all people, but one’s own people, a desire to acquire nuclear weaponry or “weapons of mass destruction” in order to push back against the world’s bomb bullies, and an aspiration to remain in power for as long as humanly possible.
In post-World War II America, the greatest fear to national security was the dictator in their own backyard, Fidel Castro of Cuba. America’s greatest Cold War nightmare was that the newly formed communist government, just 90 miles south of Miami, Florida, would inherit a nuclear arsenal from their Soviet comrades in an invasion of the Western Hemisphere. However, years of economic sanctions and submarine blockades prevented Cuba from realizing America’s worst dream come true. Now, Fidel has relinquished his role as el presidente, due to illness, to his brother Raul in 2008.
In America’s post-Cold War age, the greatest enemy to the western world was Saddam Hussein. Hussein’s aggression towards Iraq’s neighbors, and even his own citizens, instigated two American wars in 12 years, including the second offensive which led to his ouster and subsequent seclusion. Three years later, Hussein was discovered underground by American military forces and handed over to the Iraqi people, who proceeded to string him from the hangman’s noose.
In a close second to Hussein in national threat status, Kim Jong-Il, the leader of communist North Korea, has made numerous attempts to procreate a “nuclear energy program” on the Korean peninsula. Kim’s desire to squash his southern adversary and shine beyond the shadow of the Chinese’s Asian supremacy has led to pressure from western powers to relinquish his aspirations for a nuclear arsenal that could reach each Asian power and the Pacific coast of the United States. But like Castro, Kim’s failing health nearly crippled him in 2008, and ultimately led him to include his youngest son, Kim Jung Un, in publicized ceremonies, as he appears to prepare himself to transfer his power to his heir apparent.
After revolutions in the African nations of Egypt and Tunisia sprouted in early 2011, the NATO supported Libyan Civil War ultimately led to Guddafi’s capture and subsequent death on October 20th.
Now without Gaddafi, where have all the dictators gone?