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Successful dictators?

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA


I disagree with Daniel K. Fale’s labeling some successful leaders (Successful dictators, 19 Sep., 2009), such as Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore, as dictators.

Perhaps Mr. Fale can define what he meant by “dictators.”

A brief read of Lee Kwan Yew’s success as Prime Minister of Singapore (1959-1990) does not show the life of a dictator. Instead he rose through the Singapore Parliament as PM during British rule, and developed one of the poorest states in SE Asia to rival Japan’s industrial economy. He was accused of running a tight ship, but that’s the price of “transformation” I would say.

“Lee ran a tightly controlled welfare state with an economy based in private enterprise; he encouraged foreign investment and discouraged political dissent. He also stressed discipline, correct public behavior, opposition to drugs, English education, and interracial tolerance,” (Columbia Encyclopedia).

Forgot to mention … he was a Cambridge/Oxford educated politician, hardly someone like unto Mao or Lenin who both murdered millions of people.

The Constitutional Monarchy (Al Maktoum) of Dubai (province of the United Arab Emirates) is hardly a dictator. Haven’t read any mass killings by this fellow. I would not classify him along with Saddam Hussein and Hitler who killed and murdered thousands and millions of people.

Franco, by the way, does not seem the pristine ‘dictator’ Mr. Fale made him out to be. To his credit he was a soldier who was anti-communist, but he sympathized with Hitler and the Nazis, then sat on the sidelines during World War II. The United Nations sanctioned him after the War, for the killings of minorities, and former democrats in Spain after the Civil War. Spain suffered economically during the years 1953-1970 under his rule.

Sione A. Mokofisi

samokofisi [at] hotmail [dot] com