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22 May 1999
By Julien Moe

The United States government used to support authoritarian regimes and
dictators who served its interests. But not any more. The hayday of  such
regimes and megalomaniac dictators is over. To mention a few left-over
regimes, Burma, Yugoslavia, Malaysia, Iraq and  Libya obvious examples that
must go sooner or later. Today is the day democracy blooms in all parts of
the world. Former authoritarian regimes were forced to change by popular
uprisings. Some dictaors were murdered by the public as a revenge for their
human rights violations. A certain dictator is now  facing prosecution
abroad for past human rights violations. One dictator's country is being
bombarded by  democratic allied forces for ethnic cleansing. One dictator's
country was bombarded for aggression he committed with his army.

Even in democratic countries, when leaders or public officials make
incorrigible mistakes, they have to go or get at least impeached. When
dictators make a wrong move, uprisings occur. The international community
punishes  them by means of sanctions. Besides, they get to worsen their
image that has never been good. What mistake did Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
make? He made an aggressive war against Kuwait, its neighbour. By now he
must have been repenting for the daze he was in as the allied forces are
still bombarding him for his defiance that produces only destruction for
him. Burma's dictator, General Ne Win,  made a similar mistake about
cancelling the monetary units without notice. As a result, the people uprose
and he had to go at least behind the curtain. Yugoslav leader Salodavan
Milosavich would have never done ethnic cleansing to the Kosovars if he had
known how the international community would respond. Malaysia's dictator,
Dr. Mahathir  will be sorry later for having jailed the  Finance Minister
Anwar Ibrahim popularly supported by the people. Despite China's privileged
status granted by the United States, China's leaders might have to face the
people's prosecution for the Tianamen Square massacre when democracy came to


General Ne Win of Burma made several other mistakes besides cancelling
monetary units without notice. He threatened the people, saying the army
wouldl shoot straight at the people if people demonstrated again. Another
mistake he made was he said he would hold elections because he  understood

the people's outrage against the BSPP, the then ruling government. The
SLORC, State Law and Restoration Council, the military government  had to
hold elections. The SLORC made a mistake by saying power would be
transferred to civilian rule  after the elections. National League for
Democracy, the people's party led by Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi, won
a landslide victory. Another mistake made by SLORC was that power was not
transfered to her party. Instead, Aung San Suu Kyi was put under house
arrest and her image became illuminating inside and outside Burma and for
her non-violent political movement, she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in
1992. The SLORC continued to make more mistakes by detaining the opposition
party members. The regime's image became poorer and poorer internationally.
Another mistake the ruling military junta made was that the regime spent
more than half a million dollars to lobby the US Congress to remove
sanctions. No matter how much the regime can spend to pay off, the US policy
toward Burma will never change even if the US President is a pro-SPDC
entity. The Congress will still reject the idea of removing the sanctions on

Any more mistakes?The regime gave sanctuary to drug lord Khun Sa wanted by
the United States on drug trafficking charges. The regime keeps on violating
human rights by means  of torture,arbitrary arrests and murders. With these
mistakes constantly made by the regime, quibbling is nothing that can be
done by the notorious generals. In fact, the generals may not know or they
are pretending not to know that dictatorship is no longer a quaint  form of
government for the thirtieth century. When dictators make mistakes, their
days are numbered and their power will be curtailed without fail.

By Julien Moe

My Profile:Graduate Student of Journalism at New York Institute of Technology