Defeating Dictators: Fighting Tyranny in Africa and Around the World

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Overview

Despite billions of dollars of aid and the best efforts of the international community to improve economies and bolster democracy across Africa, violent dictatorships persist. As a result, millions have died, economies are in shambles, and whole states are on the brink of collapse. Political observers and policymakers are starting to believe that economic aid is not the key to saving Africa. So what does the continent need to do to throw off the shackles of militant rule? African policy expert George Ayittey ...

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Defeating Dictators: Fighting Tyranny in Africa and Around the World

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Overview

Despite billions of dollars of aid and the best efforts of the international community to improve economies and bolster democracy across Africa, violent dictatorships persist. As a result, millions have died, economies are in shambles, and whole states are on the brink of collapse. Political observers and policymakers are starting to believe that economic aid is not the key to saving Africa. So what does the continent need to do to throw off the shackles of militant rule? African policy expert George Ayittey argues that before Africa can prosper, she must be free. Taking a hard look at the fight against dictatorships around the world, from Ukraine's orange revolution in 2004 to Iran's Green Revolution last year, he examines what strategies worked in the struggle to establish democracy through revolution. Ayittey also offers strategies for the West to help Africa in her quest for freedom, including smarter sanctions and establishing fellowships for African students.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“The only good dictator is a dead one,” argues this hard-nosed, outspoken pro-democracy manifesto and how-to manual. Economist Ayittey (Africa Unchained) surveys current and former dictatorships, aka “vampire states,” from his native Ghana, where he helped lead a successful movement against the despot Jerry Rawlings, to Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarus, and the tottering tyrannies of the Arab world. Ayittey mixes right-leaning socioeconomics—he champions capitalism against socialist development schemes—with a bullet-pointed primer for activists, one that’s full of practical insights on the need for unity among opposition groups, the centrality of independent radio stations and other “free media,” the potency of civil service strikes against military rulers, and the usefulness of motor oil for toppling antidemocracy thugs from their scooters. Ayittey’s unorthodox political theories—he favors traditional modes of “consensus” decision making over Western-style multiparty majority votes, and insists that political reform must precede economic liberalization—will be as controversial as his one-size-fits-all conception of dictatorship, lumping together countries as dissimilar as China and Ethiopia, which can seem simplistic. Still, his forthright language, lucid analyses, and pragmatic attitude make this a compelling and timely challenge to the despotism-as-usual status quo. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“As George Ayittey, Obama adviser and veteran Africa author and analyst, knows too well…there is far more to ousting dictators than convening a crowd, as in Tahrir Square…There are few greater experts in the nature of and flaws of tyranny [than Ayittey]. His record in opposing authoritarian misrule in his native Ghana is unimpeachable.…All those labouring under authoritarian systems that seem invulnerable, from Zimbabwe to Jordan and even maybe China, should heed Ayittey’s strictures. So should their rulers. So too should western officials tempted to water down their principles when working in illiberal regimes.”—Alec Russell, Financial Times

"[Ayittey's] forthright language, lucid analyses, and pragmatic attitude make this a compelling and timely challenge to the despotism-as-usual status quo." –Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

How to deal with despots in Africa and other parts of the world.

The founder of the Free Africa Foundation,Ayittey (Economics/American Univ.; Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa's Future, 2004, etc.) has struggled for nearly 40 years to advance the idea that despotic governments are not caused by external factors—imperialism, for example—but by internal corruption and incompetence. In fact, the author argues that intervention from the United States and other Western powers often aggravates the problem. His latest work elaborates on "Ayittey's Law," which identifies the sequence of events that accompany what have been successful movements against despotic regimes. Ayittey divides the despotic regimes into "vampire states" and "coconut republics." The worst of the vampire states include Mexico and Nigeria, while Uganda and Tanzania are among the coconut republics. He also provides a helpful list of "the most odious and despicable" of the despotic regimes, which include Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Than Shwe of Myanmar and Isaiah Afwerki of Eritrea. The author writes that traditional societies can provide a basis for opposing despots and despotisms. In addition to providing recipes for tactics to be employed against differing kinds of despotisms, Ayittey also shows where movements against despots have failed. Freedom of expression and outreach through media access are among the tactics he recommends, and he cites the successful use of radio in Ghana and online activities in Egypt and Tunisia.

A useful step-by-step guide to "help oppressed people...bring democratic change to their countries peacefully—without violence, without firing a shot, and without Western help or intervention."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230108592
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/8/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. George Ayittey was named one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers in 2009 and is an advisor to the Obama administration on forging a new path for Africa. He is the author of Africa Unchained, Africa in Chaos, and Africa Betrayed, which won the H.L. Mencken Award for Best Book. Ayittey has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Times of London, among others, and has appeared on such media as ABC Nightline, PBS NewsHour, and CNN. He is also the founder and president of the Free Africa Foundation and professor economics at American University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Cost of Despotism

Traditional Societies

Despotic Regimes

Modus Operandi of Repressive Regimes

The Demise of a Brutal Regime

Stirrings for Freedom

The Strategy

How the West Can Help

Epilogue and Conclusion

Bibliography

Index

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Customer Reviews

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