Putin and Chávez: Demi-Democrats and the Ballot Box

It’s not easy being a dictator any more. Once upon a time, you could just hop on a tank, line up some well-armed supporters, and fire a few shots at the presidential palace. The previous resident would move out, alive or otherwise, and voilá: You had yourself a country. All it took after that was a pledge of hatred for Washington or Moscow and automatically the un-hated superpower would start writing checks and sending arms. The country was yours until the next guy hopped on a tank. It’s not so easy any more. These days, the pesky idea of democracy […]

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