Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Assassinating Despots Works

Interesting discussion at Stumbling and Mumbling on the effectiveness of assassinating leaders.

This study by Ben Olken concludes that

  • successful assassinations of autocrats produce sustained moves toward democracy
  • failed assassination attempts can prolong tyrannical regimes
  • successful assassinations do not lead to change in democracies
  • the frequency of assassination for world leaders is one every two years or a 0.3% probability each year
  • successful assassinations tend to intensify mid-level conflicts but hasten the end of high-intensity conflicts.

Conclusion - rather than ban the Australian cricket team from touring Zimbabwe, John Howard should hire a hitman to take out Mugabe.

Machiavelli wrote on this in The Prince for those wishing to read further on this subject.

Also - how important do you have to be for your violent death to be an assassination rather than just murder?