Modern Bullies Aren't World's Real Threat

Putin, Jintao no Stalin, Mao; today's rulers can't ignore democracy
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2008 4:47 PM CDT
Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The world's strong-arm autocrats are surging to the fore, ignoring human rights, denying election results, and barging into neighboring nations. But Hu Jintao, Robert Mugabe and Vladimir Putin are not Mao, Hitler, or Stalin, Francis Fukuyama writes in the Washington Post. That “sort of ideological tyrant no longer bestrides the world stage,” he writes.

Putin will govern Russia like a 19th century czar, trampling weak states but working largely with European nations, Fukuyama predicts. Jintao holds no major grievances like Russia's with NATO, and will focus on internal stability. Neither will threaten the West, writes Fukuyama. The real peril is "whether gains in economic productivity will keep up with global demand for such basic commodities as oil, food and water."