Saturday, April 2, 2011

What's your golden parachute (African dictator edition)?

An interesting tidbit from an article on the fighting in Ivory Coast to displace the recalcitrant predecessor to the democratically elected incoming president.
In the four months since the disputed election, the international community has repeatedly offered [defeated president] Gbagbo a golden parachute, only to be rebuffed. He twice refused to take a phone call from President Barack Obama, who offered him a teaching position at a Boston university if he agreed to peacefully step aside.

Several thoughts come to mind:

1) Is the Kennedy School developing a new MA program for dictators? Will it offer a "Masters in Dictatorial Administration"? I bet there would be a good market in this, and they could charge high fees (with a separately priced option, of course, for personal assistance with the master's thesis).

2) Maybe Gbagbo thought the teaching load was too high? Or perhaps they could not find a lecturing position for his spouse?

3) Is there some reason to think that a teaching position in "a Boston university" would be more attractive than, say, a villa in some central american country?

Worth taking a moment here, too, to be grateful for the social capital in the Western democracies that leads to the peaceful and regular political transitions we take for granted. It doesn't have to be that way.

Hat tip: Lars Skipper

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