Just watched the dumbest interview by a dictator’s son ever. In it, Saadi Gaddafi says he’s worried about the UN sanctions because it means he can’t travel and go on safari anymore. He said he just wants to live, seemingly oblivious to the people that this is all the Libyan people want as well. His brother Saif comes off as more polished, denying that there’s any violence at all. Then a video shows with him holding an assault rifle exhorting supporters to violence. The father Gaddafi’s interview is of course simply batshit insane. But his sons aren’t helping.
Succession is a sore point. Every dictator seems to want to live forever, and the dick is the only conduit for that sort of genetic transfer. In Singapore, when Lee Kuan Yew wanted to transfer power to his son, that went OK. In that case they delivered. The US has elected sons twice, John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush. The most brutal dictators have been able to transfer power to their sons, from Kim Il Sung in North Korea to Hafez al-Assad in Syria. That power transfer, however, is a source of tension, and sons behaving badly can be a source of significant instability to a regime.
In Egypt both the people and insiders were wary of Gamal Mubarak’s move towards the throne. Indeed, these seemingly benign sons often turn out to be as bad or worse than their fathers, like Bashar al-Assad, the eye-doctor turned dictator son of Hafez or Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the now murderous looking chip of the old block.
This is probably, however, their fathers dream, that the sons can inherit the police state without the pariah status. More sons, however, ignore the state and go straight pariah. Prime examples are Uday and Qusai Hussein, the former being a prominent rapist, murderer, torturer and general psychopath. Slate documents some other examples.
aside from a few exceptions (Syria’s Bashar Assad and North Korea’s Kim Jong-il), dictators raise sons who abjectly fail at the family business. In Africa, the children of Jomo Kenyatta, Idi Amin, and Daniel arap Moi have all made a hash of political careers handed to them on platters. Stalin’s son Vasily died a miserable drunk. Despite inheriting his father’s goon squad of Tonton Macoutes, Baby Doc couldn’t hold Haiti for a third generation of Duvaliers. (Even more pathetically, in French exile he squandered $120 million and suffered evictions from multiple villas.) And after failing in a military career, Augusto Pinochet’s boy now wants to exploit his father’s infamy, by marketing Pinochet brand credit cards and Don Augusto wine.
Another addition would be Teodorin Obiang, playboy son of an African plunderer. Indeed, these children have all of the worst aspects of their fathers without the one useful characteristic, the ability to survive. Instead, these children just become jokes and liabilities, ultimately strong arguments for the overthrow of their fathers.