First Round
Anastasio Somoza   Hissènne Habré
Our first contest establishes the archetypal dictator against something of a Johnny-come-Lately. Ruling for twenty years then setting up a family dynasty to rule for another 23 is textbook stuff. Against this the eight years of Habré's rule just seems like child's play.
Robert Mugabe   Saddam Hussein
Two gentlemen very much in the news at the moment and two figures who have had a very long rule following the overthrow of an anachronistic establishment. But only one has taken on the entire Western World, and every single one of his neighbours (ok, maybe not Jordan) and survived. Step aside Mr Mugabe, Saddam is on his way to the second round.
Alfredo Stroessner   Manuel Noriega
Manny Noriega really has a lot going for him. Not many people can act, and get paid, as an agent for the CIA and the Cuban secret service, the DIG, at the same time. In any other contest he would easily go through, but not against 35 years of undisputed power, billions in riches and a man in his seventies with more teenage girlfriends than you can shake a stick at. This way please Mr Stroessner.
Leopoldo Galtieri   Chiang Kai-Chek
This pairing can be judged on what became of these men in defeat. Where Chaing fled to Taiwan, completely buldozed the political system and held power until his death Galtieri found a nice small appartment in Buenos Aires and proceeded to get drunk...for nineteen years.
Wojciech Jaruselzski   Ruhollah Khomeni
Jaruselzski would probably have made a fine leader had he been born twenty years earlier. As it was he was humiliated first by the Solidarity movement in Poland and secondly by Brezhnev's threatened clampdown if he did nothing about his union problems. The Ayatollah stood for none of that nonsense, and besides there are not many contestants in this draw that have dragged a progressive and prosperous country back to the 13th century in the span of two years.
Haile Mengistu   Hafez Al Assad
Deposing a godhead is no mean feat and Mengistu deserves a lot of respect for his ascension to power in Ethiopia but he is out of his depth against Assad. 30 years of twists and turns assured Hafez that Syria, and for that matter Lebanon, remained firmly in his grasp.
Enver Hoxha   Park Chung Hee
As impressive as General Park's record is, and transforming Korea from an agricultural backwater into on of the World's major economies is one hell of an achievement, he pales next to 41 years of the most outright totalitarian rule. Enver wins.
Zia ul-Haq   Kim Jong Il
As tempting as it is to give this to Zia, after all he was a self made man who did a fine job imposing shari'ah law on a 20th century democracy and balancing the competing constituencies of Pakistan's politics, Kim has done an even finer job carrying on his father's legacy...threatening to invade South Korea on a daily basis, maintaining famine conditions in his country and fooling the population en bloc into thinking they live in a utopia.
Jonas Savimbi   Fuljencio Batista
Although Batista gains a lot of respect for serving as both an elected leader and and then leading a coup d'etat he loses major points for giving up power in 1959 after a merely perfunctory fight with the Communists. Savimbi, on the other hand, remains one of the most bloodthirsty of African despots and thus sails through to round two.
Rafael Trujillo   Thojib Suharto
Although Suharto has a respectably long rule and a superb economic record behind him he is up against a textbook autocrat. Location: Latin America, Path to power: coup d'etat, Court dress: extravagant militaria, Road to riches: theft and corruption. Besides which is a better way for a dictator to end his life? Attempting to fake illness to avoid a humiliating trial or perishing in a hail of machinegun fire on the San Cristobal highway? No contest, Trujillo triumphs.
'Papa Doc' Duvalier Haile Selassie
Definitely the toughest pairing of the first round, it's a real pity that one of these guys has to fall. Papa Doc scores very well on allfronts: a particularly violent rule; self-declaration of President for Life; a private gang of thugs in the form of the Tonton Macoutes and the beginnings of a family dynasty but Haile Selassie has the years on him.Oh yeah, and He was a deity as well.
Hideki Tojo Heidar Aliev
Tojo is out of his league in this round. To be honest he was merely the right man at the right time and the fact that he tried (and failed) to commit suicide after the Japanese surrender in 1945 shows he did not have the mettle to make it as a dictator. Mr Aliev, on the other hand, not only controlled his country under the Communists he also joined the politburo and came back to lead Azerbaijian again after independece. A man as unashamedly apolitical as that is a tough man to beat.
Erich Honecker Slobodan Milosevic
Although Sloba is very much a man of the moment and has shown he can not only change political colours with the ability of a chameleon but hang onto power with an amazing tenacity Herr Honecker just edges him out. The reason? Quite simple: The Berlin Wall.
Tito Hassan al-Turabi
Not really much of a challenge. Though Turabi has a great deal of influence in The Sudan he ain't officially in power (besides he is far too charming to progress any further in this competition). Compare that to 35 years of uncontested leadership in themost fracturous republic in Europe. No contest.
Francisco Franco Leonid Brezhnev
Francisco Franco casts an important figure on the world stage. A comeback from imposed semi retirement to win a civil war, successful neutrality during the most violent world conflict in history and an uninterrupted rule for 36 years. Against a less experienced opponent he would sail through, unfortunately he was drawn against a man that between the years of 1964 and 1982 reversed the liberalizing of the Khrushchev era, chrushed nascent democracy in Czechoslovakia and brought the population of the planet just that little bit closer to World War III.
Ion Antonescu Vidkun Quisling
An interesting pairing this. Two WWII fascist collaborators duking it out for the next round. Though that is where the similarities end.Whereas Antonescu deposed a reigning king and then snatched power from his coalition partners the Iron Guard, Quisling's first government collapsed after seven days. Vidkun vanquished. Antonescu goes through.
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