Dam it!

An article on dams in Montenegro resonated with a conversation I had with my friend from India who helped me understand an article in Urdu which dealt with dams. There was a dam craze…….. still is, in Pakistan. The Montenegro situation was silly and sad. A great deal of money goes into these hydroelectric dams with only a minute production of energy, 2.7% of total. It ruins rivers so unpolluted people can drink directly from them, fish, water their cattle, and enjoy the diversions and romance rivers provide.
So why? The projection of power is the underlying reason, dating from the Yugoslav period with Tito and the dictator/strong man period in Pakistan. Riding in on that in Montenegro is the fact that small companies make a great deal of money on these projects, not profitable for the country but for the companies because the plans are there already. As the people of Hong Kong continue their protest against being absorbed into and swallowed up by the unjust Chinese judicial system (plus a lot more issues), Xi and his cohort look for someone to blame for these eruptions. It can’t be anything they have done because they are Dear Leaders or whatever with the mandate of heaven. So….
However, it still goes back to the fatal notion of the strong man. The strong man must always appear strong, no matter what it takes. In order to do so, he must ruthlessly suppress dissent, so there go the media and democratic processes; and he must ride roughshod over any institution, norm or custom that gets in his way. If he does not, for example, if he allows a political rival an opportunity to look for support, he looks weak in the eyes of his “people.”
And this is where culture comes in. I would offer up Russian culture as an example of one that cannot accept a leader who cooperates, who competes, who welcomes help. In the Russian culture, with a heritage of tyrants, any of this sort of behavior smacks of weakness. You have no enemies because you destroy them all; you do not compete because you are always the best and perfect; and you need no help or cooperation because you are all powerful and the people need only bow down to you to have your protection.
And in the end, it is all about fear and the feeling of vulnerability that motivates people to not only accept tyranny but to support it. Think Trump. it must be the Communists!

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