How to Deal with Dictators

Tossing out Musharraf isn't the answer in Pakistan. Here's what the U.S. should do instead

Illustration by Brian Stauffer for TIME

There are no good dictators.  But some are better than others. The best dictators permit freedom of expression, rule of law and economic growth, creating a democratic-minded middle class that eventually pushes them aside. Think South Korea. The worst dictators, by contrast, grind down civil society, breeding poverty and sectarian hatred and pulverizing all the institutions from which liberalism might grow. The worst dictators eventually leave too, but when they do, all hell breaks lose. Think Iraq.

One of the biggest challenges facing U.S. foreign policy today is how to make Pakistan's military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, the best dictator he can...

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