Essay: Speak Softly and Carry a Cage

By this my sword that conquered Persia,

! Thy fall shall make me famous through the world.

I will not tell thee how I'll handle thee,

But every common soldier of my camp

Shall smile to see thy miserable state.

Thus says the socially insecure world conqueror Tamburlaine, in Christopher Marlowe's play of the same name, to Bajazeth, Emperor of the Turks. Tamburlaine puts the defeated Emperor in a cage and has him wheeled around to subsequent battle sites. Quite a comedown for the Emperor. And quite an ego boost for Tamburlaine, the former shepherd.

Manuel Antonio Noriega is hardly the...