How Dictators Destroy Nations?

Freedom and democracy are widely understood to be inalienable human rights. We believe that power should ultimately be in the hands of the people and that leaders should be held accountable for their actions.

Unfortunately, there are still many countries around the world that suffer under the absolute power of dictatorial regimes. Such regimes like to present an aura of control and stability to the world when in fact, they are very fragile and easily breakdown when confronted by problems such as economic crises. 

This political fragility is perfectly illustrated in THE NOAH PRINCIPLE,” set largely in Indonesia during the late 1990s Asian Financial Crisis, which toppled the autocratic regime of President Suharto and deeply affected Indonesia for years after.

THE NOAH PRINCIPLEis a gripping novel that depicts the deadly fallout from the Asian financial crisis through the eyes of two British expats in Indonesia. Cain and Charlie are the central characters who, forced by the chaos erupting all around them, embark on a dangerous journey brimming with troubling questions that are just as relevant today as they were a quarter of a century ago.

A coup brought Suharto to power in 1965 but he only assumed formal control of the Presidency in 1968 after carrying out an incredibly brutal anti-Communist purge that is estimated to have killed between 500,000 and 1.2 million people. He promised that his New Order administration would bring much-needed stability and prosperity to the country. But instead, he enacted policies that benefited his family and cronies while suppressing any opposition or dissent. There was economic growth but only a small elite would ever benefit from that growth. The vast majority of people continued to live in poverty and under oppression. Over the next three decades of Suharto’s reign, his regime became ever more authoritarian, and endemic corruption grew to epidemic proportions.

The vulnerability of Indonesia’s economy was revealed by the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. The country depended heavily on foreign investment, and when the crisis struck, investors withdrew, causing the value of the rupiah to crash. The government was powerless to stop it, and the economy descended into chaos. Riots broke out all over the nation, costing many people their jobs and savings.

Suharto’s response was easy to predict.  He simply tightened his grip on power. He proclaimed a state of emergency and employed the armed forces to quell unrest. Indonesia’s economy continued to deteriorate, and it became increasingly isolated from the rest of the world.

In fact, according to official reports, Indonesia’s GDP fell by 13.1% in 1998 compared to the previous year. Additionally, during this time, Suharto’s family and associates are thought to have stolen up to $35 billion from the nation’s coffers, making Indonesia one of the most corrupt nations in the world.

It is no secret that a dictatorship can ruin a country in a variety of ways. As a result of people being afraid to speak up or take chances, it stifles innovation and creativity. It causes cronyism and corruption as those in positions of authority use their influence to enrich themselves at the expense of others. People are constantly aware of their surroundings and wonder who is watching them, which fosters a stultifying culture of fear and mistrust.

The effects of Suharto’s presidency on Indonesia and the Asian Financial Crisis serve as a stark warning about the perils of dictatorship. Therefore, we must be vigilant and stand up for freedom and democracy whenever they are in jeopardy. We must also stand by those defending their rights and assist them in creating better societies for themselves and their offspring. Only after that can we be a little more assured that the mistakes of the past are not made again and that future generations can live their lives free of dictatorial oppression. For more information and motivation on this subject, purchase your copy of THE NOAH PRINCIPLE from Amazon.

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