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Power and Imagination: MacCormack/Shao

Gaining and Holding Power


I have listed below a number of political leaders who have maintained their position of
power over an extended period of time (there are a couple that are more recent, but
appear to be part of a family dynasty or an oligarchy). Your team will be assigned one of
these men (they all are). Your job is to provide us with a briefing on the following:
1. What is the situation of this nation in the international arena? Is it of strategic or
economic importance (to whom)? Is it a former colony (and of whom)? What
nations might have an interest in this persons role?
2. What is the history of this persons rise to power? Did he get elected, inherit the
position, lead a coup? Is his background in the military, politics, private
enterprise? Who are his constituents?
3. What means has this person employed to sustain his rule? Has there been any
limitation on the press, on opposition parties?
4. Has the nature of this persons rule changed over time? Has the country
benefited? In what ways? What have been the costs? What future do you foresee?
5. Are there questions I havent asked that are of interest with your subject? How
does this person fit within Russells categorization of characteristics of people
based on the way in which they gained power? Expound away. Were interested in
how individuals come to power, how that power affects them and how the tools of
state are employed to extend power. Were there mechanisms in place to limit
individual rule and, if so, what happened? Divide the tasks.
1. Russia
chief of state: President Vladimir Putin
2. Algeria
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
3. Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe
4. China
President Xi Jinping
5. Syria
President Bashar al-Assad
6. Rwanda
President Paul Kagame
7. Saudi Arabia
King Abdullah
8. Turkey
President Tayyip Erdoan
9. Singapore
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
8:00 #1-3
9:00 #4-6
10:00 #7-9
Ill be looking for a 10-15 minute profile on these gentlemen. I dont want a power point
but a ~2 page briefing paper that you will share with other groups. Provide your chief
sources, including at least two articles you have located through a library database. You
may use Wikipedia, but follow up with at least one of their citations. You will share your
findings with the other groups in your mentor session and then again with two other
groups in the main session. In your discussions look for similarities and differences and
see if you can draw any conclusion about the tendency for leaders to gather power onto
themselves. Use library journal search to find The Economist . Also search
nytimes.com. Mentor presentation 1/22. Main session 1/27.