When the Cat’s Away … – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

“When the cat’s away those mice sure do play, don’t they?

One need look only at the decision Sunday by China’s Communist Party to abolish the country’s presidential term limit, which will enable Xi Jinping to remain in power indefinitely, to appreciate that it’s springtime for strongmen — and nobody has to worry what America thinks about that.

Just being “president” or “prime minister” is so passé now, so 1990s. Xi wants to be emperor, not president. Russia’s Vladimir Putin wants to be czar, not president. Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to be caliph, not president. Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi wants to be pharaoh, not president. Hungary’s Viktor Orban wants to be king, not prime minister. And Iran’s Ali Khamenei already has the most coveted title du jour, supreme leader, and he’s bent on keeping it. ’Tis the season.

Martin Luther King Jr., once observed that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” If so, it seems to be taking a detour this decade in some really big important countries. “The arc of history looks less like it’s bending toward justice and liberty and more toward the 1930s,” observed Michael Mandelbaum, the author of “Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era.” “

via When the Cat’s Away … – The New York Times