Robert Mugabe has insisted on staying president of Zimbabwe for almost 30 years. Bashir al-Assad is dead set on holding on to power in Syria, despite having wreaked death and destruction on his country and its people. Vladimir Putin has been either president or prime minister of Russia since 2000, and shows no signs of going anywhere far into the future. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already been either president or prime minister of Turkey since 2003, but gives every intention of plowing on with his plan to consolidate and strengthen his powers still further. And while China’s president Xi Jinping has been in office only since 2012, by every measure he has strengthened his hand since then, eliminating or muting much of his opposition, and suggesting he wants more of what he has for more, many more, years to come.
Seems power is intoxicating. Addictive. Habit forming. Hungry making.
Churchill, predictably, put it perfectly. Speaking about Hitler before the House of Commons in 1938, he remarked, “The might behind the German Dictator increases daily. His appetite may grow with eating.”