Gwynne Dyer is an independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries. His new book is 'Growing Pains: The Future of Democracy (and Work)'.
In an emergency, the good thing about a dictatorship is that it can respond very fast. The bad thing is that it won't respond at all until the dictator-in-chief says that it should. All the little dictators who flourish in this sort of system won't risk their positions by passing bad news up the line until the risk of being blamed for delay outweighs the risk of being blamed for the emergency in the first place.
Donald Trump's speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday contained no surprises.
Five years ago somebody posted photographs on the internet showing a man who looked a lot like Vladimir Putin in photographs from 1920 and 1941. In both shots he was in military uniform, defending the interests of the Russian people then as he still does today.
One of the main causes of death for airline passengers in recent decades is being shot down by somebody's military. Not the very biggest, of course: accidents account for nine-tenths of all deaths in civilian airline crashes, and terrorist attacks and hijackings cause most of the rest. But a solid 2.5% of the deaths are due to trigger-happy people in military uniforms.
'The point of no return is no longer over the horizon," warned UN secretary general Antonio Guterres as the 25th climate summit (COP25) opened in Madrid two weeks ago, and the multitude of delegates from more than a hundred countries presumably understood what he meant. But they ignored it anyway.