The trap of the eternal throne / Retirement plans for dictators

In November 1919, the first world war was coming to an end. The German army was falling apart and emperor Wilhelm II was looking for options. He chose to pack his bags and run off to the neutral neighboring country of the Netherlands.

Wilhelm spent the last twenty years of his life in a mansion in the small down of Doorn, mainly taking care of his rose garden. Instead of plotting for a revenge on the war scene, he stepped down and let the imperial ambitions of himself and his son fizzle out. (As we know, other people with other plans took over, but that is another story.) The belligerent warmonger turned into a rose lover and married again.

Ex-kaiser Wilhelm II in his rose garden in Doorn. No more wars for him.

I think it would be great for the world if we could invite more dictators to come and grow roses.

For most dictators, the future is threatening. They know that most ex-dictators are murdered or put in prison, which is not so alluring. Therefore, they do what they can to stay in power, often starting wars and conflicts with external parties to unite their nations.

Another problem for dictators is keeping in touch with reality. The longer a president sits on his throne, the less he (it is usually a man) will know of what is really happening in the world. As flies attracted to a cow-pie, yes-sayers and intriguers will flock around the great leader, telling him what he wants to hear. It is probably impossible to keep sane in such a delusional situation.

For this reason, most constitutions have mechanisms to remove presidents after a certain fixed time limit. The best autocratic system seems to be the Chinese Communist Party mechanism that was introduced by Deng Xiaoping, to limit the term of the leader to ten years. The ex-presidents have a safe and relaxed retirement in opulence, enjoyed by Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Later this year, the current leader Xi reaches his 10 years on the throne, but he has unfortunately removed this law, so maybe he will walk into the trap of the eternal throne.

I would very much prefer that we invite president Xi Jinping to the Netherlands, to take over the mansion in Doorn, to grow roses and peonies, so that he does not have to start wars to maintain popular support.

I am sure there are other dictators in the world that we could invite as well, to reduce the war pressure in the world. Who would you like to invite?

ps. At the same time, we should also institute a max-term for the role of Prime Minister in the Netherlands. The current prime minister Mark Rutte has been on his throne for more than a decade, which is more than enough. Let him too grow roses.