Madmen or Genuises…

By Emma Brooks

This week Switzerland has been going through a political crisis due to Mouammar Kadhafi and his Swiss hostages. The question of how to get them back without losing credibility completely has been a difficult one, and has caused a lot of political strife within Switzerland. This incident got me thinking about political leaders or figures one might label as “mad”, and whether or not they actually are so.

In this particular case, it would seem that Kadhafi is indeed a bit mad, since he has held these two tourists hostage in what seems to be a gesture of protest against the measures the Swiss took against his son whilst he was staying in a hotel in Geneva. The Swiss, doing their job as honest citizens and law abiders did what they thought was right when they arrested the son of Mouammar Kadhafi in 2008 for having beaten one of his employees. Little did they know that this would be the Libyan leader’s response. This can only be qualified as an overreaction, particularly since it was not the first time that “Hannibal” (as he is known) has had an encounter with the law, except that they had mostly been politely ignored. But what more do we know about Mouammar Kadhafi and his behaviour that we could qualify as mad? Well, he appears to be a bit of an extremist, is associated with rebel movements in West Africa, is estranged from Egypt and seem to have upset more than just Switzerland over the years.

But let’s try to think of other people that George W. Bush might have grouped in the axis of evil and who could be qualified as mad: Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sadam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Pervez Musharraf, and probably quite a few more. All of these people represent (-ed) a threat to international security. And yet, are they really crazy? I for one, don’t think so. So, their behaviour may be a little irrational and erratic, but that is a far stretch from being literally insane. On the contrary, I think that these leaders or political figures are extremely intelligent and cunning. Of course, this does not mean that I agree with what they do, but I nevertheless think that they are a lot more intelligent than they get given credit for. Osama Bin Laden for example, has been escaping international intelligence for years now, and managed to orchestrate a huge and unprecedented attack against the US in 2001. Imagine the intelligence it must have taken to orchestrate such a thing? The months if not years of research and planning. It would take someone very capable and mentally aware to do so, and it was certainly not the job of crazy person.

Similarly, although people such as Kim Jong Il and Ahmadinejad may seem infuriating, I should think that they are actually calculating and planning their actions with much thought given to them. Of course, they still remain dangerous and their citizens do not necessarily benefit from their rule, but they are nevertheless maneuvering in order to get what they want from the international community, and it seems to work. Even Kadhafi, despite his erratic behaviour in the early days, seemed to change his ways and warm towards the West. So much so that in 2007 French president Nicolas Sarkozy signed several agreements with him. So surely this goes to illustrate my point that these people are not crazy but cunning, and do their best to get what they want, albeit in an unfashionable manner.

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