What are the lessons the world’s dictators are drawing from the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East? The most obvious and the most depressing is to shoot first and ask questions later. As in Tiananmen in 1989, and Tehran in 2009, the lesson of Bahrain and Syria — at least so far — is that regimes that have the will and the political unity to crack down on protesters can stay in power. (That bitter conclusion, by the way, is one reason the battle in Libya is so important: if Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s brutal repression of his own people works, autocrats around the world will have more evidence of the efficacy of massacre.)
At 2:15 p.m. tomorrow, on Wednesday, April 6, Chrystia Freeland will interview World Bank President Robert Zoellick in Washington, D.C. In this video, Reuters Financial Blogger Felix Salmon and Reuters Editor-at-Large Chrystia Freeland discuss what they think the World Bank's role should be in the uprisings in the Middle East and in supporting countries run by dictatorships versus helping the poor in undeveloped countries.