Do you happen to be a senior military officer in a Latin American military? Now that the decades-long example of slow patient democratization is coming unraveled, do you think your country is in peril and needs your direct intervention to save it?
Take this little test and see if you have the cojones to control a country…
1. Chance of Winning
A. Do you have sufficient control of adequate military resources to take power? Yes/No
B. If ‘No’, can you:
i. Launch an insurgency that might eventually wear the government down? Yes/No ii. Get foreign support? Yes/No iii. Capture the capital city overnight before any of your colleagues intervene? Yes/No iv. Cause enough disruption to warrant an intervention from the Yankees? Yes/No — or — Yes/No v. At least look stunningly cool enough to attract admiration from overseas? Yes/No
Congratulations if you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above! Now go to Question 2
2. General Alignment
Please go through the following questions to select your political alignment. Rate your agreement with the following statements from 1 to 5 by circling your answer;
1 = absolutely, 2 = if necessary, 3 = neither here nor there, 4 = not really, 5 = no
|A.||Those rapacious Yankees/British/Chinese or whomever have to get their hands off our precious resources.||1||2||3||4||5|
|B.||Those Middle Class upstarts have to be put in their place.||1||2||3||4||5|
|C.||It’s time we were free of the meddlesome influence of Priests and Bishops.||1||2||3||4||5|
|D.||Who needs law when we can have social justice?||1||2||3||4||5|
|E.||I look cool in a uniform without needing medals, gold braid and aviator glasses.||1||2||3||4||5|
|F.||With my brains and the guidance of the right political theory, I can run the country successfully.||1||2||3||4||5|
|G.||Would I embrace Fidel Castro in public?||1||2||3||4||5|
|H.||When I have people removed, do I tell them it’s for their own good before they are, um, shot while escaping?||1||2||3||4||5|
Ranking. Add up the sum total of your answers and add one (1) bonus point if you can say ‘yes’ to each of the following questions:
a. I own an American Express Card.
b. The New York Times hates me.
Now rate yourself on the following scale.
8-17: Comrade! Roll out the welcome mat at the airport and prepare to welcome your fraternal comrades as they flood in from Europe and American universities to do solidarity work with your revolution. Put up a few pictures of Marx and Che for appearances and get ready for bargain basement deals on Russian and Chinese military equipment. Oh, and feel free to liquidate your opposition… you won’t have to account for it.
18-26: Okay, no Marxist political pilgrims (they’re unshaved and unwashed anyway – and that’s just the girls). Washington will be mildly concerned but you can still run the country down and slap the Middle Class around. Maybe create a popular militia for some mostly non-lethal brutishness and behave nicely to the Europeans and Chinese for some business deals.
27-34: Better cultivate a sense of personal style and get a wife or mistress (or both) with a lower income background. Act tremendously concerned about everyone, nationalize a few industries, and keep a wary eye on your military colleagues. You might run the economy into the ground, but if you have charisma all will be forgiven.
35 – 42: Heck, maybe the country will get prosperous under your watch, but nobody will ever thank you for it. On the other hand, nobody will feel it necessary to hound you in your retirement, particularly if you hand over power to a democratically elected government.
43-50: You are not going to be loved, even if you do any good — which you might, although having people you dislike disappear does bad things to your national credit rating and trade relationships. Expect guardedly cordial relations with conservative governments abroad, and cool relationships with liberal ones. Like the others, it is expected that you will sock money away for retirement, but much of this will be spent on legal fees if you ever set foot out of the country.
Okay, got everything needed to win and an idea of your own behaviours? Excellent, now get out there and derail the progress of your country! It’s easy, and anyone can do it, so why not you? For the rest of you without access to a Latin American military, the classic board game of Junta! – about politics, corruption and death in a quasi-fictional Latin American country — has just been re-released by West End Games (www.westendgames.com), so get the practice you need in statecraft until you can be a Latin American dictator too!