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Imagine international affairs as what is going on in a high school (“counter-factual”).

There are there are young women and men. There are older women and men. There are bullies, there are nerds, there are misfits that could not built up even a decent bit of self-esteem and identity. There are jocks, metal heads, rappers, pop listeners, popular kids. The rich and poor are there, the sick and healthy are present (“actors”). The identities are a mix. But overall, when it is the graduation day comes (“death”, “state failure”), everybody cries except that weird people that is totally alienated from social dogma (“North Korea”).

The social life works on a delicate balance in the high school (balance of power). There are eruptions of violent behavior or dramas based on social crisis (“war”, “civil war”, “insurgency”). Every high school has a written code of rules and unwritten ones. You cross them, you are dead (“rule of law”). Regularity and alienation on this social background is totally constructed on what the bullies and popular kids do (“UN Security Council”). These are all politics. A student with focus and cunning can navigate her/his way out of this mess. Upon starting real life, she/he could realize it is not that different from high school. Application of what had been learned would be wise at this point.

If you want to see an example there is a very interesting one. It is the story of how to be a middle-eastern dictator in 41 easy steps:

  1. Born, to your successful father.
  2. Survive, childhood.
  3. Go to high school.
  4. Make new friends.
  5. Do not try to make friends with the popular kids right away. They need to find about you.
  6. Find a cocky class neighbor that wants to be a bully. Befriend them.
  7. Do good on your classes. They are important.
  8. Have some hobbies.
  9. Don’t give a damn about what others think about you.
  10. Give a damn about what others think about you and use this perceptional gap to manipulate them.
  11. Give respect and play along with bullies. Befriend at least two of them.
  12. Hang out with you cocky neighbor a lot. Be best friends with them.
  13. Be cool together.
  14. When bullies have questions about your relation, get in their circles together.
  15. Be cool for a while.
  16. Upon graduation be nice to everyone.
  17. Never severe your connections with anyone. Go to double dates with your bully friends from time to time.
  18. Survive college.
  19. Go to some fancy college.
  20. Survive your father.
  21. Take place of your father.
  22. Don’t repeat his sins.
  23. Redeem for some of their sins.
  24. People around you might start think you are a dick, show them you can be a dick if you want to.
  25. Be a dick.
  26. When people rise up against you, beat’em up badly.
  27. When you cocky neighbor wants to stop you, seem to agree. But do not care, he is just another wannabe bully anyways.
  28. Have enemies as evil as you. So you will be seen as lesser evil.
  29. Have you real bully friends from high school who are still bullies, to defend you.
  30. Constantly damage your cocky neighbor’s image. That will make him more angry and cocky every day. You will look cool instead.
  31. As war against you heats up repeat your father’s sins.
  32. Murder, rape, and destroy.
  33. Use, tanks, airplanes, bombs, machetes, bullets, bare hands, teeth.
  35. In case you use, tell people you have not.
  36. If they found out that you used them, have others vouch for you.
  37. Have your enemies use chemical weapons if you can.
  38. Sustain your image as lesser evil.
  39. Have fun, if you can.
  40. Get some kids.
  41. Repeat from beginning.

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