Turkmenistan and North Korea: Autocratic regimes rely on opacity and agendas to oppress citizens and bamboozle those on the outside

Once again we visit Turkmenistan, the land of irony, where truth and fiction become entwined to a point where there can be little to differentiate these polar opposites. Every bad guy needs a patsy, someone who will take the rap when merely following orders - usually on the pain of death, imprisonment or some other…

Turkmenistan: A presidential portrait of modern-day narcissism wrapped in despotism

In 2004 the Harvard Business Review called it right. Their take on narcissists concluded that the vainglorious are "unproductive when, lacking self-knowledge and restraining anchors, they become unrealistic dreamers. They nurture grand schemes and harbour the illusion that only circumstances, or enemies block their success". Does all this sound terribly familiar, even in the modern…