Those heady days back when a hated leader of a country was deposed by a rag-tag army of citizens (representing themselves as a junta) in a great civil uprising that ultimately replaced him (or her) with their own leader… usually a military guy… are long gone.In those days no one cared about what was going on inside your country regarding the level of violence so you could pretty much take care of business with impunity without gaining the wrath of world public opinion. In fact, you really didn’t require the help from outside allies; you did it all yourselves. Well… in this 21st century, deposing the guy you hate can be really a chore and is not for the faint of heart… as a process, I mean. Here’s some steps that might help you out as you put your plan into place.
1. Establish the primary goal of what you want to do. This becomes your mantra for change. Do you just want the leader removed or do you want tribal retribution afterwards as well? Usually it’s best to take this in phases; get the world to sign on to your cause to remove the dictator/leader. Then when you get your guy in charge you can do the tribal vendetta thing and tell the world this is an internal police action to regain civil order.
2. The press is your greatest ally. It will open doors, arouse sympathy, and do most of your public relations work for you. It will also get you funded. As long as your cause can show the proper level of pain and suffering of your fellow citizens, the press will be eager to document the turmoil. So whatever action you decide to take, remember, the press is there to help you to succeed.
3. Set up a revolutionary “committee”, even if the whole thing is your idea and you want to run the show. The idea here is that you personally will not be harmed in any way during your revolt; let others take that risk. If you have a group or committee made up of older people… then make sure you locate your headquarters in another country… preferably a democratic one with an open society. You might consider your group taking a dramatic and publicized exit from your country… this will give the impression that you and your group are in exile for fear of your life. It also sets your group up for being the “go to” guys when other countries might want to know who will be in charge to negotiate the “cessation of violence” and “the day after” government. In fact, your host country will likely foot the bill for your committee to operate from a four star hotel… and provide security.
4. No more rag-tag citizen armies and no more juntas… at least in the beginning. You have to worry about world public opinion these days… and to be quite honest, you want that opinion on your side. Your revolution is less about rebelious violence and more about being victims. Revolts should start on college campuses by way of demonstrations in the streets. College students are idealists by nature.. and unarmed. They also “social media” a lot and they make for the best reporters of what is going on in the streets (jerky vidoes of smoke, explosions, blood on the street, and general mayhem will do wonders to the get the world to take notice). So if your current president/dictator-for-life decides on martial law it won’t matter because students will find a way to get the message out to the world. Let them do the work and take the risks… and they make great martyrs, too.
5. At some point in the social upheaval the students will firebomb government military tanks and vehicles, which will make great images on YouTube (along with the images of the dead and dying in overcrowded hospitals) and subsequently CNN. About this time also there will be increasing numbers of government soldiers deserting their posts because they are unable to fire on their own civilians. They will make up the basis for new “freedom” army. Make sure you have open communication with them to make sure they know you are the boss.
6. Since your revolution doesn’t have a professional army you will want other countries to help win some of the military battles. It’s important that the innocent civilian body count rises in order to get nations to sign on to provide for air strikes against the government. The UN won’t do anything so don’t waste your time there. NATO might work, but don’t expect a lot of military help from the U.S., but the U.S. will give money and humanitarian aid. France will be a big help militarily. But the help will be with delivering air strikes only. Be sure to keep making demands for the current leader to step down to stop the slaughter of innocents during this process so that you keep in the forefront of the revolution.
7. You (and your committee) will need to make a plan for having a government in place when the bad leader steps down or is killed. The allied powers will want this as some assurance that things will be organized “the day after” in order to provide aid. Promise the allies anything that sounds good. Your plan should include a lot of democratic ideals. Once you are in charge you can do what you want.
8. Behind the scenes let the other tribal leaders (or political parties) within your embattled country know that they will be equally represented in the new government. You will need their support to win the hearts and minds of the populace, as well as looking good to the allies that you are a fervant believer in democracy. Again, you can do what you want after you are in power.
9. Time is on your side. Don’t rush the process. Let the press and the allied countries do their thing… and talk “democracy” and “freedom” when a camera is pointed at you.
10. When the big day arrives and the bad guy is deposed or eliminated make sure there is dancing in the streets. Also.. have the jubilant citizens wave your “new” flag.. and the American flag (forget the celebratory firing of AK-47‘s into the air; that implies incivility; flowers on military vehicles is better). The use of the American flag assures the aid will keep coming after the battle. Make sure you ride triumphant into the capitol for the cameras… smile, kiss babies… shake hands. Congrats! You are now in charge!
Your first official function as the new leader (besides creating a new secret police)…. make sure the new U.S. embassy is built in a prominant part of the capitol. It should be located in an easily accessible place so that when the day comes to organize the populace into storming and looting the place there will be easy unrestricted access for everyone.