Whis a dictator? Someone, who is the ead of a state and cannot be dethroned from power through the legal system. A dictatorial government indulges in gross violations of basic civil, human and political rights of its subjects. It often rules through violence and refuses to accept any constraints on its behaviour. It cares two pence about media freedoms, the right to a fair trial, the people's right to choose elected representatives and an individual's freedom to criticise the regime. Should any civilised person or state support such tyrants? Naturally, the answer will be a resounding 'No'. Presently, the world is divided into developed and developing countries. All developed states and the international organisations around the globe such as the UN, the IMF and the World Bank trumpet support for the spread of democracy and freedom in all those countries where these are lacking. In this regard, the former American President George W Bush is on the record to have said: "It is the policy of United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." He lied. Not only did he lie but most of the Western governments who also make such tall claims, day in day out, blatantly lie without any remorse. Christopher Coyne, who is an assistant professor of economics and Matt E Ryan, who is a doctoral fellow at the West Virginia University have published a research in a journal that exposes how the developed countries have aided and abetted the world's worst dictators since the day they assumed power and up to the year 2006. In their own way, they have identified 23 dictators - almost all of who belong to Asia and Africa. These have been provided monetary aid by 22 'high-income' countries (as per World Bank classification), which are members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The (OECD) members include almost all major European countries in addition to USA, Canada, Australia and Japan. It may be interesting to note that the aid figures quoted do not include the military aid extended by the (OECD) states to these autocrats. Ironically, not only the governments of developed countries have provided net disbursements, they have also promised financial commitments in millions of dollars for the future support to these despots. For example, since 1981, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has been given a net disbursement of $41,715 million (all figures are in million dollars) and a total commitment of $60,592.6m. Between (1997-2006), Tran Duc Luong of Vietnam was awarded a net of $9,839.8m and a total commitment of $14,064m. Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf was doled out a net of $5,579m and a total commitment of $12,765.8m from 1999 to 2008. Some other countries that have received millions in support from the OECD governments are Saudi Arabia, Burma, Cameroon, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Out of the total amounts (already disbursed and promised) the research also lays bare in a separate table, the monies handed out by the Americans in net disbursements, total commitments and military assistance respectively to these tyrants. Hosni Mubarak pocketed $25,075.2m in net, $39,099.8m in commitment and $44,283m in military assistance. Pervez Musharraf's regime obtained a net of $2,128.03m, a commitment of $3,644.3m and a military help of $1,328.4m. Many would be surprised to know that the very countries, which were dubbed as the 'Axis of Evil' by the US, were gifted millions from the coffers of US treasury. Since 1989, Iran has been apportioned $34.4m in net and $16 m in total commitments. Syria procured $1.1m in net and $3.3m in total commitment since 2000 whereas North Korea acquired $386.2m in net and $457.5m in total commitment since 1994. In a nutshell, the (OECD) states have dished out a total of $105 billion in net disbursements and have committed about $144 billion in all to the autocrats of the world. On the other hand, the Americans have granted a total of $36 billion in net disbursements, $53 billion in total commitments and $46 billion in military aid. Strangely, Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, who hosted Osama bin Laden in the mid-1990s and whose country was placed in 1993 by the US government on the list of those states which sponsored terrorism was rewarded with $7 billion between 1989 and 2006, out of which about 40 percent i.e., $2.7 billion were given by the American government. What is this? Is the West fooling the world or is it fooling itself? While it publicly condemns usurpers for their gross injustices, at the same time it generously rewards them with billions of dollars enabling them to continue their oppression. If this bounty is provided under the assumption that it would help the poor countries to escape poverty by reforming their economic, political and social institutions then it has not worked in any case be it Burma, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan or Zimbabwe. On the contrary, such largesse cushions the totalitarian regimes with the additional means to perpetuate their suppression. E-mail: qizilbash2000@yahoo.com