Friday, February 24, 2012

why doesn't anyone want to be an elder statesman?

i know i've asked this question before, but this morning i once again wondered why more world leaders don't step down willingly. both abdoulaye wade and vladimir putin seem well positioned to become the kind of respected elder statesman if they just decided to retire. both can claim they guided their country through a difficult period. and just by leaving on their own accord, they would garner a lot of respect both inside and outside their country.

i understand that in some corners of the world former leaders don't have a particularly pleasant fate. but leaders who stay in office past their time don't always have a happy ending either. is power so seductive that it's really so hard to give up? even so, i still can't quite understand the appeal of staying. maybe it's just me but being a president seems like a much crappier job than being a respected elder statesman. even moreso if you're heading towards being an unpopular president.