Even though some people would doubtless regard it as a highly controversial suggestion, there is a fundamental argument to be made that sometimes, just sometimes, particular countries or regions of the world sometimes fare much better when they're being ruled by an autocratic individual, rather than the democratically elected administrations that we're much more used to seeing in the west. Although we may not agree with basic principle of someone unilaterally seizing power to control the future direction of a particular country, there is no doubt that under certain circumstances such a scenario or outcome can be much more preferable than allowing power to reside in the hands of the people of that country or region.
It remains a fact that in certain parts of the world indigenous populations are little more than children, lacking the education, the basic understanding and perhaps the sophistication to be trusted with a choice of who governs them and who does not. Throw into that situation a sometimes irrational adherence to religious fundamentalism, a belief in ethnic superiority or inferiority, an occasional reliance on traditional backwardness in the form of primitive tribal practices; and in a sense granting electoral power to such native populations, is to virtually invite the worst sorts of anarchy, mayhem and disaster to occur.
With a few notable exceptions, it's worth remembering that some of the world's greatest democracies originally started out as autocracies, tyrannical kingdoms or fiefdoms that were ruled over by single individuals or specific families for hundreds of years, before a single one of their subjects were entitled to a vote on who exactly governed them and on what basis. Again, with a few notable exceptions, even if the citizenships of the likes of the old western kingdoms of England, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, etc. had somehow wanted to demand their rights to be heard, to participate in the running of their homelands, for the most part, few of them would have actually possessed the education, the understanding, or the personal sophistication to have done so anyway.
If one accepts that a decent education, a better understanding of the world and a well-balanced personal judgement are just three of the basic benchmarks for an entitled electorate then it perhaps explains why democracy isn't always an appropriate form of government for every country. In large parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East significant numbers of the native populations still can't even read or write, let alone understand their own country's place in the world, or develop the sorts of personal skills that might help to inform or enrich them as individuals. Women traditionally carry the weight of these disadvantages far more than men, often because the various societies regard women as second-class citizens, or sometimes even as mere chattels, tasked with being little more than homemakers, child-bearers, wage-earners and sex-slave.
One only has to look at certain areas of Africa, Asia and the Middle East to recognise that a western form of democracy doesn't always work for the betterment of every country. Can anyone honestly say that Iraq is a better country now than it was when Saddam Hussein ruled over it? Has Syria been in anyway improved by the western backed insurgency that has blighted that country for the past few years? Does anyone really believe that Afghanistan will actually survive the withdrawal of the thousands of western troops that have helped suppress the religious extremism, lawlessness and tribalism that is endemic to its very core?
That is not to say that the likes of Saddam Hussein are a perfect candidate for governing a state, or that his often tyrannical actions were in any way justified, but contrast the numbers of dead and dispossessed in Iraq since the dictator was forced from office, to those who died before; or consider the thousands more who have been slaughtered since the religious fundamentalism of the ISIS insurgency has taken hold in that now bitterly divided country. Is that what the millions of newly enfranchised Iraqi people voted for when they went to the polls after Saddam had been removed by the west, slaughter, mayhem and division? Is that what the people of Syria can expect if and when Bashar Al Assad eventually falls; and they're offered the chance to participate in free and fair democratic elections? Is that what the voters of Afghanistan can expect to experience once the last remaining western troops go home, leaving them in the not so capable hands of yet another western trained national army? Did the removal of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi bring a better life for the Libyan people, bearing in mind that their country is currently being ravaged by a range of underlying tribal and religious differences, which probably wouldn't have arisen, or indeed taken hold had the autocratic Gaddafi still been in place.
It is perhaps worth recalling that any number of modern democracies around the world have been preceded by sometimes brutal dictators or by military juntas; but that have subsequently gone on to develop into highly advanced and generally successful modern democratic states, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Argentina and Pakistan being just five of the many countries that have eventually and successfully made the transition from dictatorship to democracy.
That is not to advocate individual dictatorships or military juntas as the preferred method of government for any country, although it has to be said that certain countries, simply by virtue of their indigenous populations and the prevailing cultures cannot or should not be trusted with their own self governance. One only has to look at the state of Iraq, a potentially successful modern and wealthy state that is currently in danger of being destroyed from within because the two main religious factions within the country, Shia and Sunni, cannot agree to co-operate with one another. Similar divisive issues exist in many other modern countries, be it Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Yugoslavia, Libya, Ivory Coast, Chechnya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, etc.
Whether a country is divided by ethnicity, by religion, by caste, or by simple tribalism, it often requires a fairly autocratic, even a dictatorial style of government in order to prevent such countries from being ripped apart by internal feuding. Even though such autocratic rulers may engage in the pretence of democratically free elections to underpin their right to rule, dictators such as Robert Mugabe are content to not only repress the rights of the white minority in Zimbabwe, but also the rights of those black tribal groups who are generally opposed to his own. Nouri Al-Maliki in Iraq and Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan are both democratically elected leaders, who have thus far failed to prove that they have overcome the longstanding religious and tribal divides that are endemic to their individual countries. Indeed, Mr Al-Maliki is thought to be such a divisive figure in Iraqi politics that it is his own policies of isolating his religious opponents, which has led to the unexpected rise of the Islamic Caliphate (ISIS) within the borders of both Iraq and Syria; and now threatens the very existence of Mr Al-Maliki's own recently elected government.
Due to the fact that the likes of Mr Al-Maliki and Mr Karzai are unwilling or unable to impose their individual wills on their respective national populations, ostensibly because they are both personally weak, but fundamentally democratic in their approaches, they unwittingly create the sort of political environment, which allows ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Taliban to not only establish themselves, but also to thrive in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Extremism, of the sort exhibited by the likes of ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Taliban can only ever be countered by other forms of extremism, as in the sort of autocratic rule practiced by the likes of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, the Ayatollahs in Iran and by President Assad in Syria. Even though all of these states have held national elections on a fairly regular basis, if only to maintain the pretence of a democratic mandate, at least such polls restrict the activities and the candidature of the more extremist groups who sometimes try to manipulate the democratic process for their own means, as was suggested to be the case with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Hamas party in Gaza.
Although no-one would willingly advocate that a true democratic process should be replaced by an authoritarian dictatorship, for some countries, this would undoubtedly be preferable, if only to guarantee the lives and well-being of a majority of the local populace. Of course, it is probably also true to believe that were religion generally to play less of a part in national government and in people's everyday lives, then the need for firm, disciplined, autocratic leaders would be far less necessary than it is, most especially in the region of the Middle East where Islam in its many forms is doubtless responsible for many of the major problems that endlessly affect the native populations of that area. Tyrants may not to be everyone's tastes, but according to some schools of thought, dictatorships, especially of the more benevolent kind, often offers the countries in question stability, less corruption, more efficient government and lower crime rates, benefits that many of today's failing states could undoubtedly do with.