The world seems always to have been full of petty dictators. If you will think back to your high school history, it was pretty much a parade of monarchist, fascist, socialist, communist, and other-ist dictators. They were everywhere, from ancient Greece to, well, modern Greece and beyond. Generally, those leaders with even a single altruistic quality were quickly gunned down in favor of someone much more self absorbed.
With very few exceptions (the United States was one until very recently) the world has been run by the greedy, the wealthy, the power-hungry, the corrupt, the heartless, the cruel, and the sadistic. Names such as Torquemada, Stalin, Trujillo, Hitler, Batista, Nero, Idi Amin, Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon, Duvalier, Mussolini, Attila the Hun, King Herrod, Saddam Hussein, Chairman Mao, and George W. Bush roll trippingly from the tongue.
Without these people, history would have been a boring succession of scientific achievement and artistic glory set in flower-filled fields under puffy pink clouds. None of that for the human race, though! Not us! All that humans really need is a asshole in a uniform or clerical robes to follow into battle and half of us will be happy to be hewing pieces out of the other half with large iron swords while the gutters and oceans run red and all of the children and the elderly slowly starve to death in their caves.
History has made me the optimist that I am today.