This, in a nutshell, is what encapsulates the essence of Bashar’s grievance: he was always second, he was his father’s second choice for president, and now, he’s Time’s second choice for Man of the Year, even after perpetrating a genocide. This cuts deep for him. And what’s worse is the growing realization that he is a mere Iranian puppet now. He probably longs to assert himself again, and that longing has always been the key to his overreach and his mistakes. Not that it matters anymore. He’s not in charge, and this is no longer his game. It has never actually been his. He is nothing but a glorified placeholder.