In case you hadn't noticed, 2011 is less than two months old and it's already turning out to be a very tough year for the planet's dictators. Yesterday, the British Foreign Secretary William Hague was quoted in The Times of London saying that Muammar Qaddafi was on a plane from Libya to Venezuela to commiserate with Hugo Chavez. That turned out to be wrong, which is good for me, since I still have a $20 bet that Muammar will end up bunking in one of Silvio Berlusconi's brothels in Corsica or Sardinia.

Talk about a hard fall. Qaddafi can't be a happy man, especially when he hears Hosni Mubarak is rumored to be lying in a coma in Sharm El-Sheik. Back in 2003, Qaddafi was mortified by the sight of Saddam Hussein living on franks, beans and Snicker's bars in a hole in the ground in Iraq.

But there is another dictatorship on the planet that gets far more respect and genuflecting from the financial markets and corporate elites than the Mubaraks and Qaddafis of the world (though Tony Blair's toadying up to Qaddafi in 2004 looks pretty silly today, as does Berlusconi's pandering behavior).

I'm talking, of course, about Red China. The entire world of self-impressed Davos attendees looks at China with great reverence. No country in modern history has managed to grow at 10% a year for 20 straight years, they say. The skill with which China managed its way through three great recession makes the West look lame, they add.

Well, who is to say those numbers are real? A few of the smarter minds in the business have voiced modest skepticism. Three years ago, Jean-Marie Eveillard told me he wouldn't touch equities in mainland China because he found their accounting standards to be downright deceptive.

If demographics are destiny, then China has some other big problems, thanks to its one-child policy. At this year's Schwab Impact conference, Ariel Investments' CEO Mellody Hobson remarked that China would grow old before it grows rich.

But all the models built by the economic wizards at Goldman Sachs and elsewhere that show China passing America as the world's largest economy in 2027 or 2037 or whenever, presume that all these numbers are real, that China can continue to grow at a blistering pace with only small bumps along the way and that its people will continue to tolerate its bizarre combination of communism and capitalism.

Yes, the so-called Jasmine revolution fizzled this past Sunday, and we all know how Tiananmen Square ended in 1989. The structure of China's government is a lot more sophisticated than those wobbling throughout the Middle East. Leadership transitions occur in a more orderly fashion than the wannabe monarchs like Hosni and Muammar who aren't going to get their way.

Still, who is to say that some day in the next few decades the 1.4 billion people of China don't demand a degree of freedom that their current government can't possibly provide?

Certainly not the wise men of Davos who were totally blindsided by what is happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Yemen and Bahrain. Not them.