23skadoo40
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Alex Ronke Dooku's entire philosophy is different than Tarkin's, so I'm not sure "smarter" or "better" is necessarily the right comparison. Dooku is a charismatic agent of chaos. His tactics were intended to destabilize a fragile status quo, forcing the Republic to abandon its principles. He was the Chaos that made Palpatine's Order so much more attractive.

Tarkin is argubly as cruel as Dooku, but his focus is on maintaining order through fear. Tarkin enthusiastically embraces tyranny as a means of taming the universe and satisfying his own ambition. He's a calculating strategist, but he uses his skills to unravel plots rather than create them. He's an enforcer, not a warmonger.

If Palpatine had just been a popular tyrant (like Caesar or Napoleon), rather than a supernatural and powerful Sith, Tarkin could have been Palpatine's post-Count "apprentice."

As for your final question, I don't think Dooku was so much manipulated as betrayed. He wasn't a completely unwitting pawn. He knew that his role was to create an excuse for Palpatine's rise to power, and he played his role well. He just misunderstood the full details of the endgame, and he didn't see himself as disposable as Sidious saw him.
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