We know that G.I. Joe is “the codename of America’s daring, highly trained special mission force” and that Cobra is a “ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.” To understand Cobra’s motivation, however, we should examine what happened when they did rule the world. In the first season episode “Worlds Without End,” members of the Joe team are sent to a parallel dimension where Cobra won a swift victory. Here is what we learned: Cobra established a government with a dual-headed executive branch, with Cobra Commander and Destro providing checks and balances against each other. As far as presumed authoritarian states go, this isn’t too bad, and might guard against any North Korea-like excesses. Cobra’s state has a law enforcement arm and domestic watch-lists only a few shades removed from what you experience when traveling through T.S.A. checkpoints. There is a welfare system in place, with Cobra providing food to the homeless. The infrastructure of Washington D.C. has been preserved with a few Cobra flourishes (e.g. Cobra Commander now sits in the Lincoln Memorial), and notably, Cobra Commander and Destro have replaced Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt respectively. Cobra has indeed conquered the Earth, and has totally defeated the Joe insurgents. At one point, the Joes from “our” dimension observe what they call a slave labor camp, though it’s impossible to say for certain without more information. They may have simply spotted a program run by the (very real) Correctional Corporation of America or some variant of the prisons at Guantanamo Bay. For what it’s worth, the Joes were only in the Cobra-led dimension for a few hours before recklessly engaging Cobra forces over the National Mall, sending one Cobra plane crashing into the U.S. Botanic Garden and another into the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.