Trump, Putin and Xi: a year of tough-guy leaders and foolish brinkmanship

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Trump, Putin and Xi: a year of tough-guy leaders and foolish brinkmanship

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Quote:It was the year of the hard man – the tough-guy leader with a ruthless streak and a big ego. In Moscow, Vladimir Putin, a role model for the genre, strengthened his harsh grip on domestic politics while intensifying Russia’s cyber-digital “war of influence” with the west. In Beijing, China’s president, Xi Jinping, attained a kind of immortality when his unoriginal thoughts were enshrined in the Communist party constitution. In Washington, Donald Trump enacted a charlatan parody of the US presidency, blending power and ignorance to an alarming degree.

The heavy mob attracted a cohort of emulators and imitators – “little big men” such as Kim Jong-un, the inexperienced, nuclear-armed North Korean dictator and Rodrigo Duterte, the homicidal president of the Philippines. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s choleric president, worked assiduously to dismantle his country’s secular democratic tradition, using a failed 2016 coup as a pretext. Saudi Arabia’s uncrowned leader and ostensible reformer, the youthful Prince Mohammad bin Salman, made a series of clumsy regional power plays.

The corollary to the rise of the hard man was a sense of debilitating weakness among western democracies and of a crumbling postwar international strategic and legal order. The rising power of one-party China, spreading authoritarianism in general, and divisive, populist and nationalistic regressions within Europe highlighted the dilemma. The west’s difficulties were compounded by uncertainty over how to handle Trump and navigate a disorientating new era of weakening American global leadership.

More at The Guardian
This post was last modified: 12-26-2017, 05:52 AM by Jared.
12-26-2017, 05:52 AM
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