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Xi who must be obeyed
Xi Eyes “Putin Model” for Extending His Rule

When Chinese President Xi Jinping earned the designation of China’s “core” leader in October, speculation ran rampant about whether Xi was laying the groundwork for an extended period of strongman rule, even after his second term expires in 2022. New reporting from The Wall Street Journal suggests that prospect is increasingly likely:

Now, as he nears the end of his first five-year term, many party insiders say Mr. Xi is trying to block promotion of a potential successor next year, suggesting he wants to remain in office after his second term expires in 2022, when he would be 69 years old.

Mr. Xi, who is president, party chief and military commander, “wants to keep going” after 2022 and to explore a leadership structure “just like the Putin model,” says one party official who meets regularly with top leaders. Several others with access to party leaders and their relatives say similar things. […]

Mr. Xi’s efforts to secure greater authority may help ensure political stability in the short run, as an era-defining economic boon starts to falter. But they risk upending conventions developed since Mao’s death to allow flexibility in government and ensure a regular and orderly transition of power.

The true test of Xi’s ambition will come at the Party Congress next year, when he will have a chance to refresh the ranks of the party leadership. Early signs suggest that he will stack the Politburo and the Central Committee with loyalists to make the party more disciplined and personally loyal; he could also downgrade the role of the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee to facilitate a stronger presidential system. In any case, it seems that China is continuing to move away from its post-Mao rule by committee, a system formed in response to the horrible and murderous abuses that occurred periodically under Mao’s untrammeled rule, and back toward one-person rule.

Xi’s apparent interest in a Putin-style leadership model also points to a wider phenomenon. All over the world, including in the U.S., the trend is away from the anonymous rule of technocrats and experts and toward rule by strong personalities. Putin in Russia, Erdogan in Turkey, Modi in India, and Abe in Japan are all manifestations of the trend, each embracing an unapologetic nationalism while projecting an image as a tough and decisive leader. Xi is already a member of that club, but his ongoing power consolidation could further cement his status among the ranks of the strong-willed leaders who are increasingly driving the global agenda these days.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    People everywhere are better off with “politically correct” than with “unapologetic nationalism”. Why? Well, one of those phrases looks for what is correct and the other says “Who cares? Correct never matters.”

    What has been the historical result for people when “strong personalities” collide? Expecting something different this time?

    • ImperiumVita

      As if simply labeling something “correct” makes it so.

      • FriendlyGoat

        More like “looking for correct helps you find correct”.

        • Tom

          You’ve heard the one about the drunk, the dark alley where he lost his keys, and the streetlight he was searching for them under, right?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Nope, hadn’t heard that one. But congratulations on the logic which says “everyone looking for correct is a drunk”, or “that which was correct was lost by a drunk in an alley”, or whatever other goofball thing you’re trying to pass off as wisdom.

          • Tom

            Seeing as you haven’t heard it, here’s the story.
            A man was walking down the street one night when he came across a drunk on his hands and knees searching for something under a streetlight.
            “What’re you looking for?” the man asked.
            “My house keys,” the drunk replied. “I lost them in the dark alley over there.”
            “So why are you looking under the streetlight?”
            “Because it’s so dark in that alleyway that I can’t see a thing!”

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks, I got the joke the first time. I just don’t think people actually looking for “correct” are either drunk or hanging around in dark alleys.

          • Tom

            You missed the point of the story. Looking for correct doesn’t help you find correct if you’re not willing to look in the right place.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I got the point of the story. He’s drunk. He was in a dark alley. He lost his own keys.
            You’re trying to tell me no one needs to look for or think about “correct”. I’m telling you that we all do.

          • Tom

            Except I’m not. Try again.

        • Jim__L

          No, no it doesn’t — not if you’re looking in the wrong places. Where do you get this stuff?

          PC is propaganda, plain and simple.

    • Jim__L

      ‘Cosmopolitan elites everywhere are better off with “politically correct” than with “unapologetic nationalism”.’

      Fixed that for ya.

      Honestly FG, why are you looking at PC for correctness instead of Scripture? How can you consider yourself a Christian when you do that?

      • FriendlyGoat

        Good grief, Jim. Scripture tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We can always be looking for good ways to do that. In large measure, it means not taking advantage of each other. Remember, I was comparing this to “unapologetic nationalism” which is basically mobs of arrogance surrounded by a border.

  • ljgude

    Well, Obama recently implied that he could have won the recent election and looking at his popularity rating it is a credible counter factual due to the 22nd amendment. However it may occur to him to pursue the Putin model himself by running Michelle in 2020. I am not saying that I think this likely, but I think that kind of possibility is there in a period when old models and familiar paradigms are changing rapidly.

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