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Saturday, January 2, 2010

China's fear of Charisma

Some questions to consider...

1. Why did China's leadership have junior government officials handle the negotiations in Copenhagen? Reference - How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room - UK Guardian.

2. Why was President's Obama in China not given the same opportunity to address the Chinese nation that President Clinton had?
Obama charisma? China keeps it in tight check. - Christian Science Monitor

4. What is the background of China current leadership?
Chinese Rising Leader Is Economist, Not Engineer - Forbes.com

5. If you are dealing with a charismatic leader, what is the best way to make sure your decisions are not affected by their charisma?

6. Who was the last Charismatic leader in China?
Mao

My thoughts:

China's current leaders are Engineers. Engineers are stoics in philosophy. Engineering that likes to base decisions on facts, and want to avoid group think. Note that Herbert Hoover was the last US President that was a Engineer. Mao was the last charismatic leader of China and the current leadership was alive during the cultural revolution. The Chinese leadership has also studied what led to the fall of the communism in Eastern Europe, including President Reagan's famous speech of "Tear Down this Wall".

The way to avoid being influenced by a charismatic person is use an intermediary. This way you can avoid the direct charismatic effect. The US in Copenhagen was not allowed to deal directly with the Chinese leader after an initial meeting, but with a series of intermediaries. Negotiations were also done around the US with India and Brazil (negating the charisma factor by not allowing it's presence). China also ran the clock out at Copenhagen, minimizing the possibility of an agreement that was forced by charisma. During President Obama's visit, China was also very careful to limit his uncontrolled access to the Chinese media.

A SWAG based on the above:

China's leadership is afraid of the impact of President's Obama's charisma as shown in actions during Copenhagen's negotiations and his visit to China. Their goal is to limit his ability to use his charisma that would be negative to their interest. Be it an environmental structure that may have negative impact on China's growth (part of the Heavenly Mandate, or how the government keep's it's legitimacy is through good economic growth in China) or through direct communication to the Chinese people that promoted areas that the current Chinese leadership does not want promoted (such as democracy, environmental, etc.). The leadership has direct experience on what a charismatic leader can do (Mao was extremely charasimatic and responsible for the Cultural Revolution). For this reason, China's leadership is extremely careful in limiting the ability of President Obama to influence China through his charisma.

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