Democracy is ostensibly a system designed to create the least amount of disagreement by offering everyone a potential voice. However, Joshua Kurlantzick’s article suggests that the conflicts erupting in many of the world’s political hotspots may have been worsened by democracy gone rotten, as powerful and charismatic individuals have managed to harness the power of the dispossessed with economic incentives and emotional appeals. Carrying the will of a majority, these powerful individuals, figures such as Vladimir Putin, Thaksin Shinawatra, and Hun Sen, then implement policies that consolidate their power while placing their allies at a political disadvantage at best, and in mortal danger at worst. The article then continues to note that many Southeast Asian nations are beginning to look to China as an alternative to the inefficiencies and chaos that are wrought by ill-governed democracies, with its emphasis on a hybrid of state-run and free-market policies combined with a tightly controlled political system. The consequence is that the concept of democracy as a viable system is becoming less attractive to nations that are beset by vicious infighting.
What this article demonstrates is that the problem with democracies in areas such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe is that the leaders are not leaders: they are managers. They try to incentivize the public with gifts of money and direct emotional appeals rather than their ability to align people to their areas of greatest strength; given that type-C individuals make up the greater portion of society, they then select the leader who is able to fulfill their desires. Unfortunately, a politician set into power due to type-c characteristics exercises management actions versus leadership actions, and the symptoms are political squabbling, corruption, and economic inefficiency. Ultimately, the reason the Chinese are becoming attractive to some of the beleaguered nations is that it seems to offer a system that is less prone to influence from type-C characteristics (namely financial power), creating a society that mitigates “mob rule” and creates a greater emphasis on leadership and personal efficiency.