Author’s note: For the indefinite future, all my digital articles will be short and shorter. Why? Because I’ve gotten myself ensnared in writing another book – a book that will appear after the next one. My next book – to be published in September by Cambridge University Press – is co-authored with Todd Pittinsky. It is titled, Leaders Who Lust: Power, Money, Sex, Success, Legitimacy, Legacy.
When Todd Pittinsky and I wrote the above referenced book we looked for two cases for each of the six types of lust. These cases would be used as exemplars of what we meant when we wrote about, for example, lust for power, or money, or sex.
The book was updated during the first half of 2020, though mostly it was written in 2019. We could not know then what we know now. That Xi Jinping, who we had already pegged as having evolved from an authoritarian leader into a totalitarian one, would just a few months later become even more power hungry that he already demonstrably was. He is a leader – as Churchill said of Hitler – whose appetite grows with eating!
In the last few weeks Xi has moved full speed ahead. He is visibly insatiable, more unabashedly hungry for power even than he was before, which means he is ready to risk global censure to get what he wants when he wants it. This includes most obviously Hong Kong. His zeal to exert over its denizens his own total rule is why Beijing just violated a longstanding agreement that promised them a measure of autonomy for years yet to come. But it also includes aggressive if not threatening behaviors toward a range of other countries, including Canada, Australia, and India. Above all there is China’s increasingly menacing stance vis a vis Taiwan, for which what just happened in Hong Kong could well be a prelude. None of this is even to speak of his repressions within China, most onerously of the Uighurs, but also of the Chinese people more generally, the large majority of whom seem, however, to have accommodated themselves to Xi’s one-man, strong-man rule.
Pittinsky and I concluded that leaders who lust never stop. Xi would never then be satisfied even if he were to rule the word. He would simply move on – look for other worlds left to conquer.