Ashgabat, 29 July 2013 (nCa) — Considering that talent is spread evenly across the continents and races, the size of the talent pool of China is four times that of the United States.
At least theoretically, no matter how talented a person gets elected as the president of the United States, there should be at least four persons of the same quality in China.
This is just a theoretical statement.
The reality is that the very best in any given country are not usually inclined to swim through the sewerage line to reach the corridors of power. Their talent finds other avenues for expression. Also, ambition is not necessarily a part of the talent package.
However, there are some who have great talent and ambition, and also the capacity to endure what it takes to reach the top. Both Obama and Xi Jinping are in this category.
There are some similarities.
Both Xi and Obama started from outside the system (one because of his skin colour, the other because of the political downfall of his father), both worked hard to enter the system (one through excellence in education, the other through education combined with service to the party), both started their political journey from the regional power centres and moved gradually to the capital.
Their spouses also have certain traits in common. Both Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan are more charismatic than their husbands. Both are fashion icons and trendsetters. And, both are spearheading some global issues (Michelle Obama is a vocal advocate for poverty awareness, nutrition and healthy eating, Peng Liyuan is a WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS).
The similarities end here and the system takes over.
The system in the United States is such that it restricts the full use of the national talent pool.
Party loyalties, campaign contributions, lobbying, special interest groups, advocacy organizations and other such bodies that wield disproportional weigh, actually influence the decision as to who would get picked for what job.
This is a debatable point. Depending on how we view the USA – a benevolent, infallible superpower or a country intoxicated by its own arrogance and greed, or anything in between – we may argue from both sides of the podium
China retains the ability to pick the right person for the right job. Except for the direct executive positions, there is the long standing practice of bringing in the people who can do justice to the job.
This too is debatable. Depending on our perceptions – whether China is a ruthless Communist country or a country that is continuously fine-tuning its system to meet its best interests, or anything in between – we may argue convincingly from both sides of this view point.
It is the end results that matters.
The visit of Obama to Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia in November 2012 is a case in point. It was a colossal exercise in embarrassment, both for the hosts and the guest.
Instead of flirting with the leading ladies in each country, had he focused on the real issues, the outcome could have been solid and substantial.
This opportunity was squandered because of the people – the people who were in the position to plan every step of this trip and who choreographed every move of the president.
This is all about people.
Had the people who really understand Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia been in the right positions, they could have extracted the full value from this trip.
However, rounds pegs rarely get matched with round holes in the USA. The vocal few override the silent many. This is the tragedy of the USA, a great country that is bleeding to death because of self inflicted wounds.
We have been trying to underline in this series that it is the people who matter, not the technology or the military might.
That is why China is here and now.
In the concluding part of this series we shall look at how China is preparing for the first extensive trip of Xi Jinping to Central Asia. This, again, is a matter of putting people above all else.
To be continued . . .