Moving along: Will Donald Trump be America’s Deng Xiaoping? Possibly. Excerpt:
Deng, like all of us, was not perfect, but he clearly had a political genius and incredible courage in his ability to battle and ultimately defeat the monolithic power of Mao Zedong, who had jailed him and had his son pushed out a window (the son has spent the rest of his life as a paraplegic). It’s the stuff of great novels. (Yes, I realize Maoism still lingers in China, but, as I mentioned, nothing’s perfect.)
Back in 1961, at the height of Mao’s reign and three years before the publication of the Chairman’s Little Red Book, Deng slyly and metaphorically attacked the ideological rigidity of communism with one simple statement (dare I call it a tweet? If so, it was the most potent tweet of all time): “I don’t care if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.”
Simple as it is, that bears repeating: “I don’t care if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.”
There are minor variations in the various translations but they all have the same pragmatic, anti-ideological import. The Chinese evidently never forgot it, because, although many still may pretend-profess to be communists, they are in reality Dengists. This has led to the world’s most succesful crony capitalism, but, again as I said, nothing’s perfect. Whatever the case, modern China is a giant improvement with Deng Xiaoping’s fingerprints all over it. The unbelievable Shanghai skyline — that’s Deng.
I’ve seen Shanghai. It’s a prosperous, modern city, even if it is a bit – no, a lot – filthy. My impression of Shanghai’s Pudong district, where stuff gets built, is that it’s rather like a beehive. Tons of activity, everybody in the place always seems to be on their way somewhere. Everybody seems to have a purpose. Everything is humming, just like the aforementioned beehive.
And, yes, Deng is responsible for a lot of that. Why? He was less ideological, more pragmatic.
President Trump is a lot like that. He won election not by being a lockstep Republican, like most of his primary opponents; he won election by being a deal-maker, a guy with a vision of how to make America better – great, he says, but most voters will settle for better. And whether or not you may agree with President Trump’s actions in the 50 days since he took office, you will agree that he is moving aggressively on his agenda. Like most top businessmen, he’s moving, not proposing, not advocating, but doing.
But here’s what he has to get; he doesn’t have the power he had as a CEO; he doesn’t have the power Deng Xiaoping had. But he has the reputation of being a deal-maker.
It is on that rock he has built his church. (Irony intended.) It is on that rock that his Presidency will succeed or fail.