By Beatrice E. Rangel
With Boris Johnson about to wrap the British Prime Ministry, the world will soon see at full play a generation of leaders that is hacking savvy. This is to say a generation that understands systemic failures and weaknesses and aptly exploit them to their gain. This is precisely what hackers do in cyberspace.
The ascent to power of this generation was marked by the designation on August 9, 1999 of Vladimir Putin as deputy Prime Minister of Russia who then ascended to Prime Minister while then president Boris Yeltsin signaled that he wanted Mr Putin to become his successor. And so, it was.
Mr Putin had spent his life at KGB where he focused in cyber and snatch operations. Armed with the knowledge that these operations created opportunities to access affluence and gain power, Mr Putin devised a strategy aiming at placing him in Mr Yeltsin's place. He then exploited the systemic failures of the former USSR to take Russia over.
He knew that his peers at commanding heights were far more interested in annihilating one another than in building a strong nation. He knew that the oligarchs would open doors for Russia to enter international finance. He also understood well the politics of energy.
He thus got rid of all rivals, established a totalitarian regime under his absolute power and began the process of using natural gas to kidnap Europe.
In Indonesia president Joko Widodo became the first head of state who did not come from a powerful family or from the military. Mr Widodo skillfully hiked to the top of the power pyramid by organizing citizens and quenching corruption. His anti-corruption campaign showcased the horrendous pitfall of the political and business community thereby creating antidotes to populism and corporativism.
As his rivals had to retrench Mr Widodo has opened the economy, unleashed the market forces and created more employments than his four predecessors. Mr Widodo incarnates the virtues of positive hacking. To be sure, he has masterfully resorted to enhancing the weaknesses of past regimes to correct course and plant the pillars of a country standing on a free economy and the constant growth of middle classes.
In Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is exploiting to his advantage the addiction of the business community to rent extraction to prevent its mobilization against his policies which seek to transfer all power to the state. He also plays the Trump card by means of indicating to the business community that only he can stop the US government's drive against the free trade agreement with Mexico. NAFTA as the agreement became to be known has created in 24 years more middle-class families than all administrations in Mexico since independence. By taking the position of a NAFTA guardian Lopez Obrador demobilizes the middle classes which not only support the treaty but expect it to expand into more economic sectors. And with the middle classes and the business community demobilized while rival political parties are ridiculously weak, Mr. Lopez Obrador might well get his much-desired constitutional reform.
In the US president Trump is masterfully playing the differences in vision that separates democratic leaders to build strong and effervescent following that through combatant mobilization will secure his reelection. In the international dimension he is playing the national interests of Europe against those of Russia and those of China against those of Japan. He is also feuding with Iran in a gamble that could put the Arab leaders of the Gulf behind him to rebuke Turkey's ambitions to lead the Arab world. He is also bringing down the Bretton Woods order in an attempt to rewrite the world trade regime. The problem lies in the fact that nobody seems to be creating and alternative to the Bretton Woods order. This could thus send the world into a dangerous trade anarchy that could bring a bout a recession.
These leaders have in common their keen knowledge of the weakness of their national systems and those of the world order. They then chose to aggravate those weaknesses and to push their interests through in the midst of the confusion that their behavior generates. They are thus unleashing worldwide forces that are shaping the future of the world economic and political order in manners that nobody expected.Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.