No Airbags, Like Superman – Ajay Alur
In today’s world this figure of speech seems to be highly relevant in our day lives. Allow me to explain. Shifting realms to modern day politics, Let’s apply this figure of speech to some state leaders and their leadership styles.
I will use one or two recent doings of each of the leaders and attempt to draw my conclusion on the cab driver’s ultimate message.
Donald Trump — In a recent whistle blower reported event, He allegedly made use of President’s office & power to exert pressure on Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to disclose Joe Biden family deal on certain investments in Ukraine. Trump wholeheartedly agreed to open up his phone conversation transcripts to the DOJ for an investigation. Trump flipped and made a complete U turn when the transcript content seemed to work against him and could get used in the proposed impeachment. He imposed his will and pretty much gave the middle finger when it didn’t suit him!
He initiated the trade/tariff war across the globe creating undue stress both inside and outside the country. As a representative of all the people who voted for him, is he really representing them anymore in all his actions?
Xi Jinping — The bravado he exhibits is unparalleled. From an outsider perspective, it looks like China could implode in many different ways if the current situation of the trade war continues. Being one of the primary parties to raging trade war, he is still thumping his chest and putting on a show to demonstrate that he is an equal opponent in the ring.
His proposed extradition policy has left Hongkong burning for over months with many casualties. Resistance has been brought down by using blue dye water guns, excessive brutal police force and citizens who participated in the protest have gone missing. International press and media have stayed away from aggressive reporting on the voices of the citizens in Hongkong.
Narendra Modi — 2016 will go down in the history of India as a dark year for sure. Modi launched scathing attacks on a thriving cash-based economy. The damning act of demonetization caused deep damages in the country. This was done under the overarching umbrella of digitalization of the economy and a tirade against black money. The desired effects of this exercise left the populations struggling for months and almost years. Economists still can’t assess the outcome of the demonetization exercise. The country is now strapped with undesirable controls exerted by the taxman, banks and regulators on using cash for transactions. This exercise has imparted too much power with the financial institutions and the government agencies. It certainly doesn’t look like the commons have benefitted from this macabre plan. It all seems like a plan executed with reckless abandon.
When he took these decisions, did he really represent the people who voted him to power?
Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) — The Alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate on foreign soil has not dulled his spirits. He continues to tread the world at large. Constant crackdown and imprisonment of human rights activists within the country is the only way to cull a voice and MBS seems to be leading this at ease.
Who does he really represent if he is the leader of the nation? Will his depravity finally consume him?
Recep Tayyip Erdogan — Syrian war and increased delusion of nuclear weapon ownership
Vladimir Putin — Suppression of state elections, Exerting control over Georgia
Kim Jong Un — Execution of his own uncle, nuclear war rant and continued weaponization of the state
Let’s say Trump, Jinping, Modi and MBS wore a shirt that read “No Airbags, like superman” and made public appearances. What would you make of their intentions and what would be the message behind this? How would you judge this?
Each of the above leaders possess a leadership style which almost looks unidirectional and a one-way ticket to nowhere. But they seem to march on like a robot at work while ignoring the sovereignty of their positions. The deeper question to ask here is “Have they transferred the cost of their risky actions to common people?” This is clearly moral hazard made visible.
Do perceived troubles or manufactured problems keep leaders alive and give them a purpose of existence? I will let you be the grand jury on this matter.
Finally going back to my sighting of the message on the cabbie’s car, “No airbags, like superman” I can conclude that he definitely had a very profound message to deliver! I intend to stop him next time and will elicit a response from him. Wait to hear from me again!