Congrega Ut Regnes

Ian Bremmer considers four world leaders who are exhibiting significant leadership: Pope Francis, Shinzo Abe, Xi Jinping, and Enrique Peña Nieto. What does their leadership have in common?

And that really is what a leader is meant to do: unite people if not under one cause, then at least one shared vision, whether it’s a Chinese dream, a Pact for Mexico, or “three arrows” of Abenomics. In a time of financial scarcity for most, the best way to do that is with humility and a dash of populism in making the right bold bets that everyone can rally behind. It’s a lesson Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela, Helmut Kohl, and even early Tony Blair can teach us as well. More modern leaders would be wise to learn it.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. Ben Wolf says:

    Isn’t the thing all leadership has in common the exploitation of people who want to be lead?

  2. steve says:

    Not to be a wet blanket, but as far as I can tell the Catholics really havent changed since Francis became Pope. Being the leader in a communist country where they dont have elections or opposition parties is, well, not quite such a challenge I think. AFAICT, the Japanese tend to support their leaders, they just keep changing them because nothing works. I cant tell if Abenomics is working. Maybe others can. I havent been following Nieto, so maybe he is performing well and the cartels are all giving up. That said, I think humility is nearly always a good thing. Of course, it will be played as weakness by the opposition, but is worth that risk.


  3. Pinky says:

    @Ben Wolf: “Want to be led”? There’s a world of difference between the voluntary act of participating in a religion and societal obligation of obeying a government, and an even bigger gap between a rightful government like Japan and Mexico have and the dictatorship in China. You can’t use the phrase “want to be led” when those who want something different are imprisoned or killed.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    The distinction that’s being made here is between soft power (convincing people to want what you want) and hard power (coercion).

  5. Andre Kenji says:

    Pope Francis is being helped by the fact that the Conservatives inside the Church got exactly what they wanted with Benedict XVI: an European pope that it was pretty Conservative and that was a famed theologian. And he proved to be a dud and a very ineffective pope. Francis knows the language of most Catholics – the Catholics that live in the American Continent. He goes to the faithful, and he has charisma. The Conservatives can´t complain, specially if you compare him to Benedict XVI.

    Both Enrique Peña Nieto and Shinzo Abe were recently elected. Their challenge will be keep their honeymoon for longer. Peña Nieto was helped by the fact that his rival in the center-right, the PAN party, was demoralized by the war between the cartels, and by the fact that his rival in the center-left, the PRD party, was demoralized by the divisive leadership of Andres Lopes Obrador. Besides that, Pena Nieto is just picking with low-hanging fruit until now, like arresting the notoriously corrupt president of the National Teachers Union. Dealing with PEMEX is going to be a much tougher job. And Mexico is dominated by a monopoly in the media sector(Almost all commercial television is owned by Azteca and Televisa), and this monopoly supported him.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    What does their leadership have in common?

    They don’t have a Republican Party to obstruct their leadership?